Hot Wheels 1998 Jiffy Lube ’65 Impala

This is another one of those cars I’ve had on my want list for awhile. About the same time I was on eBay to buy my Marcus Forklift, I decided to grab a Hot Wheels Jiffy Lube Special Edition ’65 Impala as well. It looks like there are at least 10 different Hot Wheels castings that were given the Jiffy Lube Special Edition treatment between 1998 and 2001. The Jiffy Lube ’65 Impala came out the first year of the casting, in 1998. Though the Jiffy Lube graphics are not my favorite, it has nice pearl white paint and wears a sharp set of Real Rider whitewalls.

23398 | 1998 | Jiffy Lube Special Edition | ’65 Impala | white with red and blue Jiffy Jube graphics | RRww

Of the 35 or so variations of the Hot Wheels ’65 Impala, I have many of them, including the gold beauty that was included in the 2017 HW Flames 5-pack.


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Hot Wheels 2000 Virtual Collection CAT Forklift

My name is Marc, but my wife and other friends sometimes call me Marcus. So I figured this might be as close as I will ever come to having a Hot Wheels car named after me.

I’ve come across the Hot Wheels Virtual Collection Marcus Construction CAT Forklift twice before, and each time it was missing parts. After finding the most recent one in the 3-dollar box, I decided it was time to go after a complete one on eBay. This card is in pretty good shape and the car inside is obviously mint, but unfortunately the yellowed blister is more distracting in real life than it is in photos.

50652 | 2000 Virtual Collection | CAT Forklift | orange with black plastic cage, blue white and black Marcus Construction | 5SP

In 2000, the Virtual Collection was billed as “The future of Hot Wheels collecting.” There were 35 different castings in the collection, ranging from the Speed-A-Saurus to the 1936 Cord to the Blimp. By finding the secret code inside the package and going to, the car owner could download a 3-D screensaver of their model. Unfortunately for me, I’m not running Windows 95.

The CAT Forklift goes all the way back to the 1980 Hot Wheels Workhorses series. About nine different variations have been made up until 2001. I don’t have any of the other CAT versions, but I do have a couple of nice Matchbox forklifts, one from my childhood and another that I found at the Village Flea Market.

As for Marcus Construction, there is a company by that name in Wilmar, Minnesota, that has been around since 1956. Their history page, however, does not mention that they’ve had a Hot Wheels model made in their honor.

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3-Dollar Box

On a warm September day, I was cruising the neighborhood on my bike when I came across a garage sale. I started looking through a box of cars and right away found some interesting items. Rather than stand in the hot sun and pick through them all, I asked how much for the whole box. $3 was a good price, so I took them home and sorted them out in the comfort of my cool house. (My son was quick to point out that the cars were in a diaper box – something I had neglected to notice in the excitement of the moment.)

I picked out a few keepers and donated the rest to the neighborhood kindergarten for the Teacher’s Treasures box. Word is that the kids went a little crazy over all of the cars. Here are my keepers:

Hot Wheels

The Hot Wheels army half-track first appeared as Gun Bucket in the 1976 Flying Colors series. This black blackwall version is from the 1985 Action Command release as Tank Gunner. The guns are stressed but still intact, and the model is in otherwise good shape.

1985 | 9347 | Action Command | Tank Gunner | olive with brown, green and tan camouflage | MY | black BW | $8

The Hot Wheels Crack-Ups, which debuted in 1985, were a series that had moving parts which, on impact, would change from clean to damaged. Bangster is from 1986 and shows the heavy playwear typical of cars from this series.

1986 | 7582 | Crack-Ups | Bangster | lime green with orange, red and yellow graphics | MY | BW

The success of the Crack-Ups inspired Flip Outs in 1986. These cars were fitted with a mechanism on the base that would cause the car to flip over on impact. Some had a side-hit flipper and others, like this Nissan 2000SX called Flippin’ Frenzy, had a rear-hit flipper, pictured below.

1986 | Flip Outs | Flippin’ Frenzy | yellow with purple, red and white graphics | HK | BW

The Hot Wheels ’65 Mustang Convertible with an opening hood first appeared in 1984. This flourescent-colored variation from 1990 – missing the windshield – has been shipped to my friend, Hannah, who collects the Ford ponies.

