MYSURU: A Ferrari, a Lamborghini or a Porsche. Who wouldn’t love to have one of these? Head to Autofest City in Mysuru and you’ll be amazed by the huge line-up of cars. But only, these are miniature models.
Brothers Clyde D’Costa (54) and Neil D’Costa (49) are the proud owners of about 2,000 miniature models of vehicles. Their collection focuses on the history and development of automobiles with special emphasis on Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen, BMW, Ferrari, Ford and Lamborghini. The models mark generation change, and are not derivatives or face-lifts. The collection includes those that were made in India in the1970s and 80s.
Autofest City was founded in 1996 with two Scale 43 models purchased from a local store in Mysuru and grew vastly over the decades. Authentic Scale 40 models of the Mahindra MM540 and DCM Toyota LCV were purchased in mid of 1996 at an exhibition in Mysore. These models were manufactured by Centy Toys, New Delhi. Later that year, they purchased two authentic scale models of a 1989 Mercedes Benz 500SL and 1992 Ferrrari 456GT manufactured by Maisto, from a store in Mysuru.
The brothers initially purchased scale models which were made in India. Later, they got a few of them from friends residing overseas. This ignited their passion for collecting scale models. They tracked the importer in Bengaluru and purchased the full set of Scale 40 cars that were available in India. From there, their collection moved to the bigger Scale 24.
The brothers said, “Our first car was a 1989 Ferrari 288 GTO. Then came a Scale 18 with the first car being a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle. Later, we purchased a Scale 12 model of the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. All these models from Scale 24 and larger were very impressive with opening doors, working steering, suspension and engine detail. A few of the cars even had a spare tyre in the dickey.”
Their biggest challenge was procuring newer models that were available only abroad. “Many were limited editions and we could not get them here. Hence, in 2004, we applied for an import licence as hobbyists. After getting the licence, we were able to import scale model from any overseas. From then on, our collection grew phenomenally. The imported models were very expensive and not available easily,” says Clyde D’Costa.
“We made a few mistakes in the early days. Initially, we collected a few cars that were face-lift models, some derivatives too. That was immediately stopped when we decided to focus on tracing automobile history. Our future plan is to go deeper into automobile history and represent it even better through our collection,” adds Clyde.
“Most of the people who had a look at our collection would think they are toys. Only after we explained to them, they understood the seriousness of our hobby. When we started our collection, access to information was very limited as the internet was in its infancy. It was difficult to source technical details and information of the actual cars, whose models we had in our collection. It was only much later that information was available from the internet. Today, the internet is our main of information,” adds Neil D’Costa.
“Visitors from India and abroad have been unanimous in declaring that they have never seen a better organised and better displayed scale model collection before,” say the beaming brothers, acknowledging the support from their mother Tessy D’Costa and Neil’s wife Deena who assist in keeping the collection going and growing.
Born and educated in Mumbai, the family moved to Mysuru in 1989. Clyde is a freelance trainer in soft skills and professional and corporate skills development. Neil is Country Manager at IMC-MetalsAmerica India, Mysuru. They are members of the Mercedes-Benz India Owners’ Club. The Group works in close co-ordination with Mercedes-Benz India Ltd to help its members source parts and avail service.
“We are very impressed with the collection. The technical details alongside every model on display are very informative. The other background material and diorama for Scale 43 models are the cynosure of all eyes,” adds Corinno, a foreign tourist.
About Autofest City
The D’Costa brothers have constructed two exclusive buildings, ‘Autofest city’, to house their collection and opened it to the public on November 1 last year. Since then, there has been a stream of visitors here from all over the world.
What You’ll Find
Leonardo Da Vinci’s
Leonardo Da Vinci’s Paddle-boat
Newton’s Steam Cart and other steam-powered vehicles of the era
Pedestrian Velocipede ‘Hobby Horse’ (a pioneering bicycle)
Daimler Reitwagen (world’s first two-wheeled vehicle with combustion engine)
Daimler Motorcarriage (world’s first four-wheeled carriage with combustion engine)
Benz Patent Motorwagen
Duryea (America’s first four-wheeled carriage with combustion engine)