Adam’s (Less Than Mint) 1979 Greased Gremlin

One of the things I enjoy about collecting blackwall-era Hot Wheels, is that – compared to redline-era cars – it is much easier to find mint or near-mint versions at a reasonable price. For example, when I went to eBay to find the 1979 Greased Gremlin, the car I scored was in such great shape that it looked like it was fresh out of the blister. The problem was, it was only after I had it in my hands that I was able to inspect it closer and discover that it was not actually the 1979 first-casting, but the Hong Kong variation from three years later. You can see that car here.

I went back to eBay, determined to find the first-release that I was looking for. Now, as you are probably aware, sellers don’t always provide the best photos of their items. But, when I saw the images of this car – including a shot of the underside – I knew I had to make it mine. Not only was it the Malaysia-made original release, but it already had my son’s name scrawled across the bottom.
So, even though this car is in considerably less-than-mint condition, it is – for now, at least – my best and only example of the 1979 Greased Gremlin.
IMG_0308 IMG_03091979 | 2502 | Greased Gremlin | red with blue, white, yellow trim | MY | blackwalls
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1979 Vetty Funny and Bywayman

From the same eBay seller, I scored two more Hot Wheels first-castings from 1979.

Drag racing legends Don “Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “Mongoose” McEwen took their rivalry to the orange track starting in 1970, when Hot Wheels released the first cars with their names on them. In 1971, the two got rail dragsters. In 1972, they were given rear engine wedge dragsters. By 1973, both were driving the Barracuda dragster casting for Hot Wheels. In 1978, the Hot Wheels Army Funny Car was modeled after Snake’s Plymouth Arrow dragster, and in 1979 Vetty Funny was the orange track version of Mongoose’s Corvette funny car.

Vetty Funny has seen a few other paint and tampo variations and was produced up until 1995. My grey English Leather version wears the common red-yellow-black tampo from 1979, however the white-yellow-black variation from the same year will fetch the big bucks.

IMG_0311 IMG_0313 IMG_03141979 | 2508 | Vetty Funny | gray with black, red and yellow trim | HK | blackwalls

Collecting variations of the Hot Wheels Bywayman could keep you busy for awhile. Based on a 1973 Chevy Silverado C/K 20 pickup, the Bywayman has seen at least 3 dozen variations and looks good in everything from construction tires to saw blades. The trick for me was finding a first-casting with its plastic running lights still intact.

IMG_0306 IMG_03071979 | 2509 | Bywayman | lt. blue with white, black and yellow trim, black bed | HK | blackwalls

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1982 Datsun 200SX

The Datsun 200SX is the U.S. production model of the sport coupe based on the Nissan S platform. They were produced from 1975 through 1988 and the Hot Wheels casting represents the second-generation model from 1982. In addition to this white version from its debut year, the Hot Wheels 200SX was also released in yellow, metallic gold (1983), maroon (1984), and a fairly valuable plum variation that was made in Mexico in 1985. All of these wear gold Hot Ones wheels and feature an opening hood. I found this one on eBay and was initially pretty happy with how clean the paint and tampo were. However, the seller’s photos didn’t show the fact that the car had apparently been stepped on, resulting in a slightly caved-in roofline.

IMG_0302 IMG_03031982 | 3255 | Datsun 200SX | white with red, orange and yellow tampo | MY | gho

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2014 ’64 Chevy Nova Station Wagon

It’s been awhile since I found anything off the pegs, so I was happy to break the dry spell with one of my favorite castings. The HW Workshop ’64 Nova Station Wagon looks pretty fine all flamed-out, although I still prefer the metallic aqua variation from last year’s debut. Also, I noticed that there is a Mainline Limited Edition version of this latest that has Real Rider Steelies. I’m not sure how impossible it will be to find, but I’ll be keeping my eyes open for that one.

IMG_3924 IMG_3925BFF13 | 2014 HW Workshop Muscle Mania | ’64 Chevy Nova Station Wagon | metalflake brown with yellow and gray flames | 5SP

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1977 Formula 5000 and 1983 Turbo Streak

Here are a couple for you open-wheel racing fans. I picked up both of these from the same seller on eBay. The Hot Wheels Formula 5000 was released in 1976 wearing red-line tires but otherwise looking much the same as this blackwall version from a year later.

