MEET MR.MITRA, THE BIGGEST COLLECTOR OF TOY CARS IN KOLKATA.
The Porsche charity drive that took place just a few days back in Kolkata, made eyes pop and jaws drop at their convoy.
At that moment, just how many of us exactly died a little inside? Most of us fancy cars and as kids, almost every boy owned an ever expanding collection of toy cars. So what if you can’t afford the real car? You can always own the scale model of your favourite car.
Collecting model cars is an expensive hobby and Mr. Manojit Mitra, a 71 year gentleman, and his son Mr. Saurjya Pratim Mitra, have turned this hobby into their passion. They have taken their childhood obsession with toy cars to the next level.
This father-son duo of Kolkata, have an undying love for tiny cars with big prices. Together, they have the largest collection of toy cars (scale models) in Kolkata. Mr.Mitra’s collection today stands at an incredible 700+ scale models that continue to grow.
Team Beacon caught up with this father-son duo about their scale car collection of vintage models.
In their house, they have shelves filled with scale model cars; that have become display areas for the miniature cars collected over two generations.
When & How did you’ll begin collecting these toy cars?
S.P Mitra – both, my dad and I started collecting toys car at 2-3 yrs of age. My grand-dad too had a small collection and my father took a keen interest in them from a very young age. After that, he was presented with many toy cars by family members, which he would keep in a very good condition and never destroy.
His passion for cars kept increasing with age and then he started purchasing them more often. In the period during 1970-90, scale model cars were not very available in India, so whenever he or his friends traveled abroad, he would purchase them from there. He was even a member of the Corgi Model Club and Dinkey Collector’s Club, so that also helped gain more exposure to scale models.
What are scale cars?
Scale Model cars are the closest replica of a real car. They look very real and detailed. The level of detailing extends to the engine components and even seat belts and carpeted flooring. Model cars come in various scales. The most popular ones are 1:18, 1:24, 1:43 and 1:64, the larger the scale – the higher the level of detail.
Has it ever been that you have traveled to a place only to collect the toy car?
Yes, if we were on vacation somewhere and got to know of a place that was in that state, where toy cars were available (the models that weren’t available in Kolkata) then we would go there to purchase.
How do you collect these cars?
Earlier we would collect them from all over the world but now with the e-commerce sites, most things are available online. We even purchase some from auctions and people who sell off their collection.
How do you get to know about the people with the same hobby?
I have set up a group of fellow collectors for scale models called Kolkata Diecast & R/C Car Enthusiasts. I also have a store where I display and sell scale model cars. I also keep getting supplies from various people and we plan on opening up a scale model museum after a few years.
Which is your most prized possession?
A car that is 100 years old now, it belonged to my grandfather Late Sankar Prasad Mitra, former Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court.
What is the difference between the old toy cars and the new ones?
The major difference is in their detailing. The old ones lack minute details but the latest ones are absolute replicas even till the detailing of wires are done perfectly.
What is the cost of these scale models?
It starts from Rs.300 and goes up to Lakhs. Especially the limited edition models that are launched by C.M.C, franklinmint, etc. are very steep.
Love cars but short on parking space? No worries, go miniature.