Hot Wheels: From Hobby to Obsession

I think it’s time to pump the brakes on this hobby a little. Since I started to obsess over this idea a month ago I think I’m about $200 bux all in already, because I keep sweeping my local supermarkets of the models I want. And it’s a good time for a reality check.

The good news is that historically Hot Wheels do go on sale closer to the holiday season. They are a great stocking stuffer, and a good gift to give. But by that time the selection will dwindle in stores or there will just be random models I have little or no interes in.

Over the past month I have hoarded about 75 Miatas! There’s 5 different kinds. The two 2016 red Miatas I ordered on eBay at $5 each. Since I posted about trying to find a white Mad Mike MIATA I’ve added 40 of them to a shoebox I keep them in. I bought 16 of them today alone. Probably should take a breather on that one. I used to get so angry at assholes that snatched up all the red Miatas so that all i could do is pay five fold for it on ebay. Now I’m the asshole for doing the same thing in the 20 mile radius around my home, from all the supermarkets in sight. Not all were $1 either. I notice stores do a 29% to 49% markup from week to week. Only Wal-Mart is consistently charging 94 cents for both Hot Wheels and Matchbox which brings the total to roughly a dollar with tax. Im glad i also found a few more of the baby blue Eibach spring model, I had the least of that one.

I have been unsuccessful finding a Mazda 787B or Porsche 962 from the Real Riderz Car Culture Circuit Legends line. Visited several Walmarts twice this week alone, no luck just wasted fuel.

But I did pick up a bunch of the Euro Speed cars including another Audi R8 LMS, BMW M1 Procar, Mercedes Benz 190E and an Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA.  Ordered them in one shot from Wal-Mart and they arrived in one day to the store. Wish ordering a Mazda 787B was that easy. I have a feeling there may be a recall on them since people that bought the preorder in September complained on Reddit of a deformed rear wing, which on a $6 dollar 1/64 scale premium model is kind if insulting. I’ll be on the lookout. Still. While the rest is on pause.

I did get a ton of cars I really wanted, like the blue Ford GT or the #33 Lamborghini Super Trofeo. I even got the full Fiat 500 line up, including a short card version from a local mom and pop store called Ton of Toys. Got my first 2019 Hot Wheels Mercedes Benz Unimog at Wal-Mart too. And a few Lamborghini Miura specials at Kmart whom now charges $1.09 for 2018 models and $1.29 for 2019 and 50th anniversary cars like the Ford Escort RS 1600.

Some pix:

And that’s what $200 bux in little toys looks like, money I’ll never see again 😉 but I have to say I do enjoy looking at them with admiration, a lot of the cars bring back fond memories from my racing days.

Matchbox Mazda CX-5: Found it!

Who would of thought that a Mazda CX-5 SUV diecast would be easier to find then a Matchbox Mazda Miata? I certainly did not, but today I got really lucky and cleaned out my local Kmart in Westwood of their Matchbox collection. I also snatched a few other cars including a Chrysler 300 and a Cadillac Escalade? Why those? For my work cubicle…  I’m working in the luxury ground transportation industry and the company runs hundreds of those cars.

Anyway. Happy to have found  Mazda CX-5 model cars, now if only I can find a real one to buy for my mom soon.

PS. I’m still hunting for a little Matchbox Miata in both grey and red. Today I picked up about 8 Mad Mike white Hot Wheels Miatas that I’ll probably trade for other stuff in the future. Or use as gifts when travelling to Miata events.

How I Got Scammed Buying a Miata on eBay

It’s not the first time I got scammed on eBay. Some five years ago I won a bid on a gorgeous Miata in torch red from a Miami seller only to find out it had three major/moderate damage accidents on it’s CARFAX report. Obviously I didn’t pay for/buy that car.

But more recently I did shell out $12 bux on a 1:18 torch red NC2 PRHT model that turned out to be a scam. Maybe the selling price should have been considered, other die-cast models from China sell for $95. But I figured the Bburago NC1 I wanted to buy forever was typically $9.99 before people figured they could get at least $40 for them on eBay. So yea, that red flag was missed. Didn’t see any negative reviews either. Until everyone started crying wolf and I realized I’ve been scammed too.

