Peterson Car Museum

My brother-in-law, John (the world traveler), was out in Los Angeles recently and visited the Petersen Automotive Museum. He sent me these photos and I thought I would post them here since they apparently have a nice Hot Wheels display. I’ve never been to the Petersen, but after browsing their website, I would say it looks like a must-see for anyone who likes cars.

The Petersen was established in 1994 on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, in an awesome mid-century modern building which was designed by Welton Becket in 1962. The Peterson claims over 300 vehicles, with only about half of these on display at any given time. The rotating exhibits feature streetscape dioramas that include period correct architectural elements. The collection also includes “rare automobile components, artwork, photographs, books and automobilia.”

The Hot Wheels display at the Petersen is a permanent exhibition which includes original models and patterns, injection molds and drawings of original vehicle designs from the Hot Wheels design studio. Johns photos also show a display which includes “every basic car casting created since Hot Wheels was founded in 1968”!

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I find it interesting that out of all of the Hot Wheels castings ever made, John chose this one for a close-up shot.1379242_10201710321472455_203225608_n

I’m trying to figure out how to build one of these giant wheels to put in my house. I think it would make a nice addition to our living area, but I’m not sure my wife would agree.



Wisconsin Toy Company Redlines

It’s been a few weeks since I first posted photos of this redline Volkswagen along with a few other cars a friend had given me. I had already identified it as a Wisconsin Toy Company promotional from 1980. But after I posted photos to a couple of online collector’s forums, the comments I was getting helped me realize there was a good story behind this little bug. It took a little while to find a source for the whole story, but eventually I found a page on the Hot Wheels Collector’s website in which collector Steve Griffin recounts a conversation with former Mattel engineer Bob Rosas who explains how the Wisconsin Toy Company redlines came to be.

It seems Mattel had entered into a promotional agreement with a “major soap manufacturer” sometime in the mid-1970s to give away unique Hot Wheels cars in specially marked packages of soap. As was done in these promotions, the unpainted metal bases were replaced with plastic – in this case black ones – to reduce cost. The cars planned for this promotion were the Volkswagen Bug, Swingin’ Wing, Dune Daddy, Warpath and a dark blue version of Buzz Off.

For some reason, after most of these cars had been produced, the promotion fell through and the order was cancelled. Apparently, the Volkswagen Bugs, Swingin’ Wings, Dune Daddys, and Warpaths were boxed up and put in a warehouse. It wasn’t until 1980 that the inventory was sold to the Wisconsin Toy Company, who sold them in plastic baggies with an attached header card. Hot Wheels, of course had stopped making redlines in 1977, so that makes these cars an unusual find.

img_1718img_17191980 | 7620 | Volkswagen Bug (Wisconsin Toy Co. promo) | orange with black, yellow  and green bug, black plastic base | HK | redlines

So, whatever happened to that dark blue Buzz Off? Well, very few of those cars had come off the production line when the order was cancelled, not enough to make it worth boxing them up with the others. But a few of them managed to leak out making it a rare and valuable car. I don’t have one of those, but I do have a gold chrome version that I like quite a bit.

2014 Chevrolet SS

I passed up one of these in the dump bin the other day because the card was badly creased, but I found this one hanging from the pegs at a different WalMart a few days later, making it the first 2014 Hot Wheels that I’ve bought. The 2014 HW Workshop Chevrolet SS is the third variation of this casting, which was first released in 2012. It’s based on the Chevrolet Opala, which is sort of an Impala/Opel hybrid that was made by GM in Brazil. I also have both the 2012 and 2013 variations in my collection.

BFD73 | 2014 HW Workshop #199 | Chevrolet SS (Opala) | dk blue with light blue and silver trim | 5SP

Auto World Vintage Muscle 1966 Chevy Impala SS

I was a little surprised to find a display of Auto World cars at WalMart last weekend. I had seen some photos of the brand online, but hadn’t come across any in the stores. I was also glad to see they’re making a 1966 Chevy Impala. Of all the many dozens of Impalas in my collection made by many different brands, I think I only have one other 1966.

