1982 Hot Wheels Top Eliminator

Ever since I bought a Hot Wheels Odd Rod that was missing its windshield, I’m a lot more careful about buying cars on eBay that are missing parts. Usually, with just a little bit of research, I can familiarize myself enough with a model to make sure it’s not missing anything. Or not.

I was happy to have landed this 1982 Hot Wheels Top Eliminator for a pretty good price. But it wasn’t until I had it in my hands that I realized it was missing the entire tan plastic interior and roll cage. In my defense, I am more familiar with Hot Wheels funny cars like the Army Funny Car or Vetty Funny, in which the engine, seat and roll cage are cast right into the metal base. Not so with Top Eliminator, which has only the engine cast into the base. In fact, in addition to the plastic seats, the model also has (or should have) a plastic insert at the front of the chassis which can be used to prop the body in its tilted up position.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this is the first Hot Wheels Top Eliminator I’ve added to my collection. The casting originated in 1970 as Snake – Don “Snake” Prudhomme’s Plymouth Barracuda funny car. It was also released as Snake II in 1971 (white enamel) and 1973 (yellow enamel). Reissued in 1974 as Top Eliminator, the model can be found in about 10 more variations, including dark enamel blue, gold chrome and this enamel red version from 1982.

1982 | 7630 | Top Eliminator | red with yellow, black, white Radical Racer 301 trim, missing tan plastic interior | MY | BW


2017 MAD Magazine ’64 Chevy Nova Delivery

Like many of you, I imagine, MAD Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman was one of the iconic figures from my childhood. Although, as familiar as I am with his goofy grin, I was not – until now – aware of his origins.

An advertisement for a stage play, The New Boy, which debuted on Broadway in 1894, features a character with the same, unmistakable features; the bad haircut, big ears, gap-toothed grin and crooked eyes. The New Boy even had a similar catch phrase, “What’s the good of anything? – Nothing!” In fact, the character was adopted by political cartoonists and product advertisements, appearing over the years in everything from a 1930 postcard for James Evans Auto Parts (with the slogan “Me Worry?”) to political ads opposing FDR’s reelection in 1940.

The character began appearing in MAD Magazine in 1954, eventually with the phrase “What? Me Worry?” When Al Feldstein became the editor in 1956, he commissioned Norman Mingo to create an illustration which established the look that has been used ever since. Early on, the character had various names such as Melvin Coznowski or Mel Haney. The magazine’s editors were fans of the Henry Morgan radio show, which featured an innocuous character named Newman (a reference to the film score composer of the ’40s and ’50s, Alfred Newman.) Eventually, the character became Alfred E. Neuman, with his signature catch phrase, “What – Me Worry?”

This MAD ’64 Nova Wagon came to me from my friend, Brad, in a trade for some additions to his collection of Jeeps and 4x4s. It completes my collection of the 2017 Pop Culture MAD series, which also includes the delightful Don Martin vehicles and the spectacular Spy vs. Spy vans.

DWH24 | 2017 Pop Culture MAD Magazine | ’64 Chevy Nova Delivery | yellow and white with Alfred E. Neuman trim | RRLW5

You can follow a link trail of my other ’64 Nova Deliveries by starting here.

And just for fun, here’s an assortment of my vintage MAD digest covers showing Alfred E. Neuman doing his thing.

1978 Tomica Cadillac Ambulance

This 1978 Tomica Cadillac Ambulance is the second of the two models I found at Wichita Vintage. It’s fairly play-worn, but I always pick up Tomicas the rare times I find them, as I have a nice bunch from my childhood, including another Cadilac. You can see the Cadillac Ambulance, along with all of the other Tomica offerings from that year, on the 1978 page of the Tomica History website.