1990 | 4980 | Freeway Frenzy Set | ’65 Mustang Convertible | fluorescent orange with blue and white wave graphics, pink interior | MY | blue hub TW | $10

The Hot Wheels Split Window ’63 Corvette was a Hi-Rakers model from its first release in 1980 until 1984. It was retooled in 1987 to give it a standard base, and again in 1995. There are almost as many name changes as there are paint/wheel variations. This black, purple and yellow version is a 1991 McDonald’s promo with a plastic base.

1991 | McDonald’s promo | Split Window ’63 | black with purple and yellow graphics, gray plastic base | MY | bw | $4

The Hot Wheels ’82 Supra first came out in 1983 and has only five variations. This dark red model with blackwalls from 1993 is from a Sto ‘n Go playset.

1996 | 3925 | Sto ‘n Go set | ’82 Supra | dark red | China | bw | $5

I’m stretching my “vintage” collection well into the 90’s with variations of blackwall-era cars already in my collection. The Hot Wheels Bronco 4-Wheeler is a classic originally released in 1981. This red version with striking black and white graphics is from 1998.

1998 | Bronco 4-Wheeler | red with black and white Alaska Trek graphics, white plastic shell, black plastic motorcycle | Thailand | ctd | $2

Aeroflash goes all the way back to 1975, when it was released as Large Charge. It also appeared in 1985 as Silver Bullet, which is the name cast into the metal base of this green, black and red version from 1998.

1998 | 1781 | Aeroflash | green with black and red 3 graphics | MY | 3sp


This well-loved, metallic red sedan is the first release of the Matchbox Jaguar XJ-6 which appeared from 1987 through 1989. It’s a fairly heavy car with nice opening doors.

1987 | #41 | Jaguar XJ6 | metallic red, opening doors | 8-dot rims | made in Macau | $1

The Matchbox Ford Escort Cabriolet is a fun model that first came along in 1985. This particular version is from the Laser Wheels series of the late 80s.

1989 | Ford Escort Cabriolet | metallic blue with white stripes and red 3 | laser wheels | made in Macau | $4

There are over 150 variations of the Matchbox 1921 Ford Model T Van. Unfortunately, this spooky model from the 2005 Haunted Castle 5-pack is missing a front wheel.

2005 | Haunted Castle 5-pack | 1921 Ford Model T Van | dark blue with black roof, WOOA vampire graphics | black wood 12-spoke | made in China



This 1:43 scale Yatming Chevrolet Pick-up features a pull-back motor and opening doors. I shipped this one off to my friend Brad, who collects Jeeps, pick-ups and off-road vehicles.

No. 8317 Chevrolet Pick-up | red with gold, white and black “Chevy Sports Off-Roader” graphics, opening doors, pull-back motor | 1:43 | Made in Thailand


Finally, I’ve always loved the WWII-era F4U Corsair, so I kept this 1:130 scale fighter, which was made by Zylmex and sold under the Runway24 brand.

Zylmex | Runway24 | RW150 USMC F4U Corsair USN | 1:130

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Playart Kubelwagen

This nice, late 70s Playart Kubelwagen from my childhood was in the box of military toys that included my M*A*S*H playsets. At one time I had a fairly large WWII diorama in my bedroom and I’m pretty sure this Kubelwagen was part of it. When I was a kid, Playart cars were sold under the Peelers brand at Woolworth, which is where I would have bought this and the other Playart models I still have.

Playart 7850 Kubelwagen | army green | 5-spoke wheel | Made in Hong Kong

The Playart toy company, owned by Duncan Tong, produced diecast and plastic cars and trucks in Hong Kong from 1965 to 1983. In addition to the Woolworth Peelers, Playart cars were also sold under a variety of other brands including Road Mates (sold at Sears), Freewheelers (sold at McCrory), Charmerz Super Singles and Fastwheel. While the cars were fairly well-made, the castings were often based on those of other toymakers such as Tomica and Corgi.

The real-life Volkswagen Kubelwagen was designed in 1938 at the request of the German army by none other than Ferdinand Porsche. The lightweight, two-wheel drive, rear-engine vehicle performed admirably in tough conditions. It had a flat, smooth underside which allowed the oversized wheels and tires to propel it over sand, snow or mud rather well.


