All posts by Russ

Hot Wheels $uper Treasure Hunts

UPDATE 6/2/2019: This week I added 6 more supers and 3 more corresponding mainlines to my collection. Last Saturday I found 4x Mazda Repu $upers at Walmart, Rockaway, NJ. Yesterday, Saturday added the Audi RS6 Wagon found at Shop Rite, Emerson, NJ and today found VW T2 truck at ACME in Allendale, NJ… wow!

2019 has been a great year for my Hot Wheels & Matchbox collecting hobby. I’ve picked up a ton of cars I really wanted including many (and many multiples of) pricey Premium models from various new series like Open Track, Gulf and Silhouettes that include realistic looking GT3 race cars, which I love. I discovered Matchbox premiums called Superfast which too seem to fit my collection nicely.

But Hot Wheels collecting mean different things to different people. While to me realistic race cars are most valuable, others may consider Muscle Cars to be the business, or some fantasy castings. Most however will claim that Super Treasure Hunts or $upers (even $oup for short) are most valuable of them all because they are the rarest in this mass produced world of Die Casts.

I was never one to have Mattel tell me what I should collect, but after finding a few of them recently I will certainly not put one back on the peg if I come across it at a supermarket.

Why?

Cause they do indeed look cool with their spectra flake paint job and real riderz wheels. They are basically the premium models that sell for $1 instead of $6+ that Car Culture line now goes for.

Take a look at my recent finds:

Found at ACME supermarket in Mahwah, NJ

Found at Target in Fairfield, NJ

I like them… and again while they aren’t the core of my collection, I think they are worth keeping along with the base model for comparison.

Now the regular “Treasure Hunt” models seem to basically be junk… and despite having Mattel write nice things on the blue card how they are collectibles, in my experience they have mainly been worthless. Nobody collects them, unless it’s a model that fits someone’s collections goals. And unless it’s an interesting concept, like my very first treasure hunt find: Quick Bite which I actually really like… the rest that I picked up with hopes of trading for something I really want have been duds.

Found at Walmart in Teterboro, NJ and at Walgreens in Wyckoff, NJ

Zamac (Walmart exclusives, though I’ve found one at Walgreens before) seem to be much more desirable than Regular Treasure Hunts, although my local Walmart’s never seem to have them on the pegs.

Found at Kmart in Wayne, NJ and Ton of Toys in Westwood, NJ

Target “Red Edition” and Kmart exclusives also seem to hold more value than Treasure Hunts. The one trade that I managed to get cars I wanted (though they arrived in a rough condition after USPS were done with them) involved a few Nissans from each stores exclusive lines.

There are models like the Kroger exclusive Ford GT LM that I really want for my collection but definitely don’t see myself paying 10x the price plus shipping to acquire… I don’t even think it would be worth trading a $uper for one maybe a Red Edition or Zamac… but who knows. Too bad there’s no Kroger stores where I live.

Happy Hunting Ya’ll!

Caffeine & Carburetors New Canaan, CT Photos

Been a while since I’ve gone to a local Cars & Coffee event, and while there was one happening much closer to home I decided to drive an hour to check out the one in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Compared to last year’s event it seemed smaller both in attendance of people as well as cars on display. But those that were there were excellent quality automobikes. Lots of Italian and German classics and modern wheels. Have a look at some of my favorites:

Some cool things that stood out to me. Watkins Glen International had a pop up recruiting marshals. And someone actually came up to me inviting me to volunteer there… Cool!

Last years 3 or 4 Pagani’s were not there but the TWR Jaguar street car looked fantastic. I really liked the yellow Unimog too. And the three baby seats in the middle of a Citroen station wagon looked pretty cool. Lots of Dino’s… lots of Alfa Giulia’s. Plenty of Porsches and BMWs.

After the event my buddy Bill and I decided to do a scenic drive to Bear Mountain crossing the Hudson from East to West which was surprisingly underwhelming. The Westchester side of New York is far less exciting to drive than Rockland and Orange side especially zig zagging along Seven Lakes Drive.

