Unopened 1983 Fire Eater

A few weeks ago during the holiday break, I stopped at an estate sale to see what could be found. I’ve been to some strange places in the search for cars, but this place was among the weirdest. It was a hoarder’s delight – a compound of shacks strung together in a veritable maze full of foul-smelling junk. Books, tools, records and 8-track tapes, lots of Elvis and John Wayne memorabilia. Part of it had obviously been a house at one time, but I cannot imagine living there. Among all of this, I found a single Hot Wheels toy. This Fire Eater, still sealed in what was left of its filthy original package.

img_9439 img_9442

Had the package been more complete, I would have probably left it sealed. But the poor condition (and mostly the lingering smell) convinced me to open it up. The first-release Fire Eater from 1977 looks much the same as this, with the exception of redline tires. The back of this package was dated 1983.

img_9448 img_94491983 | 9640 | Fire Eater | red, black & yellow trim, blue hose bed, holes in base | MY | bs | mint – had been in unopened card

It’s pretty cool to have a car that’s in such shiny and clean condition, especially when I have another (that I used to think was in pretty good shape) to compare it to.

img_9447

Interestingly, the chrome plastic base does show some oxidation. This is also a good opportunity to show that the blackwalls Fire Eater has a base variation. Although both versions are made in Malaysia, it can be found either with holes in the base or without.

img_9452-53

Posted in Hot Wheels | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year’s Inventory

Someone asked me recently how many cars I had in my collection. The best guess I could come up with was “in the hundreds” but I wasn’t really sure. So I decided to spend part of New Year’s Day counting everything up. I keep updated lists, so it was mostly just a matter of counting and totaling the numbers. Or so I thought, until I realized how many items were not on my supposedly updated lists. After a few more days of inventorying, I came up with a total of 951 items.

I generally think of my collection as having three categories: Vintage, Novas and Impalas. But occasionally I can’t resist something that doesn’t really fit into any of these. I counted multi-car packs as single items and I did not include several buckets of cars that I have acquired over the years that I have deemed not worthy of my collection. These are the cars that my son and I use whenever we break out the Hot Wheels tracks.

img_9505

397 Vintage
In my collection, “vintage” is very loosely defined. These 395 items include my childhood collection and a bunch of almost entirely loose cars with a focus on blackwall-era Hot Wheels. The oldest items would be a few late-1950s Lesney-era Matchbox cars, and I cheat the “blackwall era” with a few cars into the early 1990s.

I have 45 cars that I’ve managed to hold onto from my childhood. They include 18 Matchbox, 9 Hot Wheels, 7 Tomica Pocket Cars, 6 Husky, 4 Playart and a single Majorette.

The remaining 350 Vintage cars break down as follows:

Hot Wheels – 219
Matchbox – 53
Corgi – 14
Zylmex – 11
Yatming – 9
Racing Champions – 8
Majorette – 7
Road Champs – 4
Ertl – 4
Tomica – 4
Siku – 2
Summer – 2
Barclay – 1
Husky – 1
Kidco – 1
Playart – 1
Pit Row – 1
Tin Toys – 1
Unknown – 9

img_7224

262 Impalas
When I first started picking up Impalas, I would take them out of the package and display them on a bookcase I had in my bachelor pad. Series like Jada’s Homie Rollerz and the Revell Lowrider Magazine cars encouraged me to start keeping them in the packages. Since Hot Wheels rolled out the ’59 Chevy Impala in 1997, there has been a steady stream of new Impala castings and variations, which puts the brand at the top of this list with 85 items.

Hot Wheels – 85
Johnny Lightning – 59
Revell – 22
Jada – 21
M2 Machines – 15
Greenlight – 14
Maisto – 11
Ertl – 6
Racing Champions – 6
Malibu International – 5
Motor Max – 4
Muscle Machines – 3
Auto World – 3
Disney – 3
Classic Metal Works – 1
Craft House – 1
Geospace – 1
Route 66 – 1
Unknown – 1

img_7229

188 Novas
The 2004 release of the Hot Wheels 1968 Nova was an exciting moment for me as a collector. Hot Wheels now has a variety of Nova castings going back to the first-generation body style, so the brand is at the top of my Nova list with 85 items.

