Looks like I’ll be spending my birthday in Europe this year. I have a commitment in France but am planning to spend at least half of my trip in Germany and specifically some places I haven’t been to before: Stuttgart and Munich. And since I’m not planning on volunteering this time for any Motorsport event I’m totally debating visiting some amazing Automotive museums over the course of four days… the plan is to spend half a day exploring each one of the following (and starting the process of researching the logistics of doing each one):
Porsche Museum in Stuttgart
Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart
Mercedes-Benz Factory Tour
BMW Welt & BMW Museum in Munich
And if time and money allows:
Mazda Classic Museum Frey in Augsburg
I’m super excited about the prospect of this trip. Hopefully I get to do everything I’ve planned so far and then some. More research and info to come soon.a
Finally had the time to pin my First Editions Hot Wheels mainline race cars I bought off eBay to their new display spot.
Since cars of this vintage don’t have unique blue cards like modern Hot Wheels displaying them as a group is a little easier because they can overlap so only the bubble with each race car is visible. Having done that though I wanted to share some pix from my new favorite HW Collectors web site of what each car looks like out of it’s packaging… I’m using this resourse both to display my cars without cracking open the packaging and as a link to educational material as the site illustrates all available options for each model… most of which I don’t have in my collection. So here we go!
This car was the reason I went looking for vintage Hot Wheels on eBay. This is the homologated street version of the amazing race car that dominated one of the best racing eras of all time. Read more about the model here: http://hwcollectorsnews.com/mercedes-clk-lm-75mm-1999-2003
The cars that battled the Mercedes and dominated in their own right were Porsche 911 GT1. I bought three different versions, with the #38 Champion livery being my favorite because it accurately represents the IMSA model that raced stateside. More info on models: http://hwcollectorsnews.com/porsche-911-gt1-98-75mm-1999
I first got to see this car in action a few years ago while volunteering for the Historic Daytona 24 hours. It was stunning. More about the model: http://hwcollectorsnews.com/cadillac-lmp-70mm-2001
I’ve only seen one of these on display at Lime Rock but it looks amazing. Don Panoz founded the American Le Mans Series and it was my favorite before it merged with Grand Am. More here: http://hwcollectorsnews.com/panoz-lmp-1-roadster-s-78mm-2001
I don’t believe I’ve even ever seen one in person, but on TV it looked amazing battling European and Japanese Le Mans cars of it’s vintage. I ordered it because it seemed cheap at $2 shipping included, it was cheap because the bubble yellowed. More: http://hwcollectorsnews.com/panoz-gtr-1-1998-75mm-1998
Saw one of these race at a Historic event at Daytona. The #11 white model accurately represents a Hot Wheels livery race car that really participated in American Motorsport. Not sure why the card labels it as a GT3 model though, it definitely isn’t as the road car was a 4 door sedan. More: http://hwcollectorsnews.com/olds-aurora-gts-1-76mm-1999
Saw this iconic Ferrari at the Daytona Historic racing series 24 hour race. Sounded fantactic. There is a Momo/Lista livery model produced that i should get my hands on. More: http://hwcollectorsnews.com/ferrari-333-sp-72mm-2000
Saw a variation of this model at Daytona Historics event. Looked similar to the Ferrari 333SP which also raced in the same IMSA series. Riley still makes awesome modern race cars from Grand Am Daytona Prototypes to current Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars. More: http://hwcollectorsnews.com/riley-and-scott-mk-iii-2001-78mm-2001
Can-Am racer. Don’t think I’ve ever seen one though I’ve watched plenty of McLaren Can-Am cars race in New Zealand. Had to have it! More here: http://hwcollectorsnews.com/shadow-mk-lla-75mm-1999
First heard of Chaparral by reading the victory wall above the pits at Sebring. It had won the grueling 12 hour. And it’s an American brand! More: http://hwcollectorsnews.com/chaparral-2-65mm-1998
Apparently the race car went thru constant development even in the same racing season. This one grew a roof in it’s 4th iteration. More: http://hwcollectorsnews.com/chaparral-2d-67mm-2003
At the other end of the race car spectrum, faster than the Le Mans prototypes and GT cars is IndyCar and America is obsessed with it’s Indy 500. The No Fear car represents one of my favorite IndyCar designs back when they looked like F1 cars. More: http://hwcollectorsnews.com/no-fear-race-car-80mm-1994-2001
The F360 model is famous for a lot of things, I find it awesome because of it’s single make series in Ferrari Challenge appearance. And later as GT3 / GTC race versions. I’m fact there is a Coca Cola livery Ferrari Challenge version I need to find. More: http://hwcollectorsnews.com/ferrari-360-modena-70mm-1999
This model looks a lot like the German DTM cars of that era. Love it. More: http://hwcollectorsnews.com/mercedes-c-class-70mm-19972003
This page is continuously being updated. If you spot errors please let me know. Stay tuned for more.
The modern Grand Touring class of racing is currently by far my favorite form of Motorsport. It’s true when it came to selecting what race events I wanted to volunteer in the past and it’s true now when it comes to what diecast models I choose to add to my collection.
