Two Weeks Left to Nominate

What do you love about model cars?
Whether it’s great collectors you know, a model that you just can’t look away from, or a brand you know has cranked out a showstopper this year, the Model Car Hall of Fame would like to hear from you. Time is running out to make your nomination and show others what’s made the hobby enjoyable for you.

Nominating is super easy:
Visit the site:
Click the drop-down menu under “Submit a Nomination”
Choose the category you’re nominating for
Fill out the information after the form loads, and submit


1984 Hot Wheels Flame Runner

The Hot Wheels Flame Runner began its life as the futuristic Police Car, Science Friction, in 1978. For Flame Runner in 1984, the casting was lightly modified to remove the cherry on top and the plastic accessories were molded differently. The model then became Back Burner in 1986 and changed again to Lightning Storm in 1993.

My Malaysian-made metallic gold version was the third wheel in my recent eBay Thunderstreak purchase. The gold 1984 model was also made in Hong Kong, and an unpainted version was released in 1985 in the Ultra Hots Stamper 3-pack.

Hot Wheels | 1984 | 7293 | Flame Runner | metalflake gold with white, red and dark orange trim | MY | uh

1989 and 1994 Hot Wheels Thunderstreak

Since I picked up the Malibu Gran Prix on eBay recently, I’ve been finding open-wheel race cars left and right. These two blackwall Hot Wheels Thunderstreak variations are from a different lot of three cars that I nabbed on eBay.

This casting began as Formula Fever in 1983, then was renamed Thunderstreak for the 1985 Real Riders series. The original tool had a fairly small wing which was part of the car’s metal base. This blue and yellow Kraco version from 1989 could be found both with and without STP on the sides. Though the metal base is pretty tarnished, this model is in otherwise fairly good shape.

Hot Wheels | 1989 | 3915 | Thunderstreak | blue and yellow with Kraco blue, yellow, white and red trim, “STP” | MY | BW

In 1992, Thunderstreak was retooled for the Pro Circuit series, now sporting a larger tail wing which is attached to the upper body of the car rather than the base. The Aquafresh promo from 1994 could be found with either “WaterPik” or “Aquafresh” on the tail.

Hot Wheels | 1994 | 9545 | Thunderstreak | turquoise with red, white and blue Aquafresh trim, “Aquafresh” on tail wing | MY | BW

1982 Hot Wheels Malibu Gran Prix

This Hot Wheels casting suffers from an identity crisis. The El Ray Special was first released in the 1974 Flying Colors series, and in a short run of about a year and a half, it was seen in 4 different enamel paint colors. By mid- to late-1975, the nose of the car was retooled and Formula P.A.C.K. began to take the El Ray Special’s place in the Streak Machines 6-Pack. Formula Pack then went on to be a part of the Flying Colors series from 1976 through 1978. In 1982, the casting was reissued as Malibu Gran Prix, made in both Hong Kong and Malaysia. In 1984 it wore Real Riders and in 1985 it was a Kellogg’s Cereal promotion, but a yellow version could also be found in ’84-’85 that was called Lightning Gold.

Are you still with me? It’s a little worn, but I love the paint and tampo combination on this eBay find, the Hong Kong made Malibu Gran Prix from 1982. This is the first version of this multiple-personality casting that I’ve added to my collection.

1982 Hot Wheels | 9037 | Malibu Gran Prix | black with red, yellow and blue trim | HK | BW

The Family Cars

My parents were record keepers. Especially my Dad, who worked for 30 years as an accountant for the State of North Dakota. Every time he filled the car with gas, he would write down the price per gallon, how many gallons purchased and the mileage on the car. In his retirement years, he kept a daily log comparing the temperatures in Bismarck with those in Phoenix, Arizona, where my parents had a winter home. I’ve always thought it was a little much, but I recently came across something that made me glad they kept track of things.

In a box of things I acquired after Dad died in 2008, I found a nondescript black record book. Though I had looked through these things before, the book somehow escaped my notice. With the heading “Family Diary” at the top of the first page, the book contains lists of important dates – birthdays, weddings and deaths – as well as notes about where and when family vacations and weekend road trips were taken. One page details hospital visits. There’s even a list of when every kid in the family got eyeglasses!