Auto World has an interesting history that I wasn’t familiar with. Started in 1958 by Oscar Koveleski as a mail order hobby business, the company grew to include plastic model kits, paint, hobby tools, scratch-building supplies and small-scale slot racing cars. Though the company’s only retail store in Scranton, Pa., closed it’s doors in the mid-1980s, the rights to the Auto World name were purchased in 2005 by Tom Lowe, the founder of Playing Mantis and the man responsible for the 1994 resurrection of Johnny Lightning. Auto World has been marketing slot cars and model kits, as well as 1:18 scale diecast replicas.

This new line of “true” 1:64 scale cars is nicely detailed, with opening hoods and real rubber tires. There are three levels of Auto World cars: Deluxe, with a blister card only; Premium, which includes a “collectible mini-box”; and Licensed Premium, which comes in a plastic display case on a blister card. Also, each casting is made in three colors, including an “exclusive UltraRed chase vehicle.” As a nice added feature, the Auto World Garage website allows you to keep track your collection online and the site shows photos of all castings and variations of each release.

I’m sure I’ll be on the lookout for the other two variations of this nice 1966 Impala.

Auto World Vintage Muscle Premium Series | 1966 Chevy Impala SS | burgundy

Hot Wheels Canadian Packaging

My wife teases me about my collection all the time. She often threatens to throw away all my cars and tells me the whole thing is grounds for divorce. But sometimes she’ll call me at work from Target to ask if I need a certain car that she’s found. And when she and my son went to Canada recently to visit her family, she brought me back a couple of Canadian Hot Wheels.

What’s the difference between Canadian and US Hot Wheels, you ask? Well, let me show you. Other than the codes stamped into the bottoms, the cars themselves are pretty much identical. But the packages are different, both front and back. I already had the US versions of both the HW Showroom ’59 Chevy Impala and the ’66 Chevy Nova, so I’m posting photos of both for comparison.

The major difference in the front of the package is that the Canadian version is missing the illustration of the four Team Hot Wheels guys over the Hot Wheels banner.

img_1768X1796 | 2013 HW Showroom (Canadian package) | ’59 Chevy Impala | metalflake green with flames | chrome MC5
img_0577X1796 | 2013 HW Showroom | ’59 Chevy Impala (US package) | metalflake green with flames | chrome MC5

The back of the Canadian package is quite a bit different, with the layout rearranged to allow for four languages – English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. My wife was particularly excited to see that the headquarters of Mattel Canada Inc., is in her hometown of Mississauga, Ontario.img_1765img_1766

The HW Showroom ’66 Chevy Nova that my wife brought back is the lime green variation. I’m not sure if the light blue and ZAMAC versions that were issued in the US can also be found in Canada, but I told my wife she needs to go back and try to find them for me.

img_1769X1847 | 2013 HW Showroom (Canadian Package) | ’66 Chevy Nova | lime green with black, orange & silver trim | black PR5 w/chrome rim

IMG_0206X1847-09A0D | 2013 HW Showroom (US Package) | ’66 Chevy Nova | lime green with black, orange & silver trim |  black PR5 w/chrome rim


Hot Wheels ’68 Chevy Nova

When this Hot Wheels casting came out in 2004 the floodgates opened for me as a collector. I had grown up around several of the third generation Novas – 4 of my older brothers drove them at various times. The first car I bought for myself was a 1973 Nova 2-door hatchback and it was my daily driver for 10 years. I don’t have every version ever made, but I have quite a few and I’ve managed to collect some interesting variations along the way.

This is the one that started if off, and still one of my favorites. I love the metalflake steel blue of this 2004 First Editions casting.

img_1748img_1733img_1734B3532 | 2004 First Editions #5 | Nova 1968 | metalfake steel blue/white | 5SP

In those early days, I was still taking a lot of my cars out of the package, so I only have this Motor City Muscle version loose. It really shines in metalflake antifreeze green and Real Rider tires.

img_1729img_1730C2642 | 2004 Hot Wheels Affinity Motor City Muscle (3/4) | ’68 Chevy Nova | metalfake antifreeze green w/magenta & white trim | RR5S

Here’s another loose variation from the 2005 Robo Revenge 5-Pack.

img_1731img_1732G6916 | 2005 Robo Revenge 5-Pk | 1968 Nova | metalfake brown w/white, orange & black trim | 5SP

