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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!

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.

 

Check out my Hot Wheels collection: click here

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

 

Check out my Hot Wheels collection: click here

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.

 

Check out my Hot Wheels collection: click here

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 Tice’s Corner Woodcliff Lake NJ November 2017

An impromptu Cars & Caffe event this Sunday at the end of November got my toddler nephew all excited about the prospect of seeing some colorful cars on display… He’s been asking about going to a car show since I brought him to the Garden State Plaza mega meet, and the best I could tell him was we’ll go next year. Luckily he didn’t have to wait that long! Also lucky for us Panera Bread was nice and warm and offered some hot food after we quickly froze our asses off checking out all the cars that showed up…

Love how the colors pop! in the gray background of North Jersey winter:

Not the easiest task taking pictures while carrying a kid in my arms… but I have to say it was a great deal of fun, and my nephew loved it!

I especially like the idea that he’s telling his little brother all about his cars and coffee experiences, recreating the scene with his Matchbox cars:

He brought a bag of these along to the show, it was hard to convince him to leave them in the car and look at the real ones on display lol!

HSR Classic 24 hour at Daytona in Pictures

For anyone that hasn’t considered coming out for an HSR event in your area… Do it! If you can come out for the Classic 24h at Daytona, definitely Do it!!!

Some of my favorites of the weekend:

BMW M1

Porsche 962 Tic Tac livery

Porsche 962 Leyton House livery

Oldsmobile Aurora IMSA GT

Jaguar XJR IMSA GTP and World Sportscar Championship Group C

Oreca Lista livery

Jaguar XJR

The ugliest car of the weekend… a some sort of train-face Lola

Chrysler Oreca

Porsche 962 Rothmans livery

Ford GT

The March that Adrien Newey tore up…

Sunoco Camaro my favorite livery

Porsche 962 Dyson Racing

Porsche 962 Hawaiian Tropic livery

What a fantastic entry list for a race weekend…

 

There’s Classic 12 hours of Sebring coming up around Thanksgiving!

Visit to Canepa Classic Cars & Motorsport Museum in Scotts Valley, California

What to do in Northern California between two fantastic events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca? Visit the Bruce Canepa Classic Cars & Motorsports Museum in Scotts Valley near Santa Cruz of course…

Who’s Bruce Canepa?

I did not know before this trip, even though I’ve been to this part of California many times… but when it comes to Motorsport legends I’m still an obvious newb… Apparently Bruce was a car designer and a professional race car driver. But to me he’s a hero because of an amazing place he’s got in Scotts Valley that I was able to visit and enjoy for over an hour… roaming around gawking, and taking lots of pictures to share here.

The dealership downstairs has some gems. The free museum upstairs is fantastic and I had the whole place to myself when I visited on a weekday in late morning. And the garage area had some unique cars being worked on as well, which you can watch from a bird’s eye view without interfering with the mechanics.

What a place! Go visit now… if you can. I wish I knew about it sooner.

(I learned about it during the Miata’s dinner when people mentioned Canepa hosts regular Cars & Coffee events in this region of Cali)

Level 1: The Classic Car Dealership

Wanna buy a Porsche Carrera GT Prototype? apparently you can…

Level 2: Canepa Motorsports Museum

And my favorite Racing Porsche’s: the 962

And the other Porsche… the baby blue Gulf-Porsche

A Porsche powered Pikes Peak racer

Shop View

And even on my way out of the museum I couldn’t help but enjoy the scenery and take some more pix:

What an amazing place!

Seriously, if you live in California or are visiting the area near Monterey or San Francisco, do stop by and visit Canepa!

Great place to visit is nearby Santa Cruz too…

This is the fifth or sixth Holden badged Commodore I’ve been seeing on the roads in the US.

Oh and while I’m on the subject of visiting California be sure to hang out at In n Out… get an animal style fry with your double-double, and I’m a big fan of the shakes too, especially when you mix flavors.

