1995 Hot Wheels Top Speed Series

I admit I was stumped when I found these two unusual Hot Wheels in the case of the Sad Dad. I did a fair amount of online research and came up empty. I couldn’t find them listed in any of the books in my reference library. At first, I thought these strange cars were some sort of Transformers knock-off. That odd slider on the base allows them to wiggle, but otherwise the all-plastic parts are firmly connected. I suspected a McDonald’s toy, but there is no telltale logo. About the only thing that I guessed correctly was that the hook on the bottom suggested some sort of a launcher was involved. When I finally gave up and posted a couple of photos on the Hot Wheels Newsletter Facebook page, I had my answer almost immediately.

When the Hot Wheels Top Speed line was introduced in 1995, the claim on the packaging was that they were “the most advanced vehicles in Hot Wheels History!” 8 unique castings could be purchased in packs of two, or were included in playsets. A “Catapault Launcher” and “Accelerator Tube” could be connected to regular orange track. The hook on the bottom of the cars was used with the launcher, while the slider on the base adjusted the chassis of the car to be stiff for drag racing or allowed a slight swivel for loops, curves and pipes. The Hot Hubs wheels on the Top Speed cars were new for 1995, but were also used on a separate Hot Hubs series

1995 Top Speed Series | Road Vac | purple tint translucent with yellow flames, chrome interior, orange base | MY | yellow and black HH

1995 Top Speed Series | Shock Rod | green tint translucent with silver, gold and blue trim, chrome interior, orange base | MY | pink and orange HH

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Johnny Lightning Zingers

I added several Johnny Lightning Zingers to my collection during the RC2-era. But I never thought much about where Zingers originated until I came across this ad in a 1970s comic book.

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According to a 2005 article in Hot Rod, Zingers originated in 1971 when MPC created a line of plastic model kits which featured vehicles with huge blown engines and enormously oversized rear wheels. The article suggests Muscle Machines diecast cars were inspired by Zingers, and that may be true. But by 2005, I suspect RC2 bought the rights to the Zingers name from MPC, since Johnny Lightning was already releasing Zingers in their Street Freaks line. (RC2 – now Round 2 -fully revived the MPC brand in 2008 and purchased MPC’s tooling in 2012.)

When I saw that Johnny Lightning was bringing back the Zingers last year, I spent months searching for the 1963 Nova. Finally, on a Thanksgiving trip to Shreveport, I found one in a Target store. It might have been left behind by other collectors because of the creased blister card, but that didn’t stop me from claiming it. In addition to my beautiful blue “Ice Age,” there is also an orange version called “Orange Rush”.

2016 Zingers! | 1963 Chevy Nova Ice Age | metallic blue with white trim | 1:64

The 2006 1959 Chevy Impala is the only RC2-era Zingers that I have still on the blister card.

2006 Street Freaks Zingers! | 1959 Chevy Impala #68 | blue/white top with card

The next three Zingers I have – three generations of Nova body styles – were all freed from their original packaging.

2005 Street Freaks Zingers! R20 | 1966 Chevy Nova | yellow with flames | 1:64

2005 Street Freaks Zingers! R16 | 1970 Chevy Nova | orange with flames | 1:64

2004 Street Freaks Zingers! R11 | 1963 Chevy Nova | green metallic with white trim | 1:64

And finally, this Johnny Lightning Collector Club Exclusive from 2006 isn’t in Zingers packaging, but it sure looks like a Zinger to me.

2006 Collector Club Exclusive | 1970 Chevy Nova | blue/white Yenko stripes | 1:64

 

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Jada 2017 Fast & Furious Dom’s Chevy Impala

My wife and son and I enjoy watching the Fast & Furious movies. If you like hot cars, beautiful people, exotic locations and lots of unbelievable action, The Fate of the Furious, the eighth installment in the franchise, will not disappoint you.

Dom’s Chevy Impala doesn’t have a huge role in the movie, but it shows up in the beautiful opening scene, cruising through the streets of Havana. I won’t give too much away, but I’m glad to report that the Impala escapes the fate of what had to have been hundreds of cars wrecked in the making of the film.