Anyway… here’s some pic of the car I thought I was buying, but now have to wait another month before I could file a money back guarantee claim;

Sure is pretty ain’t it?

Screw you to the Chinaman that scammed me… karma is a bitch.

Mazda MX-5: Miata Fender Removal. Fender Bender Fix.

Well I’ve gone and done it. Took the better part of the day but my fender is now fixed. Not the prettiest job but it will have to do for now.

What I’ve learned is that it is possible to change the fender without removing the bumper. I was worried it would take forever. Luckily it didn’t take as long as I thought it would, the most time consuming bit was trying to find the plastic clips that hold the fender liner in place. I picked up some universal Dorman fasteners which don’t sit perfectly but again they’ll have to do. Despite my best efforts most of mine broke even though I was perfectly gentle, I guess after 11 years they get so brittle there’s no way to reuse them.

Another difficulty was getting the side skirt removed enough to get to the bottom bolts. Lucky I didn’t break those clips, universal wouldn’t have been an option, dealer only part.

And finally the new fender I got was somewhat bowed. It took a lot of time to bang it into shape. And even then there are rather large gaps between fender and bumper and fender and hood.

Here’s some photos:

So, in this process I used zip ties and hundred mile per hour (100mph) tape… like in NASCAR (lol) or more commonly known as Flex Tape available from TV in As Seen On TV ads or in my case picked up at Walgreens for $12.99 (4” inches wide 5’ feet long) I used a fraction of it on the cracked bits on the inside of the bumper so that the fender liner has something to attach to. And on the fender headlight bit which cracked off in the accident. The same bit was meant to be screwed into the fender, but for the life of me I could not align it, so I zip tied the damn thing in place. If I took the front bumper off I probably would have been able to tighten it correctly. For now zip ties and tape will do. Going to go for a spirited drive to see if anything loose shakes out. As of now everything is attached tightly. I did scuff up some paint on the car from the sharp metal of the fender, not to mention murdered my hands with cuts and scrapes.

Mazda MX-5: Hunt for Miata Fender in Copper Red (Found It!)

It’s been a week since my mom had a fender bender with my car… (she bent the fender with her car while backing up). Since then I’ve been scouring the Internets for a replacement. Nothing terribly close could be found I called about a dozen local used car part places, but I had two candidates via a web site called Car-Part.com

eBay was crazy pricey. Craigslist had nothing. Car-Part.com however had a ton of options. But because I didn’t want a repaint I decided to stick to Copper Red paint code 32V. First option on Long Island about 69 miles away. And second in Pennsylvania near Wilkes Barre 98 miles away. I emailed both places. Got some photos of close ups of damage. And chose the cheapest less damaged option, $100 bux. Not perfect, but I think it will clean up nicely.

The car on Long Island.

And the car in Pennsylvania:

There were many options all around the East Coast, in a variety of colors:

Like this green PRHT at the same place on Long Island, though I did not see it:

This one looks great, except for the scratches on top right of the pic.

Also with interesting interior, a lot less pumpkin color like in my car. I like this two tone with black highlights. Center console.

Love the look of the Niseko car available in Pennsylvania at yet another wrecker.

Always been a fan of this color, beautiful wheels on it too.

This afternoon I headed East to Medford, NY Thinking all the while that I bought my car on Long Island. Bought the RX-8 spare donut for my car there. And now the fender in the middle of Long Island just shy of the Hamptons, near Haupague and Lake Ronkonkoma. The place was only 69 miles away, but it freaking took me 8 hours round trip $11 in tolls and $20 in fuel, because of Friday traffic and the fact I drove thru NYC trying to cheap out on the tolls.

Medford seems to have a whole row of junk yards along Peconia Ave, among them where I bought my fender today. Reminds me of the chop shops along Avenue P in Newark, NJ

Nice wheels…

It’s not perfect, but it will do.

Since the ad was posted, looks like a bunch of parts were sold already.

This little nipple in the middle of the damn thing will really bother me. Could not see it in pics because of the glue residue  but what can you do. Will have to live with it.