Caffeine & Carburetors in New Canaan, Connecticut Sept 2017

Greetings from Connecticut! This Sunday my buddy Bill and I convoyed together to New Canaan for one of the biggest Cars & Coffee events I’ve ever been to. I never liked the name: Caffeine & Carburetors but I understand the idea that everyone involved in organizing C&C events try to register a name that someone who’s never been to one could recognize but different enough that the original “cars & coffee” (I’m assuming the one in California or elsewhere on the West Coast where the idea started) don’t sue them for trademark infringement.

Anyway… I took well over 300 photos before my iPhone battery went dead… I’d like to share over 200 of them here. Instead of overwhelming the viewer with all the pix in one post I’m going to break them down a bit… I was considering doing it by car colors, or colorful cars and gray cars… or classics vs. modern. But instead I think it’d be smart to do it by origin or brand home country.

So the menu to come:

Some posts will be longer than others and even though I’m making this first, it’ll contain all the overflow images that didn’t fall into the above categories… so please bear with me.

I have to say I loved the show! I really did… it was massive. Some would say YUGE! It was well organized. Lots of volunteers and cops directing traffic around, which was great. I read about the organizers before coming and how they were debating whether or not to hold these C&C events in 2017… I’m glad they followed through. And I wanted to do my part by becoming a patron in the coffee shop that’s behind the whole idea… but I gotta say that the barista kid that filled my iced chai order messed it up. Not a big deal but… a few pumps of syrup on ice cubes is a freaking weird concoction, but it isn’t chai.

The happy mug shot…

My goal was to see a few cars I’ve seen in pictures on facebook at  previous events. Lucky for me I got to see all of them! The Spyker. The Pagani. The Giulia. The Elan. Le 2CV. The Miura. The Dino GT.  The Lancia’s and all those Alfa Romeo’s.

And here’s the overflow pix that don’t fit into my foreigh/european car lists above…

I really wanted to see this thing up close… and voila!

Funny how many cars wore dealer plates. Are they all for sale? I doubt it… but having access to a dealer plate means you can drive an unregistered and uninsured car to… well a car show like this! The other plates that stood out a lot were all those blue Montana plates.

Lots of bikes in attendance also!

American luxury… the original lux sports utility vehicle… soccer mom machine… road trip highway cruiser!

Back when Saleen Speedsters looked absolutely gorgeous!

Technically Renault owned, but not quite French… AMX!

Bill and I arrived the show fairly late, around 10am… mostly due to us leaving late from New Jersey but also because there was a fatal accident right before our exit on the Merritt Parkway which was a sad sight to see. Luckily though we got perfect parking spots right by the event as many of the early-birds started leaving. We saw a number of cars driving off as we arrived, but the cars we got to see were absolutely amazing!

Would love to come back for more in the future…

Great job guys!

 


Read more from today’s show here:

Grid Walk Post Card from Michelin GT Challenge Biscuitville Grand Prix IMSA at VIR

There was one car that caught my eye this race weekend at VIR: the burgundy red Acura NSX GT3 of Michael Shank Racing. I’m not a huge Honda fan or an NSX fan in general, I liked their patriotic Fourth of July liveries too, but this red wrap really stood out… and I found myself always checking up on that car… checking it out. I was lucky that since I got to work as pit fire marshal one of my responsibilities was the Acura pit box, and their hauler was parked directly across from their pit box in the paddock… so there were many glimpses of that car. But of course other cars shined bright, and while the Mazda Miata’s are showing their age, I was very happy to see them race and do fairly well over the weekend.

Lots of pix of course:

I love when they send out the ice cream lady up and down pit lane, all the crews from each pit box run to her to get cooled down lol

For a little while there exotica had taken over the GS class of IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge… now with both Mustang and Camaro in GT4 form however, they are back to dominating… beating Porsche’s, McLaren’s, et al.

My other favorite car of the weekend…. sadly it didn’t do so well either, just like the NSX

and a few uniform pix working with VIR Fire Rescue:

more to come soon…