it’s the little boy’s dream of the economic miracle years: an electric car racetrack. "electrically powered, track-bound car models existed before the second world war, so from 1934 on by marklin. However, production was discontinued in 1938," says hans-georg breiding, a collectibles expert and publisher of the online portal "sammeln-sammler".
"electric car racetracks, as we know them today, have existed since the 1950s."for a long time, the leading model on the german market was the carrera track of the toy manufacturer neuhierl from fuerth, which came on the market in 1963.
the carrera systems are still very popular with collectors today – especially the associated race cars. Because they are available in a wide range of variants. Different brands, models and paintwork – there’s everything a collector’s heart could wish for. Depending on age, condition and rarity, enthusiasts will pay around 20 to 70 euros for such a model car.
In individual cases, 100 euros and more are possible. considering that no real carrera-enthusiast will own less than 50 cars, it adds up to a nice sum.
Helmut sauermichel has been collecting race cars since 1967 – when he was five years old, he was given his first carrera track as a gift. "the race track models have accompanied me for a large part of my life. that might explain the close connection i have to this hobby," he says. Rational explanations for a passion for collecting are rare – but there are a lot of childhood and youth memories attached to it.
There are no races
One problem when you look at the hobby from a financial investment point of view: if you do with the carrera track and the associated cars what they are actually intended for – namely racing – their beauty is very fleeting. "even with reasonably careful driving, it is impossible to prevent the cars from being damaged," says sauermichel.
Whether it’s a flight, which always happens in the heat of battle, or carelessness on the part of the opponent that makes a collision unavoidable, damage to the paintwork is actually a common occurrence on all race track cars. And they reduce the value accordingly.
Highest prices are therefore only paid for unused vehicles in their original packaging. Because only these are really rare – and rarity and demand determine the price on the collectors’ market, which is a prime example of a free market economy. even the missing packaging has a value-reducing effect. And to an original packaging also belongs the correct sticker with article number and model designation.
What is in its original packaging is not a fake either
The reason why carrera car collectors harp so much on the packaging is pragmatic: what is originally packaged is not fake. And because counterfeiters can be found everywhere where more money is involved, the field of carrera car collecting is not immune to this either. Beginners should beware of fakes and replicas and consult an expert before buying.
But even if you own the original, especially rare carrera model of a porsche 911 wrangler with small wheel cutouts, you don’t necessarily get a good price for it. Because the basic rule is: a collector’s value, even if it has been determined by an expert, is initially nothing but hot air. It has to be realized first – and for that you have to find someone who will put the required amount on the table.
Where the bargain potential is highest
If you want to get such model cars for a good price, you have a good chance at flea markets. There the bargain potential is the highest. the internet auction house ebay should also be a starting point for bargain hunters – but they should be careful to set themselves a limit and not spend too much in the heat of the bidding battle, advises collector sauermichel.
Of course, passionate collectors also visit ebay from time to time – and anyone who discovers a particularly rare item there that is still missing to complete their collection will be prepared to pay considerably more than a realistic market price for it.
For beginners, it is also worthwhile to first visit one of the numerous carrera collectors’ fairs that take place every year throughout germany. there you can get an overview of the current price situation and get in contact with like-minded people.
At the same time, the exchanges also offer those who remember the carrera track from childhood gathering dust in the attic and want to turn it into money the opportunity to sell it to the highest bidder. Because where collectors from all over germany meet, the probability is highest to find an interested party with a fat wallet.
And even if no one is willing to pay a reasonable price, perhaps a visit to one of these collectors’ markets will revive long-lost interest in the car. Then it’s time to go home, set up the track in the living room – and reminisce about your childhood.