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2017 Hot Wheels Target Red ’68 Chevy Nova

When I saw a preview of the Target exclusive Red Edition series awhile back, I thought it was a genius idea. The series includes castings like the much-loved ’55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser, the ’64 Lincoln Continental, and the ’77 Pontiac Firebird, all decked-out in mostly red paint jobs. The series must be very popular with hunters, because I have rarely found them in the stores.

Fortunately, though, I did find my ’68 Chevy Nova. The tampo on this Red Edition is a variation of the HW Flames ’68 Nova from earlier this year. As much as I like that one, this red-flames-on-white model is even sharper – especially with the black chrome, red-ringed MC5s.

FBJ14 | 2017 Target Red Edition 8/12 | ’68 Chevy Nova | white with red trim | black chrome red ring MC5 | Alternate tool (no hood scoop)

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2017 M2 Machines Weiand 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS

The M2 Machines 2017 Auto-Drivers Release 43 includes a nice selection of models all decked-out in your favorite automotive performance brand liveries. It includes a Holley 1950 Studebaker 2R Truck and a 1970 Dodge Super Bee bearing the Hooker Headers logo, among others. I found my Weiand 1967 Chevy Nova SS at a Walmart.

2017 M2 Machines Auto-Drivers R43 | 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS | gloss black with yellow Weiand graphics | 1:64

The Weiand story began in the 1930s when Phil Weiand opened a performance parts warehouse, eventually producing his own product – the first aluminum intake manifold – in 1937. For eight decades, Weiand has produced a variety of manifolds, aluminum cylinder heads, water pumps and superchargers. The company was acquired in the late 1990s by Holley but still produces its own products under the Weiand name.

You can see a few more of my M2 Machines 1967 Chevy Novas here.

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Shinsei Gulf-Mirage

Shinsei is somewhat of a mystery to me, as I’ll explain below (at some length). This Gulf-Mirage is the first Shinsei that I’ve added to my collection. I found it at an estate sale along with a Matchbox Speed Kings Fire Control Range Rover. Though this 1:39 scale race car has a worn-out pull-pack motor, some playwear, and is missing the roll cage, I still consider it a nice find. It’s based on the Mirage GR7 race car which was built by J.W. Automotive Engineering in England in 1974.

Shinsei | Mini Power | #402 Gulf-Mirage | metallic grey with yellow wing, racing stickers, pull-back motor | made in Japan | 1:39 refers to Shinsei as a Japanese company known for accurately detailed models. It refers to the company in the past tense and says that the models are hard to find.

A page on describes Shinsei as a Japanese company that dates back to the 1960s. Their products were distributed in the U.S. by Cox Hobbies in California.

Ebay is populated with Shinsei models. Some of these carry the Cox logo, while others show a dolphin logo and are in packages that read “Manufactured by Shinsei Kogyo Co. LTD, Tokyo, Japan”. An internet search for Shinsei Kogyo brings up a website for a Japanese company that makes various kinds of hardware.

There is also a website for a Shinsei Industries branded with the same dolphin logo stamped into the bottom of my Mirage. This company, which was founded in 1985, makes toys – including pull-back toys – but their manufacturing and distribution operations seem to be entirely in India. The most recent date I can find on the website is 2011.

So my assumption is that perhaps the original Japanese company had both an industrial division and a toy division. They decided at some point to focus on industrial steel products and perhaps sold the toy rights to the company in India. Whether or not the Indian company is still doing business is another mystery altogether.

I finally messaged my old Japanese college friend, Masa, to ask him if he could tell me more about Shinsei.

I just checked some Japanese info through internet.

SHINSEI KOGYO Corporation was Japanese company. It was established in 1949 as a toy manufacturer. I think this was a start of SHINSEI brand. SHINSEI became a business partner of BANDAI in 1987. Soon after in 1990, SHINSEI merged with a toy maker YUTAKA. In fact, SINSEI brand was swallowed by YUTAKA. Now the capitals are owned by FRECKS.

SINSEI brand was formally popular (for toy collectors) as toy cars and construction vehicle models. Supercar series were produced (I guess during 70’s-80s). Especially construction vehicle series were notable. After consolidation, the company decreased making car toys in some point because it didn’t pay off, then, shifted to kids’ games, etc. SINSEI brand toy vehicles are not under production now.