But the page that I’d like to highlight here is the page titled “Cars”, which is a list of every car bought, sold or traded by my parents going all the way back to 1948.

I thought it would be fun to try to find photos of as many of these cars as I could, because for me, the inspiration for collecting toy cars goes back to the real cars that I was around when I was young.

I am the youngest of 10 children and my dad loved to travel, so many of the vehicles my parents chose were big enough to haul all of us kids around while pulling a big trailer for us to camp in.

My brothers, Myron (left), and Ramon (right), with my dad, Donald, in front of the 1950 Plymouth Suburban.

Brothers Ramon, Myron and Joel next to the 1960 Ford Falcon station wagon.

My siblings, Brenda, John, Myron, Tim, Joel, Patty and Carla in front of the 1965 International Travelall.

Dad saved the brochure for his Travelall.

The Travelall brochure includes hand-written notes from the salesman.

I was born in 1966. I have a very early memory of standing up between my dad and my mom on the front seat of our big Pontiac station wagon as we cruised down the highway on a road trip somewhere. If I could have any of these cars now, I would choose the Catalina wagon.

The 1965 Pontiac Catalina wagon with the 1971 Chevy Cheyenne Super pick-up, August, 1972, at Lake Tschida, N.D. The pick-up was new and didn’t yet have the camper shell.

This is the camping rig that took me all around mostly the western U.S. when I was young. Myself, Tim, John, Brenda at Sibley Park, North Dakota, in 1974.

Brenda, me, Dad, John and Tim, camping in Hastings, Nebraska, City Park in 1978. A good shot of the Chevy pick-up with the camper shell.

Tim, our niece, Kelly, myself and the N.S.U. Prinz 4 in front of our garage. Dad would park the Prinz sideways at the very back, turning it into a three-car garage!

Dad also saved a brochure for the N.S.U. Prinz.

The 1974 Chevy Vega wagon. Yes, it was white with fake woodgrain panels!

The red 1974 AMC Hornet, about 1978.

1983(?) Chevy Cavalier wagon. Much to my surprise, Dad let me borrow this car to drive myself and a friend and our dates to Senior Prom.

Dad standing by the motorhome somewhere along the highway, about 1984.

The 1985 Chevy Astro Van parked along side my parent’s winter home in Tempe, Arizona. 

1992 Hot Wheels Recycling Truck

This orange Hot Wheels Recycling Truck, which I landed recently on eBay, is from 1992, the casting’s first year. Of the dozen or so variations up until 2001, this is the only one that wore blackwalls, although it could also be found in 1992 with 7-spoke wheels. The Tomart’s book also lists three variations in the plastic container: large hole, small hole and no hole. With no other model to compare to, I’m assuming my version has the large hole.

1992 Hot Wheels | 2073 | Recycling Truck | orange with pink, blue and yellow trim, hole in container | MY | BW

Though I like my blackwall Recycling Truck, I couldn’t help but notice this casting’s version in the 2001 Final Run Series, which is a striking white with red, black and orange decoration, with a gold chrome base and Real Riders. Who knew a trash truck could look so good?

1989 Hot Wheels Park n’ Plates Porsche 959

The Hot Wheels Porsche 959 was first released in 1988 and has about 40 variations up until 2015. This white model with Ultra Hot wheels is from the Park N’ Plates series of 1989. Interestingly, there are 7 different versions of the Park ‘N Plates release, all made in Malaysia, either with blackwalls or Ultra Hots and varying combinations of blue or clear glass and blue, black or tan interior. My recent eBay find has some wear to the paint and tampo but for some reason the chrome is almost completely worn off of the wheels.

1989 Hot Wheels Park ‘n Plates | 2038 | Porsche 959 | white with blue and red trim, blue interior, blue tinted windows | MY | UH

I scanned this image of a Park ‘N Plates package from my copy of the Tomart’s Price Guide to Hot Wheels. The series featured interlocking plastic storage containers with snap on license plates. The ’89 series made use of 11 different castings, including the ’57 Chevy and Nissan 300ZX, some with different variations of each. The Park ‘N Plates series continued in 1990 and 1991, and made a return for 1998, 2003 and 2004.