What are GT race cars, and specifically the very best of them – the GT3 cars?
Here’s the list below, borrowing heavily from the FIA GT3 Wikipedia page (and Motorsport.com) with real photo examples:
The list includes GTE cars which are Factory Motorsport efforts that are either heavily modified GT3 cars or GT3-prototypes later released for Customer Motorsport efforts as GT3 cars. These are the top-Pro GT teams that compete in WEC and IMSA.
Acura / Honda
This page is a work in progress… updated frequently!
What’s the most recognizable Racing Livery? What paint job tells you the Team sponsor by seeing the color combo from a mile away? Even without reading any text…. I’d think Red Bull, Coca Cola, Marlboro, Rothmans, Martini, Gulf, Falken, Tic Tac, Yagermeister… maybe a few others would make the list. But since Hot Wheels is a kid brand, most of the cigarette and booze sponsors get excluded from making it into mainline cars. So of the remaining teams we’re left with instantly recognizable paint jobs, and I’m going to start adding them to my collection.
Thanks to all the detailed work HWCOLLECTORSNEWS.COM put into their web site it can be used as a shopping catalog for desirable cars… past and present. I’m happy to say that many of the abovementioned cars are already in my collection. And the rest I’ll be on the lookout for on eBay to be sure I can add them to my wall.
So the following are my favorites:
There are of course others in each of these series, none large than the amazing Gulf Racing variety.
But it’s important to remember that collecting anything requires patience. Especially with something like Hot Wheels where new surprises come out every year. So I’ll be adding my additions as I accumulate them over the years.
If you’re just getting into Hot Wheels collecting like me, you may get overwhelmed with all the variety out there, available at different price points… or frustration of not being able to find any of the cool stuff you see people brag about online. I’d like to share some resourses I’ve come across in my recent re-introduction to this hobby with the hope that this info actually helps someone. And I’m sure I’ll vent my frustration as well… although the simple solution to that problem is just to throw more money at it. If you really want a car someone will sell it to you for a crazy price $$$ on eBay. I have bought quite a few dozen such cars there already to help my collection start growing.
So, observation #1: it’s 2018 and while grocery shopping at my local supermarket I come across a Hot Wheels box dump where I pull out 3 GT3 spec race cars after a short time rummaging thru. Wow! I think to myself, that’s going to be quite a collection if there are tiny versions of all the different race cars out there from American IMSA racing series or Le Mans, Blancpain GT, Pirelli World Challenge, etc. But nope…. you should not worry about being overwhelmed because Hot Wheels produced at most 2 or 3 varieties of cars per year, and certainly not of every single model racing in the real world today. Lately I’ve noticed realistic GT3 spec machinery is increasing in popularity, good news for me, because that’s the type of HW I want to collect, but finding them is often difficult and requires a lot of trips to the store… which suddenly makes buying stuff off eBay more appealing and often a cheaper option than burning gas running around with no success.
Observation #2: Hot Wheels are released in cases of 72 car in Mainline or 10 packs for Car Culture premium models. Each case has some new additions and a ton of oldies from previous cases of the same production year or even previous years. Which is both cool (If you’re looking for something you missed in the past) and weird (If you don’t come across a new item because there was only one or two per case and another collector or kid buying a new toy beat you to the peg). Hunting for new releases is extremely frustrating especially when you compete against people that snatch all the good stuff when they come across it and then go and sell that stuff to people like me on eBay for profit. So key is to be quick and lucky.
Observation #3: and probably the most important one, is to use a web site like HW collectors newsletter to see what stuff is available each year, when it comes out and even who sells it when there are exclusives like Zamac or Red Line, Treasure Hunt and Super Treasure Hunts. Btw…. zamac are those unpainted Zink Alluminum looking cars that now come with a Zamac build # on the blue card. TH or treasure hunt models have a little Hot Wheels flame circle behind the car on the blue card also writing how exclusive that car is.
Since I don’t crack open any of the HotWheels cars that I buy I’m going to illustrate this post with anazing photos from HWCollectorsNews.com
The 2016 Mazda MX5 Miata was the unicorn in my collection even two years before I actually started collecting. Couldn’t find it anywhere I looked. I spent days scouring local supermarkets on a trip to California in 2016 and 2017… no luck. Same in Texas and in Florida. I even hit up a bunch of states from Pennsylvania to the Carolinas while driving to Daytona. No luck… so I ended up shelling over $5 for one on eBay. And it was well worth it.
Since then I’ve spent over $200 on Miatas alone, often clearing out the racks at my local supermarket whenever I come across a fresh display. I’ve got more than 50 of the white Mad Mike Miata from 2018 and at least a dozen of each of the others… and most of them I will probably give away to friends at future Miata events.
The other Mazda that I absolutely adore in my collection is the 2018 Car Culture premium model 787B Le Mans race car…
I’ve burned a ton of fuel going from store to store, week after week, trying to find one. Tempted to buy on eBay but not willing to shell out $10+ shipping for one. And finally came across a new case at a distant Target near NY/NJ border where they must have just gotten out out for Christmas. I bought all 4 on that display. And I’m sure it’s the best car in my collection, though I’m sure there will be more awesome HW stuff in the future.