When I suggested to Masa my theory that the toy rights were bought by the Indian company, he replied:

Wow!! amazing. OK, that’s why SINSEI car toy products are still in the market even after 2000. I could not find any information that SHINSEI brand was sold to Indian company. This is something very interesting.

I then told Masa what I learned about how Shinsei’s beautifully detailed models of American trucks – distributed in the states through Cox in California – were prized by U.S. collectors.

Sugoi (“awesome” in Japanese)!! I heard that Sinsei used to make only export models (especially for US). I am happy to know SINSEI models have been surviving even after original company disappeared. Good news.

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Estate Sale Matchbox Speed Kings Range Rover

I found this nice Matchbox King Size, along with another larger (than 1:64) scale model, at an estate sale back in July. They were marked $4 each, but it was half-price day, so I got both for $4.

Matchbox King Size models (in the 1:43 scale range) were introduced in 1960 and most featured moving parts or opening doors. In 1971, the King Size range was separated into Super Kings and Speed Kings. This Speed Kings Fire Control Range Rover is from 1978 and features lots of nice details, off-road wheels and an opening tailgate. It was originally sold in a box that would have included two firefighters, a ladder and a section of hose that could be attached to the vehicle at the front or the back.

Matchbox | 1978 | Speed Kings K-64 | Fire Control Range Rover | red with yellow and red Fire Control trim | Off-road wheels

I also have the Speed Kings Bertone Runabout and the Javelin AMX.


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2016 Johnny Lightning Muscle Cars USA 1967 Nova and 1968 Impala

Back in July, I showed a ’68 Impala from the Johnny Lightning 2017 Musclecars U.S.A. series. Just a few days later, I found these 2016 Musclecars U.S.A. models at Walmart. I find it interesting that in 2016 the series included a collector’s card and came sealed in a plastic clamshell, while the 2017 series uses a simpler blister card. Could this be a cost-cutting measure? Is our favorite on-again, off-again brand struggling once again?

I have to say, I’m just speculating. During the RC2 era, packaging seemed to vary depending on the series. And personally, I prefer the simpler blister cards to these plastic encasements – even though, as a collector, I should probably prefer them for the protection they offer.

Another interesting note is that these two packages have a red sticker over the top of the blue bug that says “Exclusively at Walmart”. Apparently, whatever exclusive deal JL had with Walmart has expired.

Regardless of the packaging, I really like the cars inside them. The paint on this ’67 Chevy Nova SS is similar to the green gold metallic of the ’73 Nova that was my first car.

JLMC002 | 2016 Musclecars USA R2, Version A | 1967 Chevy Nova SS | metallic green

I love the wheels on this 1968 Chevy Impala.

JLMC002 | 2016 Musclecars USA R2, Version A | 1968 Chevy Impala | red

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1979 Zylmex M*A*S*H Playsets

I rediscovered a box of military toys from my childhood a few years ago. At the time, I was really excited to have found three super-clean, old Matchbox models. Recently, I was reminded by an online post of the series of M*A*S*H vehicles that I had in that box. The long-running TV show was – and still is – a favorite of mine. So I found the box again and this time I photographed everything in it.

I couldn’t remember how the pieces were packaged. Fortunately I found a Zylmex fan site of which the following text and photo of the 1979 toy catalog page are courtesy:

First a celebrated movie, then and still a wildly popular TV show, and now, a best-selling toy model series.  All vehicles of die-cast metal with plastic parts. Super play value features include folding blades on Supply Helicopter, removable plastic canopy on Ambulance Truck, folding windshield and detachable trailer on jeep. Detailed, durable, injection molded plastic Playsets are based on actual settings found in the M*A*S*H TV Series. Combination of Vehicles and Playsets create a toy model series in constant demand.  Blister pack assortment, plus a Floor Display of distinctive design.

As you can see by the following photos, I have most of the series except for the Ambulance Truck and the Supply Helicopter.

T439 Ambulance Van with opening door

Rescue Copter and Helicopter Landing Pad Set.

T432 Jeep Car and Trailer

T431 Armored Half Track

Latrine Set

Field Hospital Set

I also had to photograph the box that all of these items have been stored in for years. The plastic model is long gone, but the box has survived in surprisingly good shape.

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