Tag Archives: BMW

Hot Wheels Collectors Resourses

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.

HW Collectors Newsletter is my favorite resourse for this hobby

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:

Aston Martin Vantage GT3

Audi R8 LMS

BMW Z4 GT3

Cadillac ATS-V.R

Corvette C7.R

Ford GT

Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (Huracán Super Trofeo)

Mercedes-AMG GT3

Renault Sport RS 01 (Renault Sport Trophy)

SRT Dodge Viper GT3-R

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup body-in-white

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.

$12.99 Most expensive toy store Hot Wheels I’ve bought to date…

Happy hunting ya’ll!

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!

Cars and Coffee at Tices Corner in Woodcliff Lake New Jersey April 2018

Good news, bad news… finally found a job which unfortunately has me working Sundays. Luckily it’s around the corner from this Sunday’s Cars and Coffee at Tices Corner in Woodcliff Lake… so I stopped by first thing in the morning to take some pix.

It took a few attempts to get the 2018 C&C season going with all the snow and salt on the roads deep into spring time. But it finally happened. And the takeaway for me from the first event of the season was all the colorful Lambos… and more specifically the Murcielagos.

That ugly gray mess of a pile behind one of the orange Murcies is dust covered snow… it was still freezing. I’m looking forward to more of these events once the weather gets nicer.

Rolex 24 hours at Daytona the debrief

Endurance racing is my favorite form of Motorsport. This year’s Rolex 24 had the potential to be very special because in the middle of last season one of my Canadian colleagues put me in touch with an IMSA official and a prospect of a real job (even if it was on a part-time basis) to work events that I really love as a race official. I had my fingers and toes crossed even as December rolled around but the job did not materialize… The 2018 season though seemed to be off to an exciting start with lots of “new” cars/teams/drivers joining the series, so I scrambled to book my flights and went as a volunteer instead.

For the race I got my pit lane assignment directly across from folks whose team I was hoping to join. But instead of doing something important with a real impact on the competition, I spent five days trackside spectating. It was excellent entertainment being so close until the race rolled around when it became pretty obvious that much of the previous year will repeat itself and Cadillacs will dominate. The excitement wore off.

The most interesting racing was in the GT Daytona field so I paid special attention to that battle. In prototypes the lead car was several laps ahead of second place at one point. And in GT Le Mans Fords ran away with pace Corvette couldn’t match, they too were several laps ahead. It was sad to watch the BMW M8’s be so uncompetitive. And the Porsche RSR team didn’t seem to have it’s kamikaze pilots from last year. Oh well!

At the end of the race records were broken, champions were crowned, and Rolex watches handed out as prizes. Who cares though? The predictability of the outcome made things boring. Hey, at least the weather was good!

Luckily, the 24h wasn’t the only race of the weekend. I feel like I got my money’s worth going on this trip from the two support series. The Ferrari Challenge folks put on a grand battle, and with 40+ cars on the grid it was awesome to see the series alive and well after seeing it’s sorry state in Connecticut last time I volunteered for it at Lime Rock.

Similarly Continental Tire Challenge rocked! I loved the battles there in all the classes. Nice to see TC R cars slide in so well into the grid, though a little sad not to see Miatas in ST class.

So in conclusion it was a good trip for a good clean race. A bit disapointing because of lack of excitement but I departed satisfied. And since I’m having trouble finding paid work, it’s likely this event will be one of my last times volunteering until I get the means to afford it again in the future. Too bad I wasn’t good enough to be hired by the series so I could continue doing what I really like to do, but such is life…

Cars & Coffee at Jack Daniels Porsche in Upper Saddle River, NJ Nov 2017

A cozy pre-Thanksgiving event at Jack Danieles Porsche dealer in Upper Saddle River, NJ While it was in the 50’s the weather felt much cooler with strong winds so maybe that’s why the turnout was fairly low around 10am… but there were amazing cars there.

Check them out:

My favorite car on display this weekend… a Rally 911

A flying Camel

Tried parking in the street so as not to take spots away from pretty supercars and other such automobiles… by the time I finished taking my pictures I was the only one left parked like a doofus in the middle of the street, lol

Great to see these events happening well into cold weather!

Another Post Card from the Grand Prix of Monterey and the California 8 hour at Laguna Seca

I wanted to share a few pix from the actual flag points during the PWC and SRO weekend at Laguna Seca… so here it goes.