Tomica | 1978 | F2 | Cadillac Ambulance | red with white top | 1/77

1969 Matchbox Kingsize Mercury Commuter Police Station Wagon

Sometimes it’s good to get off the beaten path. Or, at least, the path you’re used to following. A couple of weekends ago, inspired by a 50%-off sale that was advertised in the newspaper, we visited an Ace Hardware in a different neighborhood than our own. We filled a bag with lots of bargains, and, feeling good about that, we decided to visit the Super Del Centro for the first time, where my wife found a great deal on cilantro. Across the street from the grocery store, I noticed a place called Wichita Vintage which I had never seen before. Wandering in, we were greeted by the friendly owner, and we found a neat store filled mostly with beautiful antique furniture. I spotted this Matchbox Kingsize in a display case and asked the owner for a closer look. When I told him I would take it, he found another smaller model for me in a different case which I probably would have missed. Then he told me to send him a Facebook message and he would let me know if he comes across any other diecast cars in the future.

The Matchbox Kingsize Mercury Commuter Police Station Wagon came out in 1969 and was part of the short-lived Auto-Steer series, which included a Lamborghini Miura, a Ford Mustang Fastback and a Volkswagen 1500 Saloon, among others. The cars had a unique front suspension that caused the cars to steer to the left or right by pressing on that side of the car. The mechanism on this well-loved car seems to have a bit of a permanent right turn. The modal also has worn paint and stickers and is missing the two left-side tires, but is a fun find nonetheless.

Matchbox | 1969 Auto-Steer | Kingsize K-23 | Mercury Commuter Police Station Wagon | white with (two missing) black plastic tires

The photo below shows the unique, steerable suspension. This technology was done away with once Matchbox made the switch to Superfast wheels.

Click on these links to see some of my other Matchbox Kingsize models, including the Bertone Runabout, Javelin AMX, Range Rover and Ambulance.

1975 Matchbox Blaze Buster Fire Engine

This Matchbox Blaze Buster is the second of two models I found this summer at a neighborhood garage sale. First released in 1975, this fire truck with a raisable plastic ladder came out in about 5 variations, with differences in base, ladder, interior and window colors. This version with a yellow ladder and white interior was produced from 1978-81. It’s a little playworn and parts of the stickers are missing, but it makes a nice companion to the Matchbox Superfast Stretcha Fetcha Ambulance from my childhood.

Matchbox | 1975 | 22 | Blaze Buster Fire Engine | red with yellow ladder, white interior, charcoal base | Superfast wheels

1984 Lledo Wonder Bread Model T Ford Van

A few weeks ago, I came across several diecast collectibles at a garage sale in the neighborhood. Most were larger scale delivery van type vehicles, but I found two of a smaller scale that I liked. The elderly man at the pay table told me he had “more smaller scale models around somewhere” and, while his daughter tried to tell him that he had gotten rid of them already, he wandered off to the garage to look for them. A few minutes later, he came back empty handed. I left my phone number in case he came across them later, but unfortunately, I never heard from him.

However, the two models I landed are pretty nice (I’ll show the other one in a separate post). This 1984 Lledo Model T Ford Delivery with Wonder Bread promotional graphics is one of over 170 variations of this casting – advertising everything from Ovaltine to the Royal Air Force – cranked out by Lledo during its less than 20 year lifespan. Click here to see my Lledo City of Toronto Double-Decker Bus and to read more about the Lledo company.

Lledo | 1984 Days Gone 06B-WON | Model T Ford Van | white body, light blue roof, blue chassis, gold grille and windshield, with Wonder Bread trim | DG6-DG8 base, door lines | gold 12-spoke wheels with black tires | Made in England

Hot Wheels STAMPS coming from the United States Postal Service

I’m sure we can all debate about whether or not they chose the right models for these postage stamps … Either way this is pretty cool.


8/15/2018 — Wow! Ever hear the slogan “what will they think of next?” … Hot Wheels product is in full force for the 50th Anniversary and now, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is getting in on the fun. Announced today, USPS will offer 20 Hot Wheels stamps of 10 different Hot Wheels castings, later this year. Fans of Orange Track Diecast (OTD) will get a kick out of the fact that the 10 cars featured will be shown racing down that all-too-familiar orange track. Images were shot by photographer Len Rizzi. Project’s Art Director was William J. Gicker and Stamp Designer/Typographer was Greg Breeding.

No official word on when these will be available, but you can look out for a dedication “first-day-of-issue” ceremony to be held at a specific location which will also be announced. I will update this page when that information becomes available. Keep checking back!…

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