All in all it was an enjoyable day Cruisin’…

Hot Wheels Mystery Models

I try not to stray from my core Hot Wheels and Matchbox collecting hobby, and that is to focus on collecting realistic race cars… keeping them sealed in their original packaging, because often the card art is much better than the deco on each car. But I stumbled upon a mystery models set at Walmart today that fits all the criteria of my collection minus the card art because the cars are sealed in plastic baggies that also contain a sticker of the car, much like the blue card for the individual cars.

There is a lot to like in this set of Mystery cars, even when the car I wanted most was most elusive… I still have not found it (the Mystery: Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo)

But I stocked up on the rest and thanks to the good folks at HWCollectorsNews.com I can even share what each car looks like without taking mine out of the package. I even brought home one of the boxes from Walmart specifically to keep all my mystery stuff separate from the rest I put up on a wall…

Race Cars:

The cars I was most interested in that I got:

  • Dodge Viper SRT-10
  • Acura NSX
  • Ford GT LM
  • BMW M3 GT2
  • Cadillac LMP
  • Ford Fiesta Rallycross

I’ll be on the lookout to find that Huracan GT3 that fits my collection best!

Hot Wheels Motorsports

I started my Hot Wheels collection to basically keep the nostalgia of having once participated as a Motorsport marshal going… until I could return again to my racing hobby. Soon I will return, but the little die cast cars have been so much fun I cannot believe I didn’t start this sooner… Meanwhile I always wanted to link the photos of the cars in my collection to the real race cars I came across during my travels.

And here it goes:

Looks familiar? BMW M3 GT2 in ALMS: http://myroadtrip.net/northeast-grand-prix-alms-at-lime-rock-park/

Ducati 1199 Panigale at MotoGP Indianapolis Grand Prix: http://myroadtrip.net/red-bull-indianapolis-grand-prix-motogp/

My first exposure to Porsche 962 Historics, back when I thought they were CanAm racers lol: http://myroadtrip.net/shannons-historics-at-phillip-island-debrief/

My first intro to Mazda 787B at Le Mans France, and yes it did a flying lap so I heard it scream too: http://myroadtrip.net/bonjour-le-mans-postcard-from-the-24h-of-le-mans/

Not quite the same car, but close enough BMW Z4 /M at ALMS Northeast GP Lime Rock: http://myroadtrip.net/post-card-from-alms-weekend-at-lime-rock/

Again not the same vintage Porsche but definitely the correct Falken livery: http://myroadtrip.net/new-media-from-northeast-gp-2012/

Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in Malaysia: http://myroadtrip.net/postcard-from-malaysia-asian-le-mans/

One of my favorite series Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: http://myroadtrip.net/post-card-from-sebring-12-hour/

Getting aquainted with the Audi R8 LMS at the Nurburgring 24h: http://myroadtrip.net/media-from-24h-nurburgring/

Meeting the Porsche 911 GT1 at Le Mans France: http://myroadtrip.net/media-from-24h-of-le-mans/

Lambo Huracan Super Tofeo / GT3 at Spa 24 drivers parade: http://myroadtrip.net/post-card-from-spa-24h-at-spa-francorchamps/

SRT-10 Viper GTD at Lone Star Le Mans: http://myroadtrip.net/post-card-from-the-lone-star-le-mans-wecimsa-6-hours-of-the-circuit-of-the-americas/

American muscle at Sebring 12h: http://myroadtrip.net/sebring-12h-2016-debrief/

Renault RS 01 and Mercedes-AMG GT3 at Spa 24h: http://myroadtrip.net/post-card-from-spa-24h-at-spa-francorchapms/

Ford GT at WEC N-ring: http://myroadtrip.net/post-card-from-wec-on-the-grand-prix-circuit-of-the-nurburgring/

