Mac Ragan Collection
Majorette c. 1982 Toyota LiteAce [High Roof Wagon], No. 216, made in France circa 1985.
How do you learn about cars from other countries? Is it from television, magazines, or perhaps toys?
When I was young, the toy cars I was given were my automotive education. The earliest ones I remember were brightly colored plastic and about four inches (10 cm) long. No doubt they came from the local five and dime. Each had the marque (brand) and country of origin molded into the body of the car. (For example, “Jaguar” and “England.”)
And even after I learned to read (and began to voraciously consume car magazines), I still discovered new cars from the toys I bought. This Toyota LiteAce Wagon is just such an example.
When I found this model back in the 1980s, I thought that “LiteAce” was such a funny name for a van. I’d never seen one in the United States. But it started me on the road to discovering the origin of that quirky, anglicized name.
For me, finding unknown cars heightens the thrill of collecting toy vehicles. And whether you stick to home-market models or stray into cars from other countries, these die-cast gems become an education. They can be one of the easiest and most exciting ways to learn about real automobiles; from vehicles outside your door to those on the other side of the world.
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