Hot Wheels – 85
Johnny Lightning – 38
M2 Machines – 27
Maisto – 10
Muscle Machines – 9
Jada – 7
Ertl – 5
Racing Champions – 3
Playing Mantis – 2
GMP – 1
Universal Hobbies – 1

img_7226

104 Miscellaneous
The 90 items here include 10 Hot Wheels 30th Anniversary models from 1998, lots of Batmobiles, NASA-themed items including 3 Hot Wheels Action Packs, some 2005-2006 Hot Wheels Classics and a bunch of other odds and ends.

Hot Wheels – 78
Johnny Lightning – 5
Jada – 4
Matchbox – 4
Lledo – 2
Quartzo – 2
Revell – 2
Bauer – 1
Hormel Promo – 1
Maisto – 1
Upper Deck Collectibles – 1
Unknown – 2

My Collection by Brand
My collection is made up of at least 41 different brands. Being well-represented in all of my categories, the Hot Wheels brand dominates with 476 items. Johnny Lightning comes in second with 102, mostly due to the many Nova and Impala releases during the RC2 era. It’s interesting to note that Matchbox has never made a Nova and the only Impalas made in recent years are the eight-generation version which I have no interest in, yet the brand takes third place with 75 items in my vintage collection.

Hot Wheels – 476
Johnny Lightning – 102
Matchbox – 75
M2 Machines – 42
Jada – 31
Revell – 24
Maisto – 22
Quartzo – 2
Racing Champions – 18
Greenlight – 14
Corgi – 13
Tomica – 11
Zylmex – 11
Yatming – 9
Husky – 7
Majorette – 7
Ertl – 6
Malibu International – 5
Motor Max – 5
Playart – 5
Road Champs – 4
Disney – 3
Auto World – 3
Lledo – 2
Playing Mantis – 2
Siku – 2
Summer – 2
Barclay – 1
Bauer – 1
Classic Metal Works – 1
Craft House – 1
Geospace – 1
GMP – 1
Hormel Promo – 1
Kidco – 1
Pit Row – 1
Route 66 – 1
Tin Toys – 1
Upper Deck Collectibles – 1
Universal Hobbies – 1
Unknown – 12

Posted in Auto World, Bauer, Childhood Collection, Corgi, Ertl, Greenlight, Hot Wheels, Husky, Jada Toys, Johnny Lightning, Kidco, M2 Machines, Maisto, Majorette, Matchbox, Muscle Machines, Nylint, Playart, Playing Mantis, Racing Champions, Revell, Road Champs, Summer, Tomica, Yatming, Zee Toys | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

2015 and 2016 M2 Machines 1958 Chevrolet Impalas

I’ve recently acquired three more variations of the M2 Machines 1958 Chevrolet Impala. First, the Auto-Thentics R37 from 2015.

img_9298img_92992015 Auto-Thentics R37 | 1958 Chevrolet Impala 283 | metallic green

Next is the Auto-Drivers R36 from 2016.

img_9202img_92112016 Auto-Drivers R36 | 1958 Chevrolet Impala | yellow

And finally, the Auto-Drivers R37, also from 2016. The chase car for R37 is this same Impala but with gold wheels.

img_9201img_92122016 Auto-Drivers R37 | 1958 Chevrolet Impala | metallic purple with black top

Some of my other M2 Impalas can be seen herehere, here and here.

 

Posted in M2 Machines | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2008 Hot Wheels Collectors Convention Super Van

I’ve had a Hot Wheels Super Van since I was a kid. So when this nice 2008 Convention car showed up as the HWC Thursday Hot Deal back in October, I snatched one up. The Super Van was first released in 1975 but was retooled in 2003 and has also been called the ’70s Van. The Collectors Nationals was held in Chicago in 2008 and this convention car was limited to 10,000 pieces.

img_9199 img_9213L8695 | 2008 8th Annual Hot Wheels Collector’s Nationals Convention | Super Van | 3351/10,000 | white and black with yellow, orange and gray trim | RR5SP with whitelines

A few other Super Van variations in my collection include the 1977 Paramedic, 1979 California Cruisin’, the 2013 Old El Paso, and the 2013 Archie Comics.

Other HW Collectors Club cars I have include the 2006 Neo-Classics 1968 Nova and the 2014 Original 16 Ford J-Car.

