Father's Day

By Karen Par-Moody

 

Cars 2 hits theaters June 24, right on the heels of Father's Day, and what perfect timing. Men have been obsessed with planes, trains and automobiles since some Neolithic hot-rodder invented the wheel. But as James Bond's Aston Martin might not fit the post-Recession budgets of most, GasLamp has many models of speed to inexpensively get Dad's heartbeat picking up. 

 

The many planes that contributed to World War II continue to fascinate history buffs. In the photo, right, are two antique model planes of this era, both carved out of wood ($48 each; Booth B-113). The green colored plane is a B-25 Mitchell, which was used in the famous "Doolittle Raid" against the Japanese led by Army Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle on April 18, 1942. It was an American twin-engined medium bomber. The silver plane is a PBY Catalina Long-Range Maritime Patrol Flying Boat, which first took to the skies in 1935. This twin engine plane, with its high wing, served many practical purposes during WWII. Interestingly, these two model plans each show a different version of the American star on their wings. The Catalina has the red "meatball" dot painted in the center of the star. This version was ordered to be painted out in May, 1942 to avoid confusion with the details of Japanese aircraft. 

 

The tin racing motorcycles, left, are almost identical to the originals of fifty years ago ($15 each; S-545). Toy makers began manufacturing toys made of tin in the middle of the 19th century; they were an inexpensive, yet durable, substitute for wooden toys. Originally, they were hand painted. But by the 1880s, offset lithography made it possible to print colorful designs on such toys. Germany would go on to be a leader in the manufacture of such toys, dominating production for the first half of the 20th century. But in the last 50 years countries such as Japan, China and India have picked up that distinction. 

Dad's love of model cars might stem to the Pinewood Derby from Boy Scouts. These men are still kids at heart, appreciating a model that provides exacting details such as wheel styles, colors, seat types, and even hood ornaments. In the photo, right, is a 1934 V-12 Packard Convertible Sedan that would go for several hundred thousand dollars today at its full size ($69; S-545). But for a mere fraction of that sum, Dad can own his own scaled-down version. In 1934 one could have purchased this vehicle for around $5,000; it was Packard's cream of the crop, gorgeously detailed with chrome wire wheels, whitewall tires, and concealed pulldown shades on the rear and quarter windows. It was topped off by a swan hood ornament, as seen here in a diminutive size. 

 

 

 

 

The history of children's pedal cars, like the one seen at left, extends back to the birth of the car during the 1890s ($300; Booth B-2010). These pedal toys were modeled after the real cars on the road at the time, but their cost meant they were playthings for only the wealthiest families. The less fortunate pedaled about on basic homemade ride-on toys. But forget about the Little Lord Fauntleroys who originally spun about in this charming pedal car. Its shiny green and red would certainly look fetching in Dad's home office, no? 

 

 

Produced by the Ford Motor Company from 1908 through 1927, the Ford Model T, also called the "Tin Lizzie," was regarded as history's first affordable automobile, as it was an assembly line vehicle and not entirely hand-crafted. Ironically, the replica here is entirely hand crafted of metal ($185; Booth B-101). It is a vintage replica of the 1925 Ford "New Model" T Tudor Sedan. It sold for just a few hundred dollars when it first rolled off the assembly line in 1927. 

 

From that sleek Maserati to that speedy Ducati to that graceful Cessna, we know Dad dreams of speed on the road and in the sky. But if your balance book doesn't say "go" for the real thing, it's time to stop at GasLamp and find something perfectly dreamy in a smaller size. 

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