Adam’s (Less Than Mint) 1979 Greased Gremlin

One of the things I enjoy about collecting blackwall-era Hot Wheels, is that – compared to redline-era cars – it is much easier to find mint or near-mint versions at a reasonable price. For example, when I went to eBay to find the 1979 Greased Gremlin, the car I scored was in such great shape that it looked like it was fresh out of the blister. The problem was, it was only after I had it in my hands that I was able to inspect it closer and discover that it was not actually the 1979 first-casting, but the Hong Kong variation from three years later. You can see that car here.

I went back to eBay, determined to find the first-release that I was looking for. Now, as you are probably aware, sellers don’t always provide the best photos of their items. But, when I saw the images of this car – including a shot of the underside – I knew I had to make it mine. Not only was it the Malaysia-made original release, but it already had my son’s name scrawled across the bottom.
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So, even though this car is in considerably less-than-mint condition, it is – for now, at least – my best and only example of the 1979 Greased Gremlin.
img_0308 img_03091979 | 2502 | Greased Gremlin | red with blue, white, yellow trim | MY | blackwalls
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1979 Vetty Funny and Bywayman

From the same eBay seller, I scored two more Hot Wheels first-castings from 1979.

Drag racing legends Don “Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “Mongoose” McEwen took their rivalry to the orange track starting in 1970, when Hot Wheels released the first cars with their names on them. In 1971, the two got rail dragsters. In 1972, they were given rear engine wedge dragsters. By 1973, both were driving the Barracuda dragster casting for Hot Wheels. In 1978, the Hot Wheels Army Funny Car was modeled after Snake’s Plymouth Arrow dragster, and in 1979 Vetty Funny was the orange track version of Mongoose’s Corvette funny car.

Vetty Funny has seen a few other paint and tampo variations and was produced up until 1995. My grey English Leather version wears the common red-yellow-black tampo from 1979, however the white-yellow-black variation from the same year will fetch the big bucks.

img_0311 img_0313 img_03141979 | 2508 | Vetty Funny | gray with black, red and yellow trim | HK | blackwalls

Collecting variations of the Hot Wheels Bywayman could keep you busy for awhile. Based on a 1973 Chevy Silverado C/K 20 pickup, the Bywayman has seen at least 3 dozen variations and looks good in everything from construction tires to saw blades. The trick for me was finding a first-casting with its plastic running lights still intact.

img_0306 img_03071979 | 2509 | Bywayman | lt. blue with white, black and yellow trim, black bed | HK | blackwalls

1982 Datsun 200SX

The Datsun 200SX is the U.S. production model of the sport coupe based on the Nissan S platform. They were produced from 1975 through 1988 and the Hot Wheels casting represents the second-generation model from 1982. In addition to this white version from its debut year, the Hot Wheels 200SX was also released in yellow, metallic gold (1983), maroon (1984), and a fairly valuable plum variation that was made in Mexico in 1985. All of these wear gold Hot Ones wheels and feature an opening hood. I found this one on eBay and was initially pretty happy with how clean the paint and tampo were. However, the seller’s photos didn’t show the fact that the car had apparently been stepped on, resulting in a slightly caved-in roofline.

img_0302 img_03031982 | 3255 | Datsun 200SX | white with red, orange and yellow tampo | MY | gho

2014 ’64 Chevy Nova Station Wagon

It’s been awhile since I found anything off the pegs, so I was happy to break the dry spell with one of my favorite castings. The HW Workshop ’64 Nova Station Wagon looks pretty fine all flamed-out, although I still prefer the metallic aqua variation from last year’s debut. Also, I noticed that there is a Mainline Limited Edition version of this latest that has Real Rider Steelies. I’m not sure how impossible it will be to find, but I’ll be keeping my eyes open for that one.

img_3924 img_3925BFF13 | 2014 HW Workshop Muscle Mania | ’64 Chevy Nova Station Wagon | metalflake brown with yellow and gray flames | 5SP

1977 Formula 5000 and 1983 Turbo Streak

Here are a couple for you open-wheel racing fans. I picked up both of these from the same seller on eBay. The Hot Wheels Formula 5000 was released in 1976 wearing red-line tires but otherwise looking much the same as this blackwall version from a year later.

img_0225 img_02261977 | 9119 | Formula 5000 | white with red & blue trim | HK | blackwalls

The Hot Wheels Turbo streak was first released in 1983. There are other variations from that year without the words “elf” and “Michelin” on the orange, red and black tampo, as well as two others from 1983 with either gray or white real riders. This popular Indy Car has seen quite a few other variations up until 1998.

img_0223img_02241983 | 3914 | Turbo Streak | yellow w/orange, red, black, Michelin 7 elf trim | HK | blackwalls