At 1:32, this ’61 Impala is about as large as I go, but the Impala isn’t found in the smaller scale (1:55) Jada F8 models. Of course the larger scale allows for opening doors and some nice detailing.

2017 Fast & Furious | Dom’s Chevy Impala | #24037 | red | 1:32

The back of the package showns the other Fate of the Furious cars available in this scale.

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The Case of the Sad Dad

Last summer, my wife and son and I stopped at a garage sale at the home of a 30-something couple. I saw this well-used 48-car case on a table of assorted goods. Expecting it to be empty, I picked it up to look it over and was surprised and excited by the heft of it. I flipped open the lid and a quick glance at the 2/3-full contents told me I had a good find, especially for the price on the sticker affixed to the lid.

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My son found a book he wanted and, as I usually do, I handed my purchase to my wife so she could pay for it. Now, my wife is a very committed haggler, but knowing what I had, I was a little surprised when she began to negotiate for a lower price.

“But they were my childhood cars,” protested the man, and with a glance at my son he added, “and we only have a girl.”

My heart broke for the man just then. I’m sure the man loves his daughter, but I could understand his disappointment at having a kid who doesn’t appreciate his childhood toys. So I knew it was up to me to make a good home for his car collection. My wife glanced at me and I gave here a little nod. She paid the man and we were on our way.

The cars in the case range from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s. Most are Hot Wheels but there is also a nice assortment of Racing Champions stock cars. A single Matchbox, a lone Pit Row and one nice old Yatming model make up the balance of the 32 cars. I’ll show the most of the Hot Wheels here and save the rest for later posts.

The Hot Wheels Speed Demons series was introduced in 1986 and brought us classic creature-based castings such as Fangster and Sharkruiser. The Sad Dad’s toys include the original Turboa from 1986 and a 1992 variation of Zombot.

1986 Speed Demons | 2061 | Turboa | yellow with green trim | MY | UH

1993 Speed Demons| 4346 | Zombot | blue chrome with pink chrome gun, red, blue & black trim | MY | UH

Another popular Hot Wheels series from the 1980s is the Crack-Ups. These cars have spring-loaded panels that switch from clean to damaged on impact. As the Sad Dad’s example shows, they were generally smacked around a lot, so these cars are hard to find in good shape. This is the 1986 Side Grinder.

1986 Crack-Ups | 2558 | Side Grinder | black with magenta, red & orange trim | HK | BW

In 1988, Hot Wheels brought us the Color Changers, and their sporty brothers the Color Racers. When run under hot water, the characteristically thick and glossy paint on this Lamborghini Countach changes from pink to off-white as it gets warmer.

1988 Color Changers | 2558 | Lamborghini Countach | pink with white & purple trim | MY | BW

You’ll notice several of the Sad Dad’s Hot Wheels have Ultra Hot wheels, which were first introduced in 1984 for the series of the same name and were used up until 1995. The rear wheels on Alien from 1990 are almost entirely shrouded inside its metalflake silver body.

1990 | 5026 | Alien | metalflake silver & red | MY | UH

The Hot Wheels Nissan Custom “Z”, with its opening doors and clear plastic headlights, debuted in 1990. Sad Dad’s collection includes the metallic dark red version from the first year and another light blue variation from 1997.

1990 | 7609 | Nissan Custom “Z” | metallic red with yellow trim | MY | UH

1997 | 18552 | Nissan Custom “Z” | light blue with purple, black & silver trim | CH | chrome lace

The Larry Wood designed Shadow Jet was first cast in 1988. Here are two identical metallic purple versions from 1990 and a green variation from 1992.

(2) 1991 | 9590 | Shadow Jet | metallic purple with green & yellow trim | MY | BW

1992 | 0477 | Shadow Jet | green with blue & yellow trim | MY | BW

This Lamborghini Diablo has very unusual blue-with-red-glitter paint.

1992 | 0460 | Lamborghini Diablo | glitter blue, dk blue wing | MY | UH

This is one of two wheel variations on the 1992 first casting of Flashfire – the other being gold Hot Ones.