BMW M3 and Mercedes-Benz 190EVO Historics at the Nurburgring: http://myroadtrip.net/nurburgring-6-hour-fia-wec-world-endurance-championship-on-the-grand-prix-circuit/

Not my favirite IndyCar series, but pretty major events as far as Amerucan racing goes: http://myroadtrip.net/ferrari-club-of-america-guesting-indycar-at-watkins-glen-international/

Acura NSX GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT3 at tge Roar Before the 24 at Daytona: http://myroadtrip.net/post-card-from-the-roar-before-the-24-at-daytona-international-speedway/

Ford Fiesta at RedBull Global Rallycross Atlantic City: http://myroadtrip.net/post-race-photo-gallery-from-the-red-bull-grc-in-atlantic-city/

The Daytona 24hr Classic featuring HSR – Historic Racing Series was a mindblowing experience where everything raced from Fiat 500 to Ford GT, to Porsche 962 in various configurations, to Porsche 935/78 to BMW M1 Procar, etc: http://myroadtrip.net/hsr-classic-24-hour-at-daytona-in-pictures/

The Roborace driverless concept racer is an interesting idea I got to check out in Brooklyn and Montréal for their ePrix: http://myroadtrip.net/post-card-from-the-fia-montreal-e-prix/

…stay tuned for more!

Mazda MX-5 Miata Front Wheel Bearings Replacement

This week I took on a project that totally kicked my ass, mentally and physically. My friend Bill started experiencing a grinding sound and wheel vibration on the right side of the car after having new wheels installed. Since he gave me his old used tires I went on a test drive with him after COSTCO did his tire install and quickly diagnosed it as a broken wheel bearing. Fast forward to Saturday Bill and I attempted to do the replacement of his 111k mile MX5 hubs to new Timken RX8 hubs from Rock Auto.

I did the same job on my car a few years ago. It was tough but I got it done in an afternoon. http://myroadtrip.net/2007-mazda-mx-5-miata-grand-touring-prht/rx-8-front-wheel-bearing-hubs-timken-ha590360-oem-f189-33-04x/

Bills hubs however took much longer and a ton more effort because of rust and the hubs were seized to the base they bolt in to. So over the course of the next four days I kept on spraying the hubs with PB Blaster repeatedly, used up a big bottle of that, not to mention a couple of more CRC degreaser I borrowed from my dad, and pounded the shit out of them using a rented slide hammer from Auto Zone.

On Monday the left side gave way. But the right side, the actual broken bearing would not budge for two more days. Bill researched a few suggestions on the forums. I tried them all and they all failed:

  1. Using a stubby screwdriver to pound from the inside the wheelwell around the plastic ABS cover. Nope!
  2. Pounding the plastic ABS cover, breaking it and hitting the bearing directly. Nope!
  3. Going to Home Depot to buy longer bolts and banging them from the inside to push the hub out. Nope! The bolts sheared immediately and went right thru the hole like thru butter… Argh!

What finally worked was banging from the inside behid the wheel studs to push the thing ever so slightly. I used a chizel on one side because the metal brake duct was very much in the way. Plus more banging with the slide hammer of course. Eventually that worked millimeter by millimeter. A few times I hammered the hub back in place from the front just to move it back and forth, and after a total of maybe 12 or 14 hours of banging over 4 days it worked. Reassembly was very quick maybe half an hour. But after all that banging every bone in my body, every muscle, every cell hurt!

What a project!

Hot Wheels Motorsport Wish List

The more cars and bikes I add to my collection the more I want to get to complete my newly created Hot Wheels Motorsport “Spotter Guide” to illustrate the available options out there in the 1/64 scale diecast world.

In addition to my core collectables I’ve stocked up on cool cars I offer to trade to others for what I like… and the question always comes up: “what are you looking for?”

This list is what I’m looking for:

Ducati 1098R

Check out Hot Wheels Collector News for a complete list of this 2010-2013 bike model: Click here!

