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Supermarket boss has amazing toy car collection

Andrew Hough, April 11, 2022 6:30PM Kids News

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Drakes Supermarkets boss John-Paul Drake has an “addiction” to toy cars, with more than 700 models in his collection. Picture: Tom Huntley media_cameraDrakes Supermarkets boss John-Paul Drake has an “addiction” to toy cars, with more than 700 models in his collection. Picture: Tom Huntley

just for fun

Reading level: green

He is one of South Australia’s highest profile businessmen, but John-Paul Drake is just a big kid at heart.

The Drakes Supermarkets boss, 45, has quietly built an impressive toy car collection with 718 models – and a hippo figurine.

A custom-made* display unit at one of his Adelaide offices contains mostly Hot Wheels cars but also Matchbox, Tomy Tomica and Majorette sets.

Mr Drake’s favourites include a Hot Wheels Super Treasure Hunt edition and an orange Lexus LFA.

Mr Drake, who has been working in the family business for more than 32 years, included the hippo figurine in the display unit to see if people noticed it.

“I’ve loved cars ever since I was a kid,” Mr Drake said.

“I can’t buy all the cars in real life, but I can buy the diecast* models.”

Drakes toy collection media_cameraJohn-Paul Drake loves collecting toy cars he used to dream of owning as a kid. Picture: Tom Huntley

Mr Drake said he had the display unit built at his office because “there’s no way my wife would let me have that display at home”.

And he said he loved to hunt out new cars for his collection when visiting the stores in his family’s large supermarket chain.

“I have a tendency to scour* our shelves when I’m visiting a store. I’m really looking for the models of cars that I like or dreamt of one day owning as a kid,” he said.

“It’s turned into a really cool art installation that is constantly changing with new cars and me shifting the cars around to sort them into different categories.

“Also, when I close the door to the room, the cars move slightly – I love that about it.”

As well as being on the lookout for new toy cars in his stores, Mr Drake searches in other shops and has a Hot Wheels Collectors membership that gives him early access to new models.

Drakes toy collection media_cameraJohn-Paul Drake needs 73 more cars to fill the display cabinet in his Adelaide office. Picture: Tom Huntley

Mr Drake needs 73 more cars to fill his display cabinet and is on the hunt for a Hakosuka GTR – the 1971 Nissan Skyline 2000 model.

But finding this model and filling the empty slots in his display will not be the end of his passion for toy car collecting.

“I don’t think this will stop me collecting – it just means I might have to replace some of the older cars,” he said.

“The addiction is real.”


  • custom-made: made to order for a particular customer
  • diecast: formed by pouring molten metal into a mould to set
  • scour: search very carefully


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  1. How many toy cars are in John-Paul Drake’s collection?
  2. What animal figurine has John-Paul Drake added to his display and why?
  3. What is John-Paul Drake’s job?
  4. Where is the collection displayed?
  5. How many more cars does John-Paul Drake need to fill the display?


1. Collection addiction
When you’re older and have the money to collect something, what would you like to collect and how and where will you display it?

Sketch out your dream collection with a title and outline of the collection.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative thinking

2. Extension
“Toys are for Kids, not grown-ups!” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Plan and write a piece of persuasive writing on this topic. Use lots of examples to make it convincing.

Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and creative thinking

Imaginative dialogue
Imagine you were there when the reporter interviewed John-Paul Drake for this article.

Create a conversation between John-Paul Drake and yourself. Don’t forget to try to use facts and details from the article to help make your dialogue as realistic as possible.

Go through your writing and highlight any punctuation you have used in green. Make sure you carefully check the punctuation used for the dialogue and ensure you have opened and closed the speaking in the correct places.

Extra Reading in just for fun