My goal was to work in pit lane for this event. I was introduced to someone who chiefs that specialty and that person never replied. So to not miss the event, I decided to volunteer as a flagger and instead of requesting a specific post to work (like I did in previous years, like Turn 8 Corkscrew or Turn 2 last year for this very event) I just asked to be put wherever they needed me. And lucky for me they needed me in some very cool place. I got to work for two days in the beginning at Turn 3 which was amazing… and for the last two days of racing at Turn 11 which took the cake!

1957 was an amazing year it turns out… Lime Rock was built in 1957 and are celebrating their 60th this year. So is Laguna Seca apparently, and even VIRginia International Raceway was built in ’57 except that track went on hiatus for a bunch of years recently.

View from Turn 3 towards Turn 2 above and Turn 4 below.

A super convenient station which allowed me to sneak out to do another paddock walk to take some pictures during lunch time on Thursday. My awesome coworker helped me out by grabbing lunch for me at the Social tent which was delicious… I wolfed it down before the practice resumed in the afternoon.

The only European team in attendance. Belgian WRT Audi which “almost” won this event if it didn’t take aggressive actions against another fast Audi that lead most of the race and spun out into the gravel going down several laps before it was pulled out.

Pretty car though…

The Audi R8 that lead most of the race… they also had their Daytona 24 hour IMSA car on display in the paddock. Lead most of the race but were overtaken by Magnus Racing Audi towards the end.

Winner winner, chicken dinner.

Mazda of course had a prominent display in the paddock including their Miata “halfie” street/race car. And the new RF fastback.

I did some shopping before coming to the track so I had plenty of snacks to much on during the weekend…

Oh look “CARS” stamped fishies…

It was cooler in the mornings but the temps went up during the day, and the sun was pretty brutal especially at Turn 11 where I was without any cover during race days.

San Francisco Region SCCA did a fantastic job as usual feeding us.

Though I didn’t win this t-shirt that I really wanted, my buddy Ron who did win for some crazy reason offered to me. I’m super grateful!

On Friday evening SRO had rolled out all it’s cars for a group photo…

A very small group of only 19 cars to race for the 8 hour endurance, most of which typically only race sprint 2 to 3 hour races with PWC. team WRT of course and MARC Cars Australia have more endurance racing experience with Spa 24 and Bathurst 12 hours under their respective belts (along with many others I’m sure).

Thank goodness I had a bunch of bandanas to cover up so I didn’t fry my face… on Sunday it turns out Fort Ord conducted a controlled burn which scared the crap out of a lot of fellow marshals. Especially people working pit lane when ash started raining down (near fuel rigs). Oops!

My buddy Adam who hosted me for the weekend and who also works for SCRAMP came to visit me at Turn 3 and Turn 11.

Monday morning it was a wrap… a wrap of my two week California getaway. Speaking of wraps, I love the cover Adam is using on his Miata, and should probably invest in one for my car. Fits like a glove.

We grabbed one final lunch at my favorite diner in Salinas that severs the freshest salad I’ve ever had: Elli’s (get it, like Ellis Island)

And I headed back to return my 2017 Hyunday Accent at Hertz Seaside before heading back to Monterey.

I’m used to seeing Canadian flags here in New York at most places, but in California obviously the Mexican flag is more prevalent.

Then caught a $2.50 bus ride to the MRY – Monterey Regional Airport just a few miles away from town… where Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was prominently on display encouraging people to visit.

It was such a fantastic trip. I would love to go back…

Caffeine & Carburetors in New Canaan, Connecticut Sept 2017: the Germans

I think Porsche’s were best represented at this weekend’s Caffeine & Carburetors in New Canaan, CT though there were plenty of Audi, BMW’s and Mercedes-Benz cars of all vintage… Lot’s of classic VeeDubs with Porsche bits on them too.

More from this series:

Here’s some pix:

 

Check out the other posts from Caffeine & Carburetors here:

MotoAmerica Should Have Spotter Guides!

My biggest surprise of this weekend was the lack of any visual spotter guides available for any of the three major MotoAmerica series racing at NJMP for the Championship of New Jersey presented by K&N.

How could that be?

It seems like such a no-brainer idea but I was not able to find anything online or after attending the refresh training session on Thursday night. I really think that a sport as popular as this AMA Pro series should totally offer a visual spotter guide much like those offered in IMSA racing, PWC or IndyCar. Even NASCAR does paint scheme stories on their web site ahead of some races to let their fan base know what their favorite driver will be driving and what the livery on that vehicle will look like. I realize that there are potential sponsorship implications, as sponsors change from race to race perhaps, but its no excuse why there shouldn’t be a basic guide to what each team’s and rider’s bikes look like.

