Gary Hirst – I did not meet him and now never will, but he will not be forgotten

Young Christian Braun

Musings By Joschik

Christian is one of the founders of the hobbyDB project and this post is about saying Good-Bye to a friend and valued contributor.

Today I got an email from Gary’s partner informing me that he passed away a week ago.  About ten years ago, I reached out to Gary to get his advice on how we document model cars in our database. I admire him as he was always willing to help and share his incredible knowledge.  Over the last three years, he added more than 4,000 models to the hobbyDB database and had plans to add 1,000s more.  In fact many diecast collectors will be familiar with Gary’s kitchen table – as his photos have a very distinctive background  –

He also helped built hobbyDB with other subjects that he was interested in such as his home-town Preston or the local bus company Ribble Motor Services.  Beyond that Gary always had great comments on how to improve the way we document model cars and other type of collectibles.

I had on many occasions invited Gary to come see our office in Boulder or meet at one of the conventions like the Matchbox Gathering of Friends in Albuquerque and hoped that we could meet in person. However, as he was fighting an illness that was unfortunately not an option.  I do not even have a photo of him, so I will always remember him by his chosen Avatar on hobbyDB, a Ribble bus  –

For somebody I never met, I do miss Gary and the news of his untimely demise today hit me hard.  The diecast world lost somebody very special yesterday.


Please share an episode or add another comment below if you knew Gary

23 comments to “Gary Hirst – I did not meet him and now never will, but he will not be forgotten”

  1. Baskingshark says:

    Very sad to hear the news about Gary. I very much enjoyed his site, Garyscars. As a fellow collector of Playart cars, it was my first resource of all the castings. He will be missed.

  2. Robinator says:

    Wow, this is very sad news indeed.  GarysCars is a great reference site for UK & International Hot Wheels models and one of the only sites to document Lone Star diecast.  Gary was a tremendous help in uploading many of the UK carded Hot Wheels to the hobbyDB project and was an expert with all the Hot Wheels UK releases.  Godspeed Gary, you will definitely be missed by everyone in the diecast collector family.

  3. Wes says:

    I didn’t know the man, but I greatly appreciate all the effort he put into documenting so many lines of toy cars. He has been an inspiration and his work has been such a huge help in learning about so many models. I am saddened to hear of his passing, the hobby has lost a remarkable advocate. He will be sorely missed.

  4. Kevin says:

    I have visited Gary’s website many times as it was such a good reference site for the circa 3 inch sized model cars.

    My condolences to his partner and let Gary’s Family know he will be missed, but his legacy will surely live on.

    Rest in peace Gary.


  5. Milton Fox Racing says:

    Sad to hear and my condolences to the family.  I use his site extensively and have learned a lot from it.  His efforts to build and maintain the site was and is great blessing to the diecast community.


  6. Niels aka ninuxx says:

    Sad to hear that; I did not know him in person, but I visited his site regularly as it was a good information source for Husky, Playart, Corgi models!

    Whenever someone was looking for information on special brands, “Gary’s page” was known and named by so many collectors and it was pleasure to see it grow.

    R. I. P., Gary!

  7. bulkat9 says:


  8. Holmer Aka Buggycollector says:

    That’s not good to hear :( I did not know him personally either. But his information on his side was always very helpful. R.I.P. Gary

  9. Christian Falkensteiner says:

    I am terribly shocked by this news, although it does not come as a big surprise. I am struggling to find the right words to say in this situation, so please forgive me if my statement seems awkward.

    Gary Hirst was perhaps the best friend I had in this hobby. I first met him at the 1st European MICA Convention in 1993. We took several US trips together in the 1990s, until he was no longer able to travel because of the terrible disease (bone marrow cancer) which he had been suffering from since at least 1999 (although it was only diagnosed in 2000). I do not know any details about the circumstances of his death, but I assume that he finally succumbed to this disease which had caused him pain for so long. It may be a small consolation that this pain is now over.

    Until recent times I often stayed at his house during my UK trips (my last visit was in 2012), and my records say that my collection contains 389 models (283 Matchbox and 106 Citroën models) which I received from him over the years. Those will keep my memory of him fresh for the rest of my life.

    I am now very sorry as well as sad about the fact that he was one of the “victims” whom I failed to keep in touch with during the last two and a half years, due to huge time pressure both in my job and in my private life (too many emails and too few hours each day).

    R.I.P. 🙁

    • Christian Falkensteiner says:

      And here an image of the two of us (Gary is in the front) at the 3rd European MICA Convention 1995 in Ratingen, Germany.

  10. Jose Vargas says:

    I didn’t meet him either. But I was an avid reader of his site. His knowledge will surely be missed in the collector community. My condolences to his family.

  11. Darby C says:

    That’s a nice tribute. It’s amazing how many people we get to know without ever meeting them via our hobbies.

  12. Filter says:

    That is sad.  I knew Gary and did a few deals with him a few years back.  And of course I knew his page since many years!

    Rest In Peace, Gary

  13. Jürgen says:

    Very sad, I spend a lot of time on that page as we both collect almost the same.

    RIP, Gary

  14. siniweb says:

    Garyscars was my No.1 reference for Corgi Juniors, Playart, Impy and exotic Hot Wheels.

    My sincere condolences.

  15. Stone says:

    That is so sad – I knew his page well but unfortunately never met Gary, now I never will.

    Also my condolences to his family!

  16. Bud Kalland says:

    The loss of a stalwart diecast collector within the hobbydb community is deeply felt whether you had a personal connection or not. Collectors understand dedication. My condolences to his family and friends.

  17. Dee says:


    Gary…..he was a good friend and we love to talk about the Mebetoys Flying colors boxes.

    Never got the chance to meet him but talking to him throug emails it feeled i did met him.

    Gary….. Rest in Peace my friend……….

  18. Randy Rodriguez says:

    I am so sad to hear of Gary’s passing.  We had corresponded for several years from across the pond.  The collectoring world has lost a true friend & collector.

    My condolences to his family and RIP Gary……..I will miss you.


  19. Toon says:

    So sad to hear. I didn’t knew Gary personally, but i loved his knowledge about die-cast.
    My sincere condolences to his partner, family & friends. RIP Gary.

  20. guillermo says:

    Como muchos otros no tuve la suerte de conocerlo, pero como un fanatico de Matchbox he visitado su pagina un millon de veces, me alegra que conserven su sitio como un legado a su fantastica ayuda, descansa en paz.

  21. Joschik says:

    Thanks Guillermo, translating to English for others here “Like many others, I did not have the luck to meet Gary, but as a Matchbox fan I have visited his site a million times, I am happy that you keep a site as a legacy to his fantastic help, Rest in Peace.”

  22. I never met Gary Hirst but I visited/enjoyed his “Cars” hundreds of times over the last decade. GarysCars was bookmarked in my browser and I even have links to his site from my own so that I could point others towards him/his work. I clicked through yesterday and was sad to learn that he died last year and that his site is no more. It is a great thing that his legacy/data has been preserved by hobbyDB. The reality for all of us that run our own websites is that when we go, they are only one address/hosting renewal away from disappearing, unless of course our loved ones share our interests/skills. My condolences, belated though they are, go to Gary’s family and friends.


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