Posted in Hot Wheels | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2000 HotWheels.com Gift Pack

I have my wife trained pretty well. She was helping a friend shop for a bed when they stopped at a consignment store. The store was stocked almost entirely with furniture, but they had a few bins of Hot Wheels they had acquired from a collector. My wife spied an Impala in this 5-pack from 2000 and picked it up for me.

img_919725371 | HotWheels.com Gift Pack | 2000 | ’65 Impala | Hot Wheels.com green/white | 3SP | with ’40’s Woodie, T-Bird Stocker, Classic Nomad, ’32 Ford

I like all of the other cars in the pack, so I decided to keep it intact. I already had the blister card version of the ’65 Impala, which is pretty striking in its metalflake green paint and gold chrome plastic base.

img_9196img_921425419 | 2000 | #197 Mattel Wheels | ’65 Impala Hot Wheels.com | metalflake green with white, black, red and yellow trim, gold chrome plastic base

You can see more of my Hot Wheels ’65 Impalas here, here, here and here.

Posted in Hot Wheels | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Majorette

Majorette cars were first produced in France in 1964 by the Rail-Route company, which began in 1961 as a manufacturer of model railways. By 1967 the company was known as Majorette and it quickly became France’s largest model car manufacturer by revenue. In 1980, Majorette acquired Solido, the famous manufacturer of collectible models, and Majorette USA was established in 1982. In 1987, production was moved to Thailand and financial troubles in the 1990s caused a series of takeovers and a retreat from the U.S. market. The Majorette brand survives today as part of the Simba-Dickie Toy Group, with production split between China and Thailand.

I only had one Majorette as a kid, the Dodge Camper. But the box of cars I got from RR contained several nice Majorettes, which, like my Dodge Camper, are all the French-made, metal-based models.

Of all the cars from the RR collection, this Citroen Dyane Raid is probably my favorite. I love all of the details and decoration on the car. I also like that it’s still sealed in its original package, though the card and blister are both creased and worn.

img_7955 img_7956Citroen Dyane Raid | white with groovy trim | Series 200 | metal base | made in France | pre 1978 blister card

This nice Citroen Ambulance still has intact plastic flags and the plastic opening rear door.

img_8154 img_8155 img_8156#206 Citroen DS 21 Ambulance | white with red and blue trim | Series 200 | metal base | made in France | 1974-1980

img_8149 img_8150 img_8151#218/210 Peugeot 205 GTI | red with black trim | Series 200 | metal base | made in France | 1985

This Lamborghini Countach from 1983 is still in its blister tray. When I realized the reusable package had been opened, I took the car out and re-photographed it.

img_7948 img_7949img_9418img_9419#237 Lamborghini Countach | black with red and orange trim | Series 200 | metal base | made in France | blister tray | 1983

img_8144 img_8145 img_8146#240 Simca 1308 | royal blue | Series 200 | metal base | made in France |  1977

img_8152 img_8153#264 Renault Alpine A 310 | white with “SOS” trim | Series 200 | metal base | made in France | 1979

Posted in Majorette | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 HW Flames and 2016 Muscle Mania ’63 Chevy II

A guy down the street from me owns a ’63 Chevy II and I always enjoy seeing and hearing it rumble down the street when he takes it for a spin. Fortunately, Hot Wheels decided to include the ’63 Chevy II in the HW Flames series. I’m not sure my neighbor – whose car is black –  would approve of this pink, yellow and orange paint scheme, but I think it looks pretty sweet. The Super Treasure Hunt version has 5-spoke mags, Real Rider tires and Spectraflame Magenta paint.

img_9194 img_9217DTX85 | 2017 HW Flames 7/10 | ’63 Chevy II | metalflake pink with yellow & orange flames | chrome MC5

I’ve also recently found the metalflake dark red variation of the 2016 Muscle Mania Chevy II, which first appeared in dark blue paint.

img_9195img_9216DHX39 | 2016 Muscle Mania 8/10 | ’63 Chevy II | metalflake dark red with white trim | 5SP

When we were visiting my wife’s family in Canada back in July, I picked up another blue one for the packaging variation. The front of the package has slight differences from the U.S. version and the back has to make room for four different languages. Also, you may notice my wife’s home town of Mississuga, Ontario appears in bold down in the fine print.

img_9181img_9190DHP13 | 2016 Muscle Mania 8/10 | ’63 Chevy II | dark blue with white trim | 5SP | Canadian packaging

This photo compares the U.S. package (top) with the Canadian version (bottom).

