By Todd Paxson
Hello, my name is Todd and I’m a pinehead. I’ve been collecting derby cars for over 10 years. My addiction began innocently enough with some boxes of my stuff that my parents had packed up when they moved. It was mostly junk. Then I found my three derby cars and a couple of trophies I had won. Thank goodness I hadn’t blown them up like most of my other toys!
I started reminiscing about the fun times I had in scouts, and how much fun we had during derby season. My mom and dad got a little crazy, and I had to wrestle the cars away from them from time to time. Anyway, after remembering the good times, the cars and trophies went up on the shelf for a couple of years. One day, my mom and I were at an auction and there was a nice old derby car there. I bought it and put it on the shelf next to the others. One day when I was looking at the cars it popped into my head that these things would be fun to collect!
I was hooked. After my first year of garage sales, I had about 35 cars. After the second year, I had 75. Then I got on the Internet and the hook went in a little deeper. Before I knew it, I was up to 175. My wife told me I had to slow down, so I had my mom buy some for me on the side. My wife wasn’t happy when she found that out – I think she knew I had a problem.
Lately, I have let more cars go than I have bought. I haven’t gone cold turkey, but I have gotten a little picky. I’m still a pinehead.
As if the collecting wasn’t bad enough, I started buying kits at the local dime store and building them just for the enjoyment of it. One fun car I built was an Elmo car for my daughter, Hanna. I even built cars out of scraps of wood that I found. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I needed power tools. I now have a scroll saw, band saw, belt sander, disk sander, drill press and a full set of carving tools. My wife put her foot down, so I didn’t get a wood lathe.
My son, Chris, and I built our first car together when he was four. He loved to work the drill press. He is twelve now and out of scouting, but he had fun while in scouts. I still keep up with my scout friends as I have made my collection portable by making folding cases to hold the cars (Figures 1 and 2). I take the collection to local pack and council events. Most of the cars I get now are from donations from packs where I show the cars. I have over 700 cars and derby memorabilia on display. I also have about 200 cars that were used in the movie “Down and Derby”. My cars have also been featured on a pinewood derby web site, but my friend and fellow pinehead has since passed on to ‘Derby Heaven’.
Figure 1 – Car Collection on Display
Figure 2 – Close-up of Left Display Cases
I don’t really have any one car that is my favorite car, but I do have some special cars. Two are cars made for a vintage race in California, signed by Don “The Creator” Murphy and Craig Breedlove (Figures 3 and 4). I also have a car that belonged to the brother of the Olson Twins (Figure 5).
Figure 3 – Signature Cars
Figure 4 – Signature Cars, Bottom View
Figure 5 – Olson Twins’ Brother’s Car
That’s enough for now. If anyone has questions or would like to see pictures, I can be contacted at ‘toddpaxson (at) yahoo (dot) com’. Also, if you are close to southern Wisconsin and are interested in having me display my collection at your event, you can contact me at the above email address.
From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 6, Issue 14
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By Todd Paxson