I would have really appreciated to have a reference guide to call bikes into Race Control based on what they look like from a distance, it was not always possible to read the bike number, especially in cases where the number was three digits. Those 3 digit bike numbers were pretty much impossible to read when the bike was down, or far away like at Station 12 where I was on Friday.

So yea… if anyone at MotoAmerica is reading please consider making one… Thank you very much for the consideration!

Took me a while to tell the difference between two factory Suzuki teams… turns out the one with a zebra paint scheme was the Superbike team and the one with a single colored stripe is a Supersport 1000 team… Ah hah!

I know this Yamaha team has been using this livery for at least a few years… and so does the factory Yamaha team:

The bikes most difficult to tell apart were the KTM RC Cup liveries:

MotoAmerica Superbikes at NJMP Championship of New Jersey the debrief

It was a gorgeous weekend at NJMP Thunderbolt to watch some bikes racing. But the freezing cold overnight in my tent camping at the track kicked my ass. Much like Mosport in Canada last weekend my foot began to hurt a ton after freezing my toes off and I had a hard time walking on Friday… which sucked. It was so cold Thursday night I went out and bought another sleeping bag which improved my comfort the next two nights but not enough to make the arthritis subside and I limped my way through the weekend.

I didn’t let the injury dampen my weekend and soldiered on. The station assignments were fantastic this year. Like last year I worked Turn 12 on Friday and Turn 7 on Saturday and Sunday. It was fantastic! Probably as good as it gets really.

Turn 12

Turn 7

Looking towards Turn 6, where we had the first red flag of the weekend with a high side bike on the opening laps of the first race.

One of my British marshal friends was surprised I’m actually working an event in my home state… voila! It’s true.

NJMP got a new toy to add to the fleet of their Subaru’s… this nice looking (and sounding) Audi S3 safety car.

If you’re a bike fan, there was a lot to look at this weekend. And every time I work a bike event I really am tempted to go out and buy a bike of my own. Of course the sport bike that I want would require me to lose my gut to at least look normal on it.

Not much was out yet when I arrived on Thursday afternoon.

And a lot of familiar bikes were on display, but I was a bit disappointed to find out there is no visual spotter guide to help marshals distinguish the bikes. Or to help the fans for that matter.

Arriving on Thursday my goal was to go to the training/refresh meeting, which was neat. Dave does a great job. I was happy to see Dave using a pic of me Blue flagging (an IMSA race at Mosport a few years back) in his training material. I was surprised that there was only a handful of us in attendance though.

As cold as it was overnight, during the day it was super comfortable and warm weather. So much so I went out for ice cream one night.

It was delicious.

Big thanks to Brittany at NJMP for making this event possible for me, and I’m very much looking forward to another weekend down there soon for the NASCAR K&N East series. Interestingly enough the MotoAmerica Championship of New Jersey was presented by K&N also… whose filters I use on my marshaling rig both oil and air.

It’s going to be awesome…

Post Card from Moto America Championship of New Jersey Round 9 at NJMP Thunderbolt Mega Photo Gallery

Greetings from a beautiful weekend in South Jersey volunteering for my only bike race of this season with MotoAmerica Championship Superbikes, Superstock and Supersport bikes supported by KTM RC Cup and Vintage Bikes.

Enjoy the over 100 pix from Race Day on Sunday… and stay tuned for more to come about this awesome event.

I got to work Turn 7 which is probably the best station at Thunderbolt and certainly for me, because during our long lunch hour I was able to just walk into the paddock area and check out all the bikes… spectator bikes, bikes for sale, racing bikes, etc.

The young kids riding… that is really inspiring!

notice the missing BMW engine behind the cowling…

These KTM spec series bikes are really neat!

Love seeing all these vintage bikes, many of them for sale!

And of course lots of new stuff for sale, Suzuki and others had a great test ride opportunity with customers going on a cruise in a convoy of new bikes around Millville, New Jersey

NJMP offered a good discounted lunch option for us, all for $5 bux

Philly Cheesesteak, fries, chips and drink.

By the time I finished my lunch, the grid walk was wrapping up… so I did some drive-by shooting of pix as the bikes were getting ready to grid up and race.

The kids riding area was super cool… I think a few racers actually joined them which looked pretty funny but must have been an amazing opportunity to inspire the young riders to pursue this hobby further.

Enjoy… more to come soon!