The casting looks pretty fine in redlines!

img_1745J3424 | 2006 Red Line Series #3 | 1968 Nova | metalflake purple w/Red Line Series tampo on sides | RL5SP

I saw the 2006 Neo-Classics version when it was first offered on the Hot Wheels collector’s website, but by the time I was able to try to by one, they were sold out. Fortunately, I picked one up not too much later on eBay.

img_1751K3385 | 2006 HWC Neo-Classics #3 | 1968 Nova | spectraflame blue w/blue flames | RL

The Hot Wheels Classics is one of my favorite series. Even though it seems like cheating to put a 2004 casting into a series that celebrates the original Hot Wheels releases, I’m glad they included the ’68 Nova. I have two of the three colors that were released.

img_1749L0749 | 2007 Hot Wheels Classics #21 | ’68 Chevy Nova | spectraflame dark orange w/black & white trim | RL5SP
img_1750L0749 | 2007 Hot Wheels Classics #21 | ’68 Chevy Nova | spectraflame gold w/black & white trim | RL5SP

Package variations are always fun. Here’s the 2008 Team: Muscle Mania Nova on both the regular and short cards.

img_1743M6894 | 2008 Team: Muscle Mania #4 | ’68 Nova | red w/white, yellow & silver trim | black OH5SP

img_1753M6894 | 2008 Team: Muscle Mania #4 (Short Card) | ’68 Nova | red w/white, yellow & silver trim | black OH5SP

The Since ’68 series is another one that the Nova casting doesn’t seem to belong to. But I love this variation because it reminds me of the yellow Rally Nova that my brother used to own.

img_1740M1562 | 2008 Since ’68 Series 13 of 40 | ’68 Nova | pearl yellow w/black, gray & red trim | RL

The 2009 Faster Than Ever Nova came out in at least two colors, including the black and copper versions shown here. I also have the copper version on a snowflake card, shown below.

img_1744P2456 | 2009 Faster Than Ever #10 | Chevy Nova | black w/gold trim | FTE

img_1746P2456 | 2009 Faster Than Ever #10 | Chevy Nova | metalflake copper w/black trim | FTE

img_1747P2456 | 2009 Faster Than Ever #10 (snowflake card) | Chevy Nova | metalflake copper w/black trim | FTE

The ’68 Nova has made appearances in several multipacks over the years, sometimes with unique decoration.

img_1728(left) X6999 | 2013 Hot Wheels Various Multipacks | 1968 Nova | metalflake green w/light green, beige & gray trim | chrome & black MC5
(center) B3532 | 2004 First Editions #5 | Nova 1968 | metalfake steel blue/white | 5SP
(right) P2456 | 2009 Target 10-Pk | Chevy Nova | metalflake copper w/black trim | OH5SP

There is also an alternate tool (which I actually prefer), with the hood from the Nova SS. This was found in the 2010 10-pack in several color variations.

img_1727(left) 54886 | 2010 Hot Wheels 10-Pk | ’68 Nova | metalflake dark blue w/white trim | 5SP | Alternate tool (no hood scoop)
(center) 54886 | 2010 Hot Wheels 10-Pk | ’68 Nova | metalflake gray w/gray trim | 5SP | Alternate tool (no hood scoop)
(right) 54886 | 2010 Hot Wheels 10-Pk | ’68 Nova | orange w/white trim | 5SP | Alternate tool (no hood scoop)

The 2010 Happy Birthday Nova is a striking orange, black and yellow variation.

img_1741R7936 | 2010 Happy Birthday | ’68 Chevy Nova | orange w/black & yellow trim | yellow & black OH5SP

In 2011, the ’68 Nova got a 427 and some special speed bunny stripes for the Easter Eggsclusives release.

img_1742V3691 | 2011 Easter Eggsclusives (WalMart Exclusive) | ’68 Nova | metalflake dark blue & gray w/silver & black trim | 5SP

Also in 2011, the alternate tool version appeared in at least two sharp colors in the Street Beasts series.

img_1738V0015 | 2011 Street Beasts #02 | ’68 Chevy Nova | metalflake blue w/white trim | chrome & black MC5 | Alternate tool (no hood scoop)

img_1739T9789 | 2011 Street Beasts #02 | ’68 Chevy Nova | satin green w/white trim | chrome & black MC5 | Alternate tool (no hood scoop)

