A Brackley man who has spent most of his life collecting model cars has taken over a shop to exhibit them before sale.
The show of 5,000 of Marian Gradus’s models can be seen from Wednesday to Saturday in the unit at the Courtyard Shops opposite the Town Hall.
“I am getting older and neither my daughter or son are interested in model cars. Also they take up a lot of space,” he said.
“I am having an exhibition to see if I can sell them before they go to auction.”
Mr Gradus, 68, of Holly Close, was brought up in post war Poland and was given his first model car by an uncle on a trip to Paris in 1957.
“I went there with my father and it was the first time I knew such things existed. We weren’t allowed to go as a family in case we didn’t go back.
“That car was a Citroen ES 19 combi estate. Maybe I won’t sell that one,” he said.
Mr Gradus came to Britain in 1968 as a student. He met and married his wife, Annette, and has remained in this country ever since.
“My eyes were opened when I came to Britain,” he said.
“I could have spent days in the Beatties toy shops looking at the model cars. I had a passion for American cars and loved my Ford Woodie.”
One of Mr Gradus’ proudest moments was when Her Majesty the Queen opened an exhibition of his model cars in Manchester in 1977 – her silver jubilee year.
It was one of many charity exhibitions in which his huge collection has featured.
The cars have also featured in many model magazine articles.
The 5,000 cars are stored in their own room in his Brackley house.
“I have taken a six-month lease out on this shop so I can exhibit some of the cars to test the market to see what the interest is in them before they go to auction,” he said.
“I am prepared to sell models but they will have to be cash sales.”
To find out more contact Mr Gradus on 07790 099640.