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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
UPDATE November 12:
Picked up a bunch more Matchbox cars including a few more Mazda CX5 on a card, and a Cadillac Escalade. Heard Dollar General had them on sale 2 for $1 but of course when I arrived on Sunday the sale was over. Still happy with the finds:
Especially happy to have found both of these Nissan Rally cars. More to come…
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.
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.
This pair travelled with me from Monterey, California where I scoured local supermarkets for all things Mazda during Miatas at Laguna Seca.
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.
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.