Collection driven by car fascination

The garage at Ross Hansen’s Cromwell home is lined with cars — possibly hundreds.

Some are collector’s items or the ultimate dream machine, but all are pint-sized toys that Mr Hansen has accumulated over the years.

His collection has grown in recent times, but many have been in his possession for years, stored safely under the bed.

It was during Covid-19 lockdown that he decided to retrieve them, spruce them up and put them on display.

He had always been fascinated by vehicles, a passion which started with toys such as Meccano and Yesteryear items.

‘‘I had no idea what I was going to do when I left school, but I got an apprenticeship with the International Harvester Company, which I did in Dunedin in Stafford St.

‘‘That started my mechanics career.’’

Ross Hansen, who spent his earlier years working as an apprentice for International Harvester Company, now collects toy vehicles including some of the brand’s tractors. Some of the cars he has collected do not get a paint job (left). PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTO
Ross Hansen, who spent his earlier years working as an apprentice for International Harvester Company, now collects toy vehicles including some of the brand’s tractors. Some of the cars he has collected do not get a paint job (left). PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

He later went into business with his wife, Christine, opening CR Motors, which they owned for 28 years.

Even though he was no longer in business, vehicles were still very much a part of his daily life as he continued tocollect and refurbish toys, including Tonka, Matchbox and Yesteryear items.

Among his collection were an old Bedford tip truck, a Chevrolet dump truck, an International tractor, an old fire engine, a battery-operated Volkswagen and Matchbox toys still in their boxes.

People now gave him old toys they no longer required — including ones long forgotten that were found in the sandpit.

He also visited Wastebusters and second-hand shops in the hope of finding more hidden gems.

The toys were now displayed in cabinets he designed for them and they line his double garage.

‘‘I didn’t realise it was going to develop the way it did,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s very time consuming. I can come out here for hours and hours.’’

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