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[News] He's Not Toying Around

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He’s not toying around

Jon Knutson, The Forum
Published Friday, January 05, 2007

Fergus Falls, Minn.


Mike Heikes is crazy about Corvettes. The Fergus Falls resident has collected more than 1,300 toy Corvette cars.

“I just enjoy having them. And they’re a lot cheaper than a real one,” Heikes said.
The Corvette is a sports car made by Chevrolet. Since the Corvette was introduced in 1953, thousands of different toy Corvette replicas have been marketed.

Heikes, 42, once owned two full-sized Corvettes, which he later sold. He doesn’t own a full-sized one today.<SCRIPT>function photoFull (URL) {day = new Date();id = day.getTime();eval("page" + id + " = window.open(URL, '" + id + "', 'toolbar=0,scrollbars=0,location=0,statusbar=0,menubar=0,resizable=0,width=510,height=510,left = 137,top = 84');");}</SCRIPT>

His interest in toy Corvettes began in 1982, when the driver of a car Heikes was riding in lost control.


The vehicle rolled over several times, and Heikes, who was thrown from it, suffered brain damage. He still has problems with short-term memory.

One day during his lengthy recuperation, Heikes was playing cards with one of his nurses.

Playing for pretend stakes, he bet one of his Corvettes. Later, he bought the nurse a toy Corvette.

“Well, that got me interested in buying (toy Corvettes) for myself,” he said.

Through the years he bought toy Corvettes in stores and at auction sales.

Men of a certain age will recognize some of the companies – Hot Wheels and Matchbox, for instance – that produced the toy Corvettes Heikes owns.

One of his favorite stories involves Teresa, his wife, who gave him a toy car soon after they began dating.

Trouble was, it was a replica of a Camaro, not a Corvette.

“Well, they both begin with ‘C’,” he said. “But she knows the difference now.”

Corvettes hold a special place among car fans and toy car enthusiasts, said Mike Softing, proprietor of the Boys and Their Toys store in Moorhead.

“They’re the only real American sports car. Everybody loves them, from kids to adults,” Softing said.

It’s not as if Heikes spends every waking moment thinking about his toy car collection.

He’s an avid bicyclist who has ridden more than 150,000 miles since 1990.

He also promotes bike safety for kids. For more information on his Helmets for Kids program, call (218) 736-6023 before 7 p.m.

Heikes isn’t sure how much he’s spent on the toy cars, or how much his collection is worth.

If ultimately he makes a buck or two off the toy cars, well, that would be fine.
“Someday maybe I’ll sell my collection. And then I might have enough to buy a real Corvette,” he said with a smile.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530
http://www.in-forum.com/Farm/articles/151903
 

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