IMG_0225 IMG_02261977 | 9119 | Formula 5000 | white with red & blue trim | HK | blackwalls

The Hot Wheels Turbo streak was first released in 1983. There are other variations from that year without the words “elf” and “Michelin” on the orange, red and black tampo, as well as two others from 1983 with either gray or white real riders. This popular Indy Car has seen quite a few other variations up until 1998.

IMG_0223 IMG_0224

1983 | 3914 | Turbo Streak | yellow w/orange, red, black, Michelin 7 elf trim | HK | blackwalls

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1977 and 1978 American Victory

American Victory is a Larry Wood designed Hot Wheel that made its debut in 1975. I picked up both of mine on eBay from separate sellers. This light blue 1977 version wears the same paint and tampo as the original – without the redlines, of course.

IMG_0304 IMG_0305  1977 | 7662 | American Victory | blue with red & white trim | Hong Kong | blackwalls

This magenta variation in my collection came out in 1978.

IMG_0569IMG_05701978 | 7662 | American Victory | magenta with orange & yellow trim | Hong Kong | blackwalls

Several other color variations were created in 1983 and 1984, including models made in France and Mexico.

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1979 Dumpin’ A and 1977 Spoiler Sport

The Dumpin’ A was designed for Hot Wheels by Larry Wood and released in 1979. As I close in on a complete collection of first castings from that year, I found my version of the hot rod dump truck on eBay. It features a functioning plastic tipper and later releases are orange or gray. Dumpin’ A was retooled in 2012 for the Hot Ones series.

IMG_0233 IMG_02341979 | 2507 | Dumpin’ A | yellow with orange plastic dumper, brown fenders | Hong Kong | blackwalls

As I often do to get more value out of my shipping dollar on eBay, I picked up a second car from the same seller. This Hot Wheels Spoiler Sport from 1977 – also a first casting - replaces an identical version I had that was in really poor shape. In 1979, the Spoiler Sport model was used for the Incredible Hulk and was also part of the Golden Machines 6-Pack.

IMG_0229 IMG_02301977 | 9641 | Spoiler Sport | green with black, red, yellow trim, two small rear windows | Hong Kong | blackwalls

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Tomica 1976 Winnebago Motorhome and 1978 Oldsmobile Tornado XSR


Today I came across a garage sale that was held by a Hot Wheels collector. He had a nice bunch of Treasure Hunts and some Hot Wheels Classics still in their blister cards. But I was mostly interested in the box of mixed loose cars from the 1970s. I passed on a few interesting Matchbox and Hot Wheels with parts missing. I don’t see a lot of old Tomica cars around, so I picked up these two. I liked these when I was a kid – and still have all of mine from those days – because of their realistic detail. The Winnebago Motorhome from 1976 is faithfully rendered in 1/97th scale.

IMG_3535 IMG_35361976 | F1 | Winnebago Motorhome | white | 1/97

Like many of the Tomica Pocket Cars, this Oldsmobile Tornado XSR has opening doors

IMG_3537 IMG_35381978 | F54 | Oldsmobile Tornado XSR | pearl white | 1/78

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2013 M2 Machines 1958 Chevrolet Impala

Here’s another nice variation of the 1958 Chevrolet Impala casting by M2 Machines, from release 23 of their Auto-Drivers series. I noticed – on the recently revamped M2 Machines website – that the Chase Car for this release is also an 1958 Impala. So, I’ll be on the lookout for that one to go with the others already in my collection.

IMG_3436 IMG_34392013 Auto-Drivers R23 | 1958 Chevrolet Impala | white

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Lesney Matchbox 1968 GMC Tipper Truck

This was my weekend garage sale find. We went to a big church sale and I found this on a table with a bunch of unrelated items – the only die cast toy I could see in the entire room. Matchbox first made the GMC Tipper Truck in 1968. There is also a later version with Superfast wheels that is worth quite a bit more than this black-plastic-wheel model, but this one fits nicely with some of my other old Lesney Matchbox cars, especially my GMC Refrigerator Truck. Notice there is a little strip of red and white striped paper that is taped to the inside of the tipper. I don’t know the story behind this, but I think I’ll keep it on there. This little truck has a couple of nice play features: Not only is the tipper fully-functional, but the cab also tips forward to reveal the engine.

IMG_3456 IMG_3457 IMG_34591968 | 26 | GMC Tipper Truck | red with metallic gray dumper | black plastic wheels

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