Ducati 1199 Panigale

While I have a few Ducati 1199’s already there are a few more 2014+ models I’d like: Click here!

Lotus Evora GT4

The 2013-2014 release of the Lotus Evora GT4 would be nice to acquire: Click here!

Saleen S7

While it was made from 2002 onwards I’m especially interested in the 2010 version of the Saleen S7 Race Car with a big wing and air scoop added. Click here!

Ferrari F1
BMW F1

Though I doubt I’ll ever get my hands on any of these realistic looking 1999 production F1 cars, I would really love to get at least the above Ferrari and BMW versions in their true liveries. Click here!

Tyrrell P34

Speaking of must-have Formula 1 models, the 2010 Tyrrell six-wheeler is at the top of my list. Click here!

Porsche 917K

This short tail version of the 917 beauty of which I already have a few long tail version is a must for me, and I think I’ll get one fairly reasonably priced as it was a recent release. Click here!

Porsche 993 GT2

This limited edition, fancilly boxed 911 will be impossible to get cheaply. Click here!

Porsche 911 GT2

However this mainline from 2010 should be doable: click-here!

Ferrari 360 Modena – Ferrari Challenge

This would be awesome to have, Ferrari Challenge F360 from 1999 production run, click here!

Ferrari 430 Scuderia

The 2009 run of the next Ferrari Challenge F430 is a must too, Click Here!

Ford Fiesta Rallycross

After participating in Red Bull Rallycross I got a really soft spot for the Ford Fiesta, would love to add a few more of these colorful gems to my collection. Click here!

Ford Falcon V8 Supercar

One of the more illusive race cars I have been having trouble getting cheaply on eBay is the series of Ford Falcon V8 Supercars. I definitely want these in my collection. Click here!

Since there are no Kroger stores in my area getting the Ford GT exclusive was impossible, hoping to find one on eBay cheaply. Click here.

There are of course a number of GT3 car variations I would love to add to the many existing cars on my wall. Especially slightly older stufffrom before the time I begun my collection.

Huge thanks to HWCollectorsNews.com folks forcataloging this hobby so well for newbies to have such an amazing resource to go by. My collection keeps growing so this page and my general wish list is constantly updated. Stay tuned!

Hot Wheels Motorsport Spotter Guide

The more time I spend away from participating in Motorsport the more nostalgic my Hot Wheels hobby makes me feel. So I had an idea to catalog my collection into a Motorsport spotter guide much like those famous Andy Blackmore sportscar guides I would often share before every endurance race I went to marshal. This is going to be my attempt to create something similar. For not just sports car racing but also open wheelers, moto racing, rally and historics.

Should be fun!

Hot Wheels 24h Endurance

Hot Wheels 60’s Historics

Hot Wheels 70’s Historics

Hot Wheels 80’s Historics

Hot Wheels 90’s Historics

Hot Wheels 00’s Historics

Hot Wheels 10’s Historics

Hot Wheels Grand Prix

Hot Wheels Rally El Segundo

Classic Rallye

Hot Wheels Moto Grand Prix

Hot Wheels Formula Drift

The photos for this spotter guide came from HWCollectorsnews.com

This post is a work in progress will add more cars as they are acquired for my collection.

For a complete catalog of my HW and Matchbox collectibles: click here.

Dreamliner Euro Trip 2019

Its been a while since I chose a flight to book specifucally based on the airliner that flies that route. For my upcomming trip to Europe I will be going slightly out of my way (and way out of my way on the return) just to fly Boeing’s Dreamliner across the Atlantic.

It won’t be my first time flying this bird. I was booked on it twice already. First time using United Airline miles to fly partner ANA to Tokyo, but that flight suffered equipment change and I got to ride an old 777 instead. And a Scoot Air short hop between Bangkok and Singapore which was so late at night and so short I don’t remember much from that experience. Much like my previous experiences hunting after booking Airbus A380 international flights I’m very much looking forward to a longer Dreamliner experience. On my way to Paris I will have to take a positioning flight to Chicago. And returning from Munich I will overshoot home by flying to Dallas and then take an Airbus A321 flight home.