Another fun variation from 2011 was the Racing Kits 2-Pack which included a yellow ’68 Nova, a section of road in disrepair, a cone, a barricade, and a Nissan Skyline to race.

img_1752V0104 | 2011 Racing Kits 2-Pack 3/12 (Street Race) | ’68 Nova | yellow w/black, white & gray trim | chrome & black OH5SP | With road, barricade, cone and Nissan Skyline

For 2012, the ’68 Nova was part of the HW Racing team in two color variations.

img_1736V5475 | 2012 HW Racing #01 | ’68 Nova | metalflake blue w/white, red & yellow trim | red MC5

img_1737V5576 | 2012 HW Racing #01 | ’68 Nova | black w/silver, red & yellow trim | chrome MC5

The ’68 Nova was once again featured as an Easter car in 2013, this time with a flamed-out paint job.

img_1735Y2088 | 2013 Hot Wheels Easter (WalMart Exclusive) 5/8 | ’68 Chevy Nova | black & red w/purple gold & beige flames | 5SP

The alternate tool version showed up again in the 2013 Retro Entertainment series as Eddie Murphy’s beat up Nova from the Beverly Hills Cop movie.

img_1332X8933 | 2013 Retro Entertainment Series Beverly Hills Cop | ’68 Chevy Nova | blue primer with white top | RRSC | Alternate tool (no hood scoop)

And finally, another tooling of the third-generation Nova – this one a 1970 model cast with an opening hood, came out in the 2008 40th Anniversary 100% series.

img_1754M1679 | 2008 100% Hot Wheels 40th Anniversary | ’70 Chevy Nova #13 | gold |RR

1976 Formula 5000 and Other Acquisitions

I got these cars from my friend and fellow artist, Randy Regier. If you check out Randy’s work, you’ll see right away that Randy has a great appreciation for all things vintage. His studio is a veritable treasure-trove of items from bygone days. That’s why I’m more than happy to accept anything he passes on to me.

I’ve enjoyed the Formula 5000 since I picked up a super-clean blackwall version on eBay awhile back. This casting really appeals to my appreciation for open wheel racing, which I’ve posted about before. The Formula 5000 series started in 1968 as a low-cost sub-class of Formula A racing where single seaters from different origins could compete, however, the series quickly became dominated by cars running American V8 engines. Formula 5000 racing continued worldwide until it fell victim to increasing costs and changing regulations in the 1980s.

This Larry Wood designed redline is from the casting’s debut in 1976.

img_1708 img_17091976 | 9119 | Formula 5000 | white with red & blue trim | HK | redlines

This little bug had me confused when I first looked it up. The values I was seeing on the 1974 first casting made me think I might have to offer to give it back to Randy. Eventually, I realized that the black plastic base made it a Wisconsin Toy Company promotional from 1980. Still, I was surprised to find a car from 1980 with redline tires. Either way, it makes a nice addition to my collection, especially since my son is currently infatuated with the Slug Bug.

img_1718 img_17191980 | 7620 | Volkswagen Bug (Wisconsin Toy Co. promo) | orange with black, yellow  and green bug, black plastic base | HK | redlines

This next car is Jet Threat II, first released in 1976. I can’t see any major differences from the original Jet Threat casting which came out in 1971, but I don’t have an actual car to compare. I do like the bright paint/tampo combination of this 1978 variation and – other than missing the plastic canopy that’s supposed to cover the rear cockpit, it’s pretty clean.

img_1724img_17251978 | 8235 | Jet Threat II | blue with orange & yellow trim | HK | blackwalls

And finally, a car that’s showing its age with a missing yellow wing and excessively worn tires. This represents the 1980 first casting of the Turbo Wedge, which for that year was part of the Hi-Rakers series – cars with adjustable-position rear axles. Interestingly, raising the rear of this model makes so little difference in the car’s profile that I didn’t even bother to photograph it that way.

img_1721img_17221980 | 1134 | Turbo Wedge (Hi-Rakers) | light green with missing yellow plastic wing | HK | blackwalls