13 July 2009
Ashley Davey has been collecting Corgi Mini models since 1989, when he was five years old, and now has just about every 1/36 scale Corgi Mini in his collection. So who better to talk to about models of this motoring icon? ...
Ashley blames his parents, for buying him the Corgi Mini Sky for Christmas when he was five. It was small, compared with his other 1/36 scale Corgi cars, which led him to look for the real thing. He fell in love with the Mini and made it his mission to save up and buy a real Mini before he left school – which he achieved with no financial help from anyone – but meanwhile he started to collect Corgi Minis.
He remembers his mother saying: “It is just a phase, he will get bored before he has five or six of them...” But when they realised he was hooked, they were very supportive and took him to toyfairs, where he learnt to haggle and be a bit cheeky to get a discount, to get the most from his pocket money and paper round money. His grandma encouraged him by buying him quite a few Minis as well. Over 400 Mini models later, things are the same, except the budget has grown and he has started to collect the smaller scale Corgi Minis too – and doesn’t look like stopping....
Ashley has owned three real Minis, but needs a bigger car these days, for camping and ferrying friends around. He says he can’t stop collecting, he really is a completist and has just a few variations missing from his collection of 1/36 scale Corgi Minis, like the Mini Sky with a black interior. All his models are listed and pictured on his website, www.mini-mad.co.uk
He is obviously keenly aware of the value of some of his models, like the ones signed by famous people connected with the Mini. A number of them have never been taken out of the boxes which, in some cases, are almost more important than the models. However, it is the story behind many of his models which is most important to Ashley. They are not just a collection of toy cars, he says, but a collection of memories.
The most important of the models with a story include Nos 04501-04504 Mini 40th Anniversary range and 04509 End of the Road Minis and Ashley’s other number one certificated models. He didn’t think he would ever have a number one certificated model, but when his friend Adam told him about the Bonhams auction in 2007, he went, just for a look, as he thought they would be bought for too much money by somebody very rich, and ended up buying four of the seven lots of Minis.
His No 349 Mini ‘Mostest’ pop-art, very rare because it was never officially released, was a surprise birthday present. Ashley also has three pre-production prototypes, an insight into the development of any Corgi toy. Only two are made of each model and usually thrown away after use.
Ashley has a 98142 Mini Cooper, signed by John Cooper, and a Q330 Mini 30, signed by John Cooper and Basil Wales. Both had a big role in the Mini’s racing and development. Ashley met both of them and bought this model from Basil Wales himself, after it was one of those taken on a charity run to Italy. Ashley has a 04509 End of the Road Mini, signed by Geoff Powell, who drove the last Mini off the production line at Longbridge with Lulu.
When Ashley was comparing his CC82221 Dave Kimberley Mini Se7en Racing model with the real car at a Mini show, Dave signed the certificate for Ashley. He also has the number ones of both models of Dave’s cars. Similarly, he has CC82238, Sarah Munn’s Mini Se7en Racing model, signed by the driver, who said she would like to buy the number one model from Ashley.
He also has a complete set of Minian Code 3 Mini models, a No 200 Mini 1000 in dull grey, picked up for £18 at a toyfair, which he has never seen before or since, and the C9 Racing Minis set, complete with the rare red model, and also in the equally rare Hamleys box.