Between France and Germany I plan to rely on European fast train options, but IF stars align I would snag a cheap short flight in a heartbeat.

Wish I didn’t let my Air France miles expire I had almost 10k sitting dormant at one point, but disapointingly I discovered that the only way to keep them was by flying, partner earnings (like dining and shopping) did not help.

I will share more info on my plans for this Euro Trip later. It has been an exciting experience already just trying to secure the reward booking from AA. I was just over 1k miles short for redemption, it took me more than ten trips to various local restaurants for lunch to prop up my points balance via AAdvantage Dining… so glad those kind of options are out there.

more to come soon….

PS. I will be so pissed if my flight experiences equipment change again or if Dreamliners get grounded again for some reason this September.

Update 1: May 13 American emailed me a flight change notice changing my domestic outbound flight from 1:30pm departure giving me a comfortable 4 hour connection time at Chicago O’hare to a 4:30pm departure giving me a sweaty 48 minute connection time which would most certainly mean I would have to run across the airport just to make my flight. Quick call to AA and I was back on a different 1:30pm departure… looks like AA changed flight #’s on the route and adjusted flight times slightly, which triggered the goof!

Hot Wheels GT3 Diecast Collection #TinyRaceCars

Mission accomplished once again. The Hot Wheels Premium Car Culture line keeps getting better and better. That’s those tiny 1/64 scale wide cards with fancy artwork cars featuring rubber wheels and metal base for $5.49 apiece instead of standard mainline cars that sell for $0.94 at Walmart or a bit more everywhere else. Well 2019 is getting pretty awesome so far with incredibly detailed modern GT3 machinery… exactly what got me into collecting Hot Wheels a year ago.

Sadly I’m not the only one hunting for these awesome things in Northern NJ and it took me many fruitless trips to the local stores where all I accomplished was burning a lot of gas. Today my luck changed around. While going to get my taxes done I finally stumbled upon an Easter display at Target that had all the cars I really wanted in my collection. Woo Hoo!!!

Audi R8 LMS
Mercedes-AMG GT3
Will keep hunting for that Momo Mercedes-Benz 190evo
Acura NSX GT3
Acura NSX GT3
Boom! Mission Accomplished…
Nice match to the 2017 release EuroSpeed series
Mixed with my former mission accomplished Mazda 787B

Well there you have it folks… super happy with my growing collection and looking forward to future fantastic releases.

Hot Wheels For Sale

I sold my first few Hot Wheels models today. Why?

Few reasons… started running out of wall space because I bought too many. My collection is straying a bit from my initial goal to collect only modern GT3 machines. Was a bit curious to see if anyone would buy them… come across someone crazier than me willing to pay more for a toy than the stores sell them for, etc.

It was an interesting experience. I listed my small 3 car Forza Motorsport series collection for $11 bux each giving myself a little wiggle room for the inevitable negotiation. Within an hour I had 3 offers for the BMW 2002… one guy offered to take the lot if I give him a deal, so I took a dollar off selling 3 for $30.

As much as I liked the card art in these they just didn’t fit with the rest of my Car Culture Real Riderz collection.

I’m thinking of selling a few more. The profit on each model won’t make anyone rich but it will offset the fuel I burned going to the store and coming back empty handed because they never seem to have Hot Wheels on the pegs anymore. Than again it’s probably because of people buying them cheap and reselling for more money like I just did. Welcome to capitalism.

The other thing I did was found someone to trade my spares for something I like. And while initially it seemed like a great idea the shipping cost killed the deal for me.

I’ll write more about this once I receive the package. But for now I’m on the hunt for more stuff I like to have on my wall, which currently features a lot of placeholders I’m looking to get rid of.