1978 A-OK

Larry Wood and Bob Rosas designed A-OK in 1978. The hot rod Ford Model A went through 5 variations until 1983 when, according to the Hot Wheels wiki, the mold broke. The casting was re-tooled in 2008 for the Since ’68 series. I picked up this lightly-worn model on eBay. Without the original packaging, it’s impossible to know whether it’s from the Flying Colors or the Oldies But Goodies series, but this light green variation is the 1978 original casting.

img_8523 img_85241978 | 2016 | A-OK | light green with olive fenders, “Early Times” trim | HK | blackwalls


1997 Playing Mantis Speed Rebels Rat Attack (Chevy Nova)

During the ten years that I drove my Nova, my good friend, Brad, was always there to help me work on it. Together, we tuned it up, replaced fuel pumps and starters, rebuilt carburetors, switched out a rear end, replaced the exhaust system and lots of other odds and ends. It was always good to have some technical and moral support while making repairs – especially since it was my daily driver and I was typically on a rather limited budget.

These days, Brad and I trade die cast cars back and forth, and he’s always keeping his eye out for something to add to my Nova collection. Recently, he sent me this loose gold Chevy Nova, called Rat Attack, from the 1997 Speed Rebels series by Playing Mantis. Playing Mantis was the company that brought back Johnny Lightning during the mid-90s, although this series of Novas is a smaller-scale casting than the JLs. The Speed Rebels series also included the Vicious Villian, Alley Cat, Street Freak, Speed King, Wing Thing, Big Boss, The Dominator, The Spoiler, and Goat Buster – all of them customized American muscle cars.

img_2902 img_29031997 | Playing Mantis Speed Rebels | Rat Attack (Nova) | gold

Here’s a link to a page on JLCollector.net that shows all of the Rat Attack color variations. I already had this purple version in my collection of loose Novas, but it looks like I’ll have to acquire a few more before I have them all.

img_2921 img_29221997 | Playing Mantis Speed Rebels | Rat Attack (Nova) | purple

2013 Hot Wheels General Mills Series

I had a nice, unexpected Christmas gift last month. My brother, Tim, sent me a box full of the 2013 Hot Wheels General Mills cars from the Pop Culture series. Growing up together, we shared a lot of these products around the dinner table. He sent me 5 of the six cars, and I found the Cheerios car at the local Dillon’s last night, so my set is now complete.

My favorite of the bunch is the Old El Paso Super Van. We didn’t eat a lot of Mexican food during my youth in North Dakota, but five years living in Phoenix influenced my tastes quite a bit. The Super Van – which has been around since 1975 – is one of the favorite cars from my childhood collection. I think it looks pretty good here, sporting a tile roof and redline tires.

img_2889 img_2898X8368 | 2013 General Mills Pop Culture Series | Super Van | yellow with red roof, Old El Paso deco | RLRR

The Quick D-Livery was a new casting for 2013. I’m not sure what the actual inspiration is, but it looks like what would happen if Raymond Loewy redesigned the Volkswagen Bus. It’s a fitting model to for the Pillsbury Doughboy.

img_2887img_2896X8312 | 2013 General Mills Pop Culture Series | Quick D-Livery | silver & metalflake blue with Pillsbury deco | WLRR5SP

Another throwback to the streamlined look of the 1930s, Haulin’ Gas was first released in 2011. It has been used as a rolling billboard for Milk Duds, Carvel Ice Cream, Felix the Cat, and now the Green Giant.

 img_2888img_2897X8329 | 2013 General Mills Pop Culture Series | Haulin’ Gas | white with turquoise roof, Green Giant deco | WLRR10SP

Designed by Larry Wood and Bob Rosas and originally introduced in 1978, the Packin’ Pacer saw at least five variations into the early 80s. In 2011, the retooled version was part of the rebirth of The Hot Ones. It appears here wearing white wall tires and Totino’s Pizza deco

 img_2890img_2899X8317 | 2013 General Mills Pop Culture Series | ’77 Packin’ Pacer | metalflake red with Totino’s deco | WLRR5SC

Another delivery vehicle used to advertise brands such as Phillips 66, Masters of the Universe, and Atari Breakout, the ’49 Ford C.O.E. (cab over engine) was first cast in 2010. Here it wears the bright deco of Kix cereal.

 img_2891img_2900X8339 | 2013 General Mills Pop Culture Series | ’49 Ford C.O.E. | orange with Kix deco | RLDISH

And finally, another delivery wearing cereal graphics – in this case, Cheerios. This is the Custom ’52 Chevy, designed by Abe Lugo, which was first released in 2012.

 img_2924img_2923X8329 | 2013 General Mills Pop Culture Series | Custom ’52 Chevy | yellow with blue roof, blue trim and Cheerios deco | yellow line RRLW5

2014 Mystery Machine

My son has a knack for finding the Hot Wheels Mystery Machine. When the casting first came out in 2012, I searched high and low for it but just couldn’t come up with one. I whined about it publicly so much that someone finally felt bad for me and sent me a couple – one of each of the packaging variations. A month or so ago, my son went with me to O’Reilly Auto Parts to pick up a headlamp for my car. While I went up to the counter for help, my son wandered over to a small display of Hot Wheels, where he quickly grabbed the 2014 Mystery Machine that was hanging there. A few weeks later, he was with my wife at Target when he scored another one for me.

The 5-spoke wheels are an improvement over the J5s that they put on the 2012 version. Unfortunately, the best-looking version – 2013’s Retro-Entertainment release – is one that my son has yet to find for me.

img_2884 img_2892 BFC93 | 2014 HW City Tooned I | The Mystery Machine | turquoise with The Mystery Machine trim | chrome orange 5SP

Hot Wheels Cool Classics ’64 Impala

I recently found this sweet ’64 Impala at Toys”R”Us. I have at least 10 variations of this casting in my collection – only about half of the versions that have come out since it was first released in 2004. This is also the second model I’ve added to my collection from the Cool Classics line, a series which is certainly living up to its name.

img_2885 img_2894Y9443 | 2013 Cool Classics 20/30 | ’64 Impala | sprecrafrost pink with white trim | RSW

1961 Ford Anglia and Other Lesney Relics

My son and I have been reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at bedtime. We’ve seen the movies and we really enjoy the scenes with the flying car. When I read in the book that the car is a Ford Anglia, it occurred to me that I had seen a die cast version and I decided it would be fun to pick one up. There were quite a few offerings of the Lesney model on eBay, but I zeroed in on a lot of cars that included an Anglia and six other old Lesney trucks, all of them in less than desirable shape.

I’ve decided this Anglia is the version of the Harry Potter flying car after it has landed in and has been beaten up by the Whomping Willow.

img_2904 img_29051961 | 7 | Ford Anglia | light blue | silver plastic wheels

I’ve gotten to where I prefer my Hot Wheels and newer Matchbox cars to be in pretty clean shape, but for some reason I don’t mind some wear and tear on the old Lesney cars. In some ways, I think it adds to their character.

img_2914 img_29151957 | 47 | Trojan 1-Ton Van | red | gray plastic wheels

img_2916 img_29171959 | 20 | ERF 68G Truck | blue | black plastic wheels

img_2910 img_29111959 | 11 | ERF Petrol Tanker | red | black plastic wheels

img_2908 img_29091961 | 3 | Bedford Ton Tipper | gray with maroon dumper | black plastic wheels

img_2912 img_29131961 | 13 | Thames Trader Wreck Truck | red | black plastic wheels

img_2906 img_29071964 | 16 | Scammell Mountaineer Snowplow | gray and orange | black plastic wheels