Supermarket boss John-Paul Drake’s astonishing collection of miniature cars

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

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

A bespoke display* in one of its Adelaide offices features mostly Hot Wheels cars, but also includes Matchbox, Tomy Tomica and Majorette sets.

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

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

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

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

Mr Drake said he had the display unit built in his office because “there is no way my wife will let me have this display at home”.

And he said he enjoys looking for new cars for his collection when he visits the stores of his family’s big supermarket chain.

“I tend to search* our shelves when I visit a store. I really seek out the car models that I love or dreamed of owning one day when I was a kid,” he said.

“It’s become a really cool art installation that’s constantly changing with new cars and I move 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.”

In addition to looking for new toy cars at his stores, Mr. Drake searches other stores and has a Hot Wheels Collectors subscription that gives him early access to new models.

Mr. Drake needs 73 more cars to fill his storefront 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 its display will not end its passion for collecting model cars.

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

“The addiction is real.”


  • Custom made: on order for a particular client
  • diecast: formed by pouring molten metal into a mold to harden
  • Browse: look very carefully


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  1. How many toy cars are there in John-Paul Drake’s collection?
  2. Which animal figurine did John-Paul Drake add to his display and why?
  3. What is John-Paul Drake’s job?
  4. Where is the collection exhibited?
  5. How many cars does John-Paul Drake need to fill the display?


1. Collection addiction
When you are 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 collection outline.

Weather: allow 20 minutes for this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
Toys are for children, not for adults!” » Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Plan and write a persuasive text on this topic. Use lots of examples to make it compelling.

Weather: 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. Remember to try to use facts and details from the article to make your dialogue as realistic as possible.

Review your writing and highlight any punctuation you used in green. Be sure to carefully check the punctuation used for the dialogue and make sure you have opened and closed the speech in the right places.

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