My dog Maxi Max came along for the ride. We stopped in Flushing, the Chinatown of Queens for my favorite soup dumplings from Joe’s Shanghai. And then again at Kababish near La Guardia airport because of heavy bumper to bumper traffic, and because this place was highly recommended by a coworker, so I had to try it. Max helped himself to a piece of chicken kebab while I was out of the car getting gas. He got smacked for stealing, but when we got home he drank the whole bowl of water. The food was punishment enough because it was so spicy….

Anyway, tomorrow I’ll attempt to install it.

Mazda MX-5: Bad Day for my Miata

Always knew someone will run over my Miata. Today my mommy dearest succeeded. It didn’t help I parked behind her on a weird angle… only ran in the house for a minute before going out. But she beat me to it. Put her truck in reverse and plowed over my fender doing plenty of damage.

Not sure how to tackle this project. Will look for another fender for sale online, preferably in Copper Red so I don’t have to paint it. But this won’t be cheap.

This is why I can’t have nice things.

Not sure how she got enough speed to do so much damage as the car was parked two feet behind the truck. So far I pulled out the fender so it’s not running against the tire. And zip tied the fender lining together. Car looks like shit now.

Hot Wheels Porsche 962 & Mazda 787B

Today I learned something new in my Hot Wheels collecting hobby… all those cool cars I’ve glanced at before and dismissed because they were not the red Miata I was looking for… yeah! I actually should have bought them when I had a chance.

I also learned there are different price points for Hot Wheels collectibles. And I don’t mean the dollar main line cars that Walmart sells for 94 cents but ACME supermarkets mark up 50% to $1.49 but instead… There are $1.27 Hot Wheels like the Honda S2000 I picked up today. Or the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA vintage racer that I paid $3.99 + tax for, because I knew I would regret it if I didn’t buy it.

I blew my chance to buy the red 2016 Miata, so I broke down and ordered one on ebay… negotiated it down to $1.25 but paid $4 in shipping. Which is still less than what I spent on fuel for all those times I went to the store and came home empty handed because there wasn’t what I wanted on the shelf.

Now my mission has evolved. I’m willing to spend more for what I really want. And what I really want is the Porsche 962 and Mazda 787B race cars from the Circuit Legends / Real Riders line. Oh and if I get lucky and find the Greddy Porsche 962 from 2017, I’d go nuts! Went to three Wal-Mart’s today, two Targets and several supermarkets and had no luck finding them. Although I did come home with a few other gems like a Gulf Livery SVT Raptor off roader or the 6 wheeler Mercedes-Benz G-class. Not a race car for my collection but I wanted it.

Hoping tomorrow I’ll have more luck going to hit a few more stores. Goal is to avoid paying five or ten times over their price on ebay. Which I really have to make sure I don’t do.

The adventure continues….

Hot Wheels Mission Accomplished!

…mission accomplished! (sort of)

After a few days of obsessive compulsive behavior. Two supermarket visits and a trip to Wal-Mart dropping $50 bux on toys, my collection is off to a good start!

I cleaned out my local ACME grocery store of their white Mad Mike Miatas that I mentioned in a previous post. And the next day, while I woke up at a crack of dawn for no particular reason, I went to my local 24hr Walmart where I cleaned them out of their Gulf Racing Porsche 917LM cars and the Gulf Livery Indy500 racers… getting many multiples of each. I anticipate them to be fairly rare, so they will be a good car to trade for something else like the red Miata from 2016 that I don’t yet have.

Happy collecting ya’ll.

Love these…

This pair travelled with me from Monterey, California where I scoured local supermarkets for all things Mazda during Miatas at Laguna Seca.

UPDATE September 29: more cars

Only one one left to get is the Matchbox Miata

Hot Wheels Race Cars Collection

Several years ago I started buying a ton of Hot Wheels diecast race cars to get my little nephews hooked on cars and racing. These days my young nephews have convinced me that I should have started my own Hot Wheels and Matchbox collection much sooner…

Don’t get me wrong I’ve been treating myself to a 1:18 model every now and again when I found a good deal online or in store, but those events have been rare. So far I only have a handful of SVT Cobra’s and SRT Viper’s to speak of. But Hot Wheels are cheap! And while they lack in detail of each tiny model, there’s a huge variety of choice out there. I’ve found myself lately rushing to the toy aisle of my local supermarket every time I go grocery shopping, to go thru the racks to see what’s new. If there’s a box display it takes me a good 20 minutes before I’m satisfied to leave that I’ve dug out everything there is to find in there. When I leave something I had in my hands without buying I feel instant regret.

