As we began preparing this 40th anniversary issue of Old Cars Weekly, longtime reader George T. Lyons informed us that one of the publication’s first and continual advertisers, David Sinclair of Sinclair’s Auto Miniatures, passed away Jan. 24 at the age of 90 in his lifelong home of Erie, Pa.
“In the hobby of collectible model cars, in particular the higher-end 1/43 scale models, Dave was a pioneer with his mail-order business and often spoke that he had shipped model cars to almost every civilized country on the planet,” recalled Lyons. “He also told of the fine collections he helped build for famous people, but always honored their privacey by never divulging names.”
For nearly all of its 50 years, Sinclair operated Sinclair’s Auto Miniatures as a mail-order business but he did operate a retail location in Erie during the 1970s and early ’80s.
Sinclair’s interest in cars had little to do with his equally interesting background: according to the Erie Times-News, Sinclair’s father managed a five-state movie theater network, which likely inspired one of Sinclair’s other lifelong passions: acting in theater. In the collector-car hobby, however, it’s Sinclair’s efforts to make scale models accessible to all that earned him the title “the godfather of the model car business.”
“Anyone who had an interest in fine collectible model cars surely knew of Dave Sinclair and his passion for the hobby,” Lyons said. “His vast inventory of models cars was a sight to behold and he was an encyclopedia of knowledge on the hobby, clearly something he truly loved. Dave told me long ago that his advertising in Old Cars Weekly was the single one source for most of his business right from the earliest days.”
The staff and readers of OCW will surely miss this legend in the hobby and we wish to offer our condolences to the Sinclair family and staff of Sinclair’s Auto Miniatures.