1992 | 3156 | Flashfire | black with pink, yellow & green trim | MY | UH

My favorite car of Sad Dad’s collection, this coffin-shaped dragster is the 1994 first casting of Rigor Motor. When Hot Wheels released their 30th Anniversary collection in 1998, Rigor Motor was chosen as the model to represent 1994.

1994 | 4346 | Rigor Motor | burgundy with white HW logo | MY | BW

The original much-loved Hot Wheels Twin Mill was designed by Ira Gilford and was released in 1969 in all of your favorite Spectraflame colors. Twin Mill II was released in 1993 and, although this 1995 variation from the Dark Riders series does have nice metallic black paint, I’m not really sure why they felt the need to mess with a good thing. I’m not even going to mention Twin Mill III.

1995 Dark Rider Series | 13285 | Twin Mill II | metallic black with red HW logo | MY | black tint 7S

The GT Racer came out in 1989 and has seen many fun variations since then. This orange and black variation is from 1996.

1996 | 1789 | GT Racer | orange with blue and black trim | CH | chrome lace

Sad Dad had two Hot Wheels Dodge Viper RT/10s in his collection. First cast in 1993, both the yellow and green variations are from 1996.

1996 | 5205 | Dodge Viper RT/10 | yellow | MY | chrome 5sp

1996 | 5205 | Dodge Viper RT/10 | metal flake dark green | MY | gold lace

Finally, the collection includes a single McDonald’s promotional Hot Wheel from 1996, the Flames Series Funny Car.

1996 | McDonalds | Flames Series Funny Car | blue with flames | CH | black plastic

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2017 HWC Spoilers Heavy Chevy and Friends

My favorite childhood car is my Hot Wheels Club Kit Heavy Chevy. So when the Hot Wheels Collectors Club announced the release of the HWC Spoilers Heavy Chevy, they had my attention. Not being a Red Line Club member, I had to wait until the day after the release to order mine. Fortunately, they had not sold out – I got #1395 in a limited release of 5000. Packaged in a replica of the original redline-era blister card, this beauty comes with a collector’s button and decal sheet, and is protected in a plastic clamshell.

AB2020 | 2017 HWC Spoilers 1394/5000 I Heavy Chevy | spectraflame red with black & white trim, retro blister pack with button and sticker sheet | redlines | 1:64

The Hot Wheels Heavy Chevy was first released in 1970 in a variety of specraflame colors. It made an appearance in the 1974 Flying Colors series and a few years later in Super Chromes, then in 2002 it was re-tooled. I have two color variations from the 2007 Hot Wheels Classics series.

L0737 | 2007 Hot Wheels Classics Series 3 | Heavy Chevy 9/30 | Spectaflame aqua with black and silver trim| redline 5SP | 1:64
L0737 | 2007 Hot Wheels Classics Series 3 | Heavy Chevy 9/30 | Spectraflame red with black and white trim |redline 5SP | 1:64

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2016 Racing Champions Mint R2 1966 Nova and 1964 Impala

Much like the recent Auto World releases, Racing Champions are also upping the number of variations in each release. While their Mint Release 1 only had a version A and B, Release 2 can be found in 4 different variations. I happened to find both the 1966 Chevy Nova and the 1964 Chevy Impala from Version B.

img_9477 img_94792016 | Racing Champions Mint R2 | 1966 Chevy Nova (Version B) | willow green

img_9476img_94812016 | Racing Champions Mint R2 | 1964 Chevy Impala (Version B) | silver

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2016 Maisto Design Elite Transport 1959 Impala and International Durastar Flatbed

This is the second Maisto Design Elite Transport combo from 2016 that I’ve added to my collection, the other being the 1970 Nova with a 2004 Silverado SS. Interestingly, unlike the 19970 Nova which could also be found individually, the 1959 Impala was not included in the Maisto Design 1:64 Muscle series. These car haulers are always fun and I enjoy the paint job paired with those wide white-walls on this Impala.

img_9294img_9295img_9296img_92972016 Elite Transport | 1959 Chevrolet Impala / International Durastar Flatbed | green and silver

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HW Flames, Flames, Flames and More Flames

I have a new favorite Hot Wheels 5-pack. In fact, I’m pretty sure they had me in mind when they put an Impala and a Nova in the same pack. It sure doesn’t hurt that they included a Camaro, a Shelby Mustang and a 70’s Dodge van – all decked out flames. Yes, this 2017 HW Flames collection has even surpassed the cool factor of my previous favorite, the 2016 Muscle Mania 5-pack.