That’s precisely what happened when I had Gulf Racing Porsche 917 Le Mans long tail from the 70’s and a modern Indy 500 open wheeler in the same livery. They were in my shopping cart for the whole store visit but before I got to the register I chucked them out because I have never seen Gulf livery on an IndyCar before… what a fool!?!

What’s even worse, there have been instances few years ago where I actually bought the cars. Gave them to my nephews who proceeded to bash them against each other, throw them around on the floor, and now keep them piled up in a large bucket because they have so many…. argh!

This happened to a red MIATA which I wish I kept in a box because I have not been successful finding another one for myself no matter how many Walmarts, Kmarts or Target stores I visit. But also other cool race cars like the pair of Castrol livery BMW 3.0 CSL’s below:

I even try to visit stores whenever I travel to see if other places get more variety. I did pick up several Mazda RX7’s on a trip to California last year, or Ford GT, Mercedes-AMG GT3, Cadillac ATS-V.R and Lambo Super Trofeo models on a recent trip to South Jersey while volunteering for MotoAmerica.

Seeing all these models glued to the wall makes me all nostalgic about working IMSA events where I blue flagged the exact Mercedes-AMG GT3’s and Ford GT’s. Or the Pirelli World Challenge where those Cadillac’s dominated everyone else.

Looking on the Hot Wheels web site I see a ton of models I’d like to add to my new wall collection. Including the white rotary Mad Mike MIATA which is the  closest representation of the livery he uses on his crazy drift car:

Or the yellow Lamborghini Super Trofeo, which looks awesome:

Or the Lamborghini Countach pace car which looks legit!

Or even little souped up Ford Fiesta from one of my new favorite sports that went belly up this year: Red Bull Global Rallycross:

Or many other new things that Hot Wheels hasn’t announced yet, or already stopped selling (is it me or is everything out of stock on their web site…. and I’m not paying eBay prices for any of these no matter how much I want them).

So if any one that knows me comes across a cool diecast, go ahead spend that $1 dollar on me, I’ll happily reimburse you.

Cheers!

PS. I’m very pleased with my growing ND MX5 collection, whenever I see them on a shelf I snatch them. I even beat another enthusiast that wanted the car while my eldest nephew an I went to our local Wal-Mart during the Hot Wheels 50th anniversary tour… and that never happens to me, for once lady luck was on my side.

MotoAmerica Championship of New Jersey Flagging Experience

It has been over eight months since my last Motorsport track visit. Finally! Something came along locally that I actually wanted to be a part of. MotoAmerica Championship of New Jersey at NJMP is always amazing and I’m super happy I was able to take part this weekend even though I’ll miss out on a full day of racing (Sunday) due to work.

Work has certainly put a damper on this hobby. By the time I finished Thursday night I only managed to get two hours of sleep before driving down south Friday morning for the ridiculously early 6:40am meeting at NJMP. Luckily it was good weather, sunny and only a small chance of weather that did not materialize, except for one instance of lightning that had us briefly evacuated causing a shortened practice session. I had a great night of rest at a local cheap motel… “cheap” when it comes to quality… not the price which they jacked from $56/night normally to almost double $96/+ tax because a pro race is in town. Thanks Quality Inn. But I can’t complain too much. NJMP pays for this event so my expenses will be covered. Saturday it was rain all day long. And to be honest I missed it. I missed the experience so much I thoroughly enjoyed the misery. Had to change my whites at lunch time because even with rain gear it was getting cold and uncomfortable. But all in all a fantastic weekend. Tons of action, lots of good fun. Now my feet are burning and I’m back to sitting on my ass all day at work tomorrow. Happy with the memories I made.

Blue must be the most suitable bike color…

My first and last local race in the books. Until next year!