What do you do when your obsession with model cars starts to take over your house? You build them a room of their own.
For Jim Poulos of Melbourne Beach, Fla., a lifelong passion started with daily childhood walks past car dealership showrooms.
“ I grew up in Chicago and when i walked to elementary school, i went past both the Ford and Chevrolet dealerships and saw all the new models displayed in the showrooms behind huge plate-glass windows,” he said.”When the new models were introduced, the dealers would cover the windows with paper so you couldn’t see the new cars in the. That obsession has led to a huge collection of die-cast model cars that is the envy of kids and connoisseurs alike. Poulos started his collection of model cars in 1981, when 1:18 scale die-cast models were just becoming available. The first. The first one he bought was a Bugatti Type 25 Grand race car, Today Poulos owns more than a thousand die-cast car.
Chevrolet Bel Air with a 283 hp engine and a 4-barrel carburetor. Throughout his life he has owned high-performance automobiles including 2002 Pontiac Firebird Formula with a modified Covrvette engine and a modified 2002 Pontiac Firehawk.
That first Bugatti race car went on a bookcase in the living room. “Back then, new models came out every month or so, and I kept buying them,”he says.” It wasn’t long before my collection outgrew the bookcase and I had to install special Lexan shelves on the living room wall to hold them all.”
In 1988, when Poulos and his wife, Jean, Put an addition on their home, they added an upstairs office that has since become a ture”model” showroom, “I put built-in shelves on the four walls, and built a deep bookcase on one wall that gave me room to display some models in front of the books.”he says.
Yet even with a room of its own, the collection is so large it must be rotated in and out of storage om a regular basis.”I have over 1000 cars in the collection, but only display about 350 at time, since that is all the room can dieplay,’I know have five different scale sizes of both cars and trucks.”
Poulos has many different models, including European exotis cars and an assortment of vintage American and European cars and trucks. He’s currently displaying American muscle cars, famous drag racing cars, and hot rods, Along-time surfer, he also has a collection of surf woodies.
“I also have a very large collection of trucks and construction equipment made by a German company named Bruder,”he added.”These are actually very detailed plastic toys and are the favorite play things of my grandson Jackson when he visits, and I’m sure will also be for his baby brother.