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The ’65 Chevy Impala goes all the way back to 1998 and its many variations include a previous flame-wearing Sunburnerz version from 2013.

img_9473DVF91 | 2017 HW Flames 5-Pack | ’65 Chevy Impala | metalflake gold with yellow flames  | gold 10SP

The ’69 Chevy Camaro Convertible was first released in 2006 and has since been produced in over 30 variations.

img_9472DVF91 | 2017 HW Flames 5-Pack | ’69 Chevy Camaro Convertible | metallic maroon with orange, yellow and white flames | OH5SP

This year, the ’66 Chevy Nova celebrates its tenth year as a Hot Wheels casting. One of my favorites is the HW Road Trippin’ release from 2014.

img_9471DVF91 | 2017 HW Flames 5-Pack | ’66 Chevy Nova | dark green with lime green flames  | PR5

This black ’67 Shelby GT500 is only the tenth appearance of this casting since its debut in 2010.

img_9469DVF91 | 2017 HW Flames 5-Pack | ’67 Shelby GT500 | black with red and yellow flames | red chrome 5SP

The Custom ’77 Dodge Van has a nice, large sunroof to illuminate the 6 large bucket seats in its interior.

img_9470DVF91 | 2017 HW Flames 5-Pack | Custom ’77 Dodge Van | metallic dark blue with red and yellow flames | yellow PR5

As if it this flaming 5-pack wasn’t a good enough find that day at Target, I also scored the HW Flames ’68 Chevy Nova – which happens to be my preferred alternate tool version.

img_9456img_9478DTX79 | 2017 HW Flames 1/10 | 1968 Chevy Nova | orange with black and silver trim | OH5 | Alternate tool (no hood scoop)

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The Spammobile

This is another one of those items I found at the consignment store that doesn’t really fit in my collection. But who could resist The Spammobile?

When I got it, it was in a little clear plastic baggie, so the only info I had to go on is what is stamped on the base. A Hormel promo, dated 2002, made in China. After asking around online, I was told this was originally sold on the Spam website. The Spam Shop does have a very interesting selection of items for sale, but I don’t currently see any diecast vehicles. The “Series #1” stamped on the bottom of this bus makes me wonder if there might be more out there.

It’s a model of decent quality (1:64ish scale) and, though the base is plastic, all of that metal makes it nice and heavy. Apparently this is based on a real vehicle and – aside from the wheels being yellow on the real thing – they seemed to have captured most of the details.

img_9454 img_9455img_94022002 The Spammobile | blue and yellow with Spam graphics | made in China

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Auto World Vintage Muscle R5 1966 Chevy Impala SS

It seems the folks over at Auto World have been busy. I was happy to have found both sets A and B of the Vintage Muscle Premium Series Release 5 1966 Chevy Impala SS, only to realize there are also sets C and D. I really like the willow green of set A.

img_9205 img_92082016 Vintage Muscle R5 Set A | 1966 Chevy Impala SS | willow green

Despite the fact that some sellers on eBay are trying to pass this off as a rare “chase car,” I believe this regal red version is the common color under set B.

img_9648 img_96492016 Vintage Muscle R5 Set B | 1966 Chevy Impala SS | regal red

I’ll be on the lookout for the ’66 Impalas from R5, sets C and D, which are mist blue Aztec bronze.

Also of interest to Impala lovers, the Auto World website is showing a 1970 Chevrolet Impala in the Premium 2017 Release 1. Set A is Mulsanna blue with a flat black roof and set B is Gobi beige with a flat black roof.

 

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