Bubble Gunner, Street Rodder and More

Last weekend I scored a nice bunch of Hot Wheels from a thrift store. My wife and son alerted me to a full 48-Car Carry Case (actually it was over-stuffed with more than 60 cars). I couldn’t talk the man into separately selling me the only two cars in the case that I really wanted, so I opted to invest in the whole lot.

The Larry Wood designed Bubble Gunner was released in 1979. Aside from the slightly dislocated chrome plastic engine and some play wear, this magenta version is in fairly decent shape.

IMG_8215 IMG_82161979 | 2511 | Bubble Gunner | magenta with yellow, orange, white stripes w/stars | HK | blackwalls

Though I already have one of these, the Street Rodder from 1977 is a classic casting which is worth owning in pairs.

IMG_8213 IMG_82141977 | 9242 | Street Rodder | black with red & yellow flames | HK | blackwalls

In addition to the large case of cars, I also picked up a 7-dollar bag of cars that held an assortment of blackwalls. Stagefright, first released in 1978, is a stagecoach-inspired hot rod that looks to me like it’s missing an engine. However, if you look closely, you can see a small 8-cylinder engine tucked inside the passenger compartment. This Malaysia-cast version is from 1982.

IMG_8221 IMG_82221982 | 2020 | Stagefright | brown | MY | blackwalls

Baja Breaker is a Ford 4×4 van that first appeared in 1978. This metallic orange version with the plastic opening hood (in this case, permanently opened) came out in 1983

IMG_8223IMG_82241983 | 4360 | Baja Breaker | metalflake orange w/blue, white tampo, plastic hood opens | MY | blackwalls

Based on the 1979-81 Toyota Truck series RN30 with a Chinook rear, the Minitrek from 1981 may be one of the ugliest Hot Wheels castings ever, reflecting the questionable automotive design trends of its time. (I’d love to hear comments on this topic!) Though you can’t tell anymore on this white version from 1983, the tampo on the sides reads “Good Time Camper”. This black-based version is worth considerably less than the rare brown-based variation.

IMG_8219 IMG_82201983 | 1697 | Minitrek | white w/blue, red Good Time Camper tampo, black base | MY | blackwalls

There is a famous story about the Ramblin’ Wrecker from 1975: Designer Larry Wood put his home phone number on the sides and as a result received phone calls from kids across the county after it was released. This is the later version, after the phone number was removed. This one is also missing its tow hook.

IMG_8217 IMG_82181977 | 7659 | Ramblin’ Wrecker | white, gray windows, no tel. number, missing tow bar | MY | blackwalls

In 1975, Larry Wood also designed the Large Charge, which was later released in 1985 as Silver Bullet, and then in the 90s as Aeroflash. The Silver Bullet here has the very 80s-looking Ultra Hot wheels and red, purple and yellow tampo.

IMG_8225 IMG_82261985 | 9535 | Silver Bullet | metallic silver with yellow, red, purple “Ultra Hots” trim | MY | Ultra Hot wheels

And finally from my 7-dollar bag (which also contained a number of Chinese cars and two diecast Thomas the Train engines) here are two castings originally from the late 80s, the Nissan Hardbody and the oddly-named (Suzuki) Street Roader.

IMG_8227IMG_82281991 | 4392 | Nissan Hardbody | black w/green, blue, pink “10”, black plastic base | MY | construction tires

IMG_8229 IMG_82301989 | 1470 | Street Roader | white w/black, blue, red “4×4” | MY | construction tires



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