The goal for my collection besides the Mazda’s is current and realistic / accurate GT3 race cars. And much like the amazing real variety at endurance events at Daytona, Sebribg, Bathurst, Spa-Francorchams, Le Mans or Nürburgring so too is the selection from HW:
The cars above represent what my collection is about. There are currently 45 total options available as I’ve learned from the amazingly detailed description of each model from HWCollectorsNews.com however I probably won’t collect every single model because it turns out only some are sold individually as part of carded models. The rest are multipack exclusives. And yet others are exclusively made for events and aren’t even available for sale. While yet others, like the Forza Motorsport Ford GT are way too ugly and too expensive for the price they are being sold for.
So price and availability are always a factor of what will go into my collection.
This brings me to Observation #4: Hot Wheels are typically only made in their Malaysian or Thai factories. I’ve bought some older First Editions models from 20 years ago that were made in China. I’ve seen stuff from Macau as well. But modern Mainline cars come from Malyasia while premium cars are made in Thailand.
Mainline Hot Wheels are Made in Malaysia & Car Culture premium models are Made in Thailand
So this is a pretty exotic hobby knowing each car came from Southeast Asia. And ironically the cars are typically sold cheaper in the US compared to what they actually go for in their home markets (regular price that is, not sale). That being said prices are all over the board nowadays for both Mainline and Car Culture. Wal-Mart is consistently cheapest with their 94 cent price tag for most main line. $1.27 for special carded mainline and $4.97 for the Car Culture models. While the same Car Culture premium sell for $7.99 at Target…. because they can. Even my local supermarkets sell mainline for different price weekly. Sometimes it’s $0.99, then $1.09, then $1.29, $1.49 and when they’re really greedy $1.99 especially Matchbox mainline seem to command the double price for some reason. I tend to buy stuff when I find what I like regardless what the price is, because chances are that when they go on sale the selection would be very limited. That said I think car culture cars are worth the premium especially the well detailed Race Car models like:
the Porsche 962 models with Real Riderz wheels. Though that Momo livery car that came as part of a Transporter series with a large HW truck costing $12.99 is ridiculously overpriced I think.
There was a cheaper $3.99 version of the Porsche 962 before I started my collection, but for the life of me I cannot find one for a reasonable price. Speaking of cheaper vintage Porsches we are lucky to get the Gulf Racing Porsche 917 LH in mainline, readily available and I made sure to stock up on them.
In 2019 Hot Wheels will have several new sets of their Premium Car Culture line: Gulf livery, Open Track, etc. Many more GT and GT3 offerings among them like another Audi R8 LMS and a brand new pair of Acura NSX GT3’s among them. Even main line will have more new Cadillac and Mercedes-AMG race cars. I’m looking forward to finding them and adding to my collection.
I’ll keep HWCollectorsNews.com as a reference guide to know before I go to the store to understand what I’m looking for. This was already helpful the other night when I found my very first Treasure Hunt of 2019 at ACME in beautiful spectra gold finish and Real Riderz wheels in Mainline cars.
This year is off to a good start, looking at what Mattel has come out with for both Hot Wheels and Matchbox lines, I’m going to be busy hunting for the cool stuff.
My goal is to snatch all the GT3 race cars that will be out this year. This includes mainline and premium models. And there’s a bunch of each.
I’m especially happy that there will be at least three (3) Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars in realistic/accurate AMG livery. Two color variations in mainline (my favorite colors I should add: baby blue and bright yellow) and premium Open Track Car Culture line (in their prototype gray just the way the car was introduced).
Acura NSX GT3 is another model with multiple offerings both in premium lines.
And finally the Gulf Racing Car Culture lime where I really want to get my hands on the McLaren F1 GTR. And maybe that awesome looking Fiat 600 in iconic Gulf Racing livery.
As of today I’m already the lucky owner of both first color mainlines Cadillac ATS-V.R and Mercedes AMG GT3 models, which fit right in with my growing collection. Oh and I also grabbed a new color of the Porsche 917 LH Prototype too.
There’s so much to chase after, I hope I get lucky and snatch them all.
Extending my invitation to all of you for end of 2019:
Mark your calendars!
The Miata turns 30 next year and you’re all invited to the celebration at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on October 11-13th.
Now that we have a firm date, we’re working on all the various details including adding special things to commemorate the 30th anniversary. We will also be sharing information via Facebook, Instagram and Miata.net as in previous years. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel to catch our latest videos. If you have any Miata friends who think they might be interested in attending, please have them sign up for the email list via the home page at our website as these emails are our primary channel for reaching out to you. In the meantime:
Lots of track time? Yes!
Parade laps? Yes!
All the top suppliers of cool Miata goodies and services all in one place? Yes!
Stay tuned for more…….
As always, the website remains the official source of information for the event, where you will also find the link to register when registration opens.
Event registration will open at 9am Pacific time on Saturday, June 15th.
We’ll also send out a reminder before registration opens to provide you with further information.
See you in October!
The Miatas at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Team
Motorsport Marshal, Miata Driver, Hot Wheels Collector