us-canada_63_chevy_ii

Posted in Hot Wheels | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

1979 The Incredible Hulk Scene Machines

We had a pretty wet summer, which put a bit of a damper on our garage-saling. One sunny Sunday after a particularly rainy couple of days, I was driving back into the neighborhood after running errands with my wife, son and mother-in-law. We saw a sign advertising a Sunday-only sale and decided to check it out. It was a huge sale, and the nice woman explained to us how she had been thwarted by the rainy weather of the previous few days. There was a table with a few Hot Wheels, and though most of them were uninteresting, there was one that caught my eye. Even my son recognized that it was a Scene Machine and both of us began whispering excitedly. The Incredible Hulk was one of the few 1979 Hot Wheels that I had yet to find at a reasonable price.

Meanwhile, my wife had found some books and my mother-in-law had picked out a bunch of clothes. I handed the car to my son, who set it on the table while the nice woman was totaling up our purchase. She glanced at him and said, “Oh, we’ll just throw that in.”

img_9374 img_93751979 | 2850 | The Incredible Hulk (Scene Machines) | white with green, red & black trim | HK | blackwalls

The Scene Machines have a lens in the back of the vehicle which allows you to hold it up to the light and peer inside. In this case, the Hulk seems to be causing some commotion in the back of the van. These scenes are a little tricky to photograph, but the following image gives you some idea of the effect.

img_9384-9385_hulk_scene

Other Scene Machines that I have in my collection include Spider-Man, Motocross Team, S.W.A.T. Van and Space Van.

Posted in Hot Wheels | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

M2 Machines Auto-Wheels 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS

I have quite a few of the M2 Machines 1967 Chevrolet Novas, but this is my first from the Auto-Wheels series. The Auto-Wheels cars are packaged with a little screwdriver and a few sets of replacement wheels. I like the particular graphics on this car because my old ’73 Nova had been outfitted with ET wheels.

img_9226img_92282016 M2 Machines Auto-Wheels R04 | 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS | yellow |  1:64

Instructions on the back of the package explain how to switch out the wheels.

img_9373

Posted in M2 Machines | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Corgi

The Corgi brand was created in 1956 by the Mettoy Company of Northhampton, UK, which had been making pressed steel toys since the 1930s. From the beginning, Corgi toys were different than their competition in that they had windows. Later innovations included spring suspension, opening hoods (bonnets) and trunks (boots), and jeweled headlights. After almost a 30-year run, the company went into liquidation and was reformed as Corgi Toys Limited in 1984. In 1989, the Corgi brand was sold to Mattel and in 1995 it was sold again in a management buyout. These days, the company is called Corgi International Limited and is owned by Hornby.

There were a few nice Corgis in the box of cars I got from RR and they all appear to date from before the Mattel era.

img_8140 img_81411970-1972 | Aston Martin DB6 | yellow | black plastic base | made in Great Britain

img_8137 img_8138img_8139Ford 1979 Mustang Cobra | white | black plastic base | made in Great Britain

I rarely come across Corgis in my car hunting, but interestingly, I now have three of the Super Heroes series, including the Joker, Supermobile and this sharp Shazam!

img_8142 img_81431979 | Shazam | yellow with Shazam stickers | metal base | made in Great Britain

img_8134 img_81351980 | Ford Thunderbird | cream | opening hood, chrome plastic base | made in Great Britain

img_8131 img_8132Corgi Juniors | Land Rover 109 wrecker truck | red with Wrecker Truck stickers | black plastic base | made in Great Britain

These two versions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are both missing their plastic wings and figures, but they provide an opportunity to show the difference in wheel variations. The first version has rubber tires which fit the model well.

img_9230 img_9231 img_92321970 | Chitty Chitty Bang Bang | Silver, red and black | missing wings and figures, metal base | rubber tires | made in Great Britain

This second version – a Corgi Junior – has Whiz Wheels, which were introduced in 1969 as a response to the popular and free-rolling Hot Wheels.

img_9234img_9235img_92331970 | Corgi Juniors | Chitty Chitty Bang Bang | Silver, red and black | missing wings and figures, metal base | Whiz Wheels | made in Great Britain

Here’s an old ad image of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in all its glory. Incidentally, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is currently in the running for ‘The Ultimate Corgi Top 10’.

corgi_chitty_chitty_bang_bang

img_8147 img_81481984 | Mercedes Benz 240D | red | black plastic base | made in Great Britain

Posted in Corgi | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments