M2 Machines Auto-Drivers and Detroit Muscle 1967 Chevy Nova SS

I remember being impressed when, about a year ago, I first saw a preview on Facebook of this M2 Machines Special Edition Auto-Drivers release of the 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS. And I was not disappointed when I eventually found one in the store last fall. The “frozen black pearl” paint is really striking against the black interior, black wheels with redlines, and blacked-out grill and bumpers. Unfortunately, my photos don’t do it justice.

img_9203 img_92102016 Auto-Drivers R35 Special Edition | 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS 15-28 | frozen black pearl | 1:64

I also found the Detroit-Muscle R34 ’67 Nova in “emerald turquoise”, which also sports redlines.

img_9207img_92062016 Detroit Muscle R34 | 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS | emerald turquoise with black top | 1:64

I have many M2 Machines 1967 Novas. My favorites include the Target Exclusive version and the 60 Years of Turbo Fire release.

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Unopened 1983 Fire Eater

A few weeks ago during the holiday break, I stopped at an estate sale to see what could be found. I’ve been to some strange places in the search for cars, but this place was among the weirdest. It was a hoarder’s delight – a compound of shacks strung together in a veritable maze full of foul-smelling junk. Books, tools, records and 8-track tapes, lots of Elvis and John Wayne memorabilia. Part of it had obviously been a house at one time, but I cannot imagine living there. Among all of this, I found a single Hot Wheels toy. This Fire Eater, still sealed in what was left of its filthy original package.

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Had the package been more complete, I would have probably left it sealed. But the poor condition (and mostly the lingering smell) convinced me to open it up. The first-release Fire Eater from 1977 looks much the same as this, with the exception of redline tires. The back of this package was dated 1983.

img_9448 img_94491983 | 9640 | Fire Eater | red, black & yellow trim, blue hose bed, holes in base | MY | bs | mint – had been in unopened card

It’s pretty cool to have a car that’s in such shiny and clean condition, especially when I have another (that I used to think was in pretty good shape) to compare it to.

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Interestingly, the chrome plastic base does show some oxidation. This is also a good opportunity to show that the blackwalls Fire Eater has a base variation. Although both versions are made in Malaysia, it can be found either with holes in the base or without.

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New Year’s Inventory

Someone asked me recently how many cars I had in my collection. The best guess I could come up with was “in the hundreds” but I wasn’t really sure. So I decided to spend part of New Year’s Day counting everything up. I keep updated lists, so it was mostly just a matter of counting and totaling the numbers. Or so I thought, until I realized how many items were not on my supposedly updated lists. After a few more days of inventorying, I came up with a total of 951 items.

I generally think of my collection as having three categories: Vintage, Novas and Impalas. But occasionally I can’t resist something that doesn’t really fit into any of these. I counted multi-car packs as single items and I did not include several buckets of cars that I have acquired over the years that I have deemed not worthy of my collection. These are the cars that my son and I use whenever we break out the Hot Wheels tracks.

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397 Vintage
In my collection, “vintage” is very loosely defined. These 395 items include my childhood collection and a bunch of almost entirely loose cars with a focus on blackwall-era Hot Wheels. The oldest items would be a few late-1950s Lesney-era Matchbox cars, and I cheat the “blackwall era” with a few cars into the early 1990s.

I have 45 cars that I’ve managed to hold onto from my childhood. They include 18 Matchbox, 9 Hot Wheels, 7 Tomica Pocket Cars, 6 Husky, 4 Playart and a single Majorette.

The remaining 350 Vintage cars break down as follows:

Hot Wheels – 219
Matchbox – 53
Corgi – 14
Zylmex – 11
Yatming – 9
Racing Champions – 8
Majorette – 7
Road Champs – 4
Ertl – 4
Tomica – 4
Siku – 2
Summer – 2
Barclay – 1
Husky – 1
Kidco – 1
Playart – 1
Pit Row – 1
Tin Toys – 1
Unknown – 9

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262 Impalas
When I first started picking up Impalas, I would take them out of the package and display them on a bookcase I had in my bachelor pad. Series like Jada’s Homie Rollerz and the Revell Lowrider Magazine cars encouraged me to start keeping them in the packages. Since Hot Wheels rolled out the ’59 Chevy Impala in 1997, there has been a steady stream of new Impala castings and variations, which puts the brand at the top of this list with 85 items.

Hot Wheels – 85
Johnny Lightning – 59
Revell – 22
Jada – 21
M2 Machines – 15
Greenlight – 14
Maisto – 11
Ertl – 6
Racing Champions – 6
Malibu International – 5
Motor Max – 4
Muscle Machines – 3
Auto World – 3
Disney – 3
Classic Metal Works – 1
Craft House – 1
Geospace – 1
Route 66 – 1
Unknown – 1

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188 Novas
The 2004 release of the Hot Wheels 1968 Nova was an exciting moment for me as a collector. Hot Wheels now has a variety of Nova castings going back to the first-generation body style, so the brand is at the top of my Nova list with 85 items.

Hot Wheels – 85
Johnny Lightning – 38
M2 Machines – 27
Maisto – 10
Muscle Machines – 9
Jada – 7
Ertl – 5
Racing Champions – 3
Playing Mantis – 2
GMP – 1
Universal Hobbies – 1

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104 Miscellaneous
The 90 items here include 10 Hot Wheels 30th Anniversary models from 1998, lots of Batmobiles, NASA-themed items including 3 Hot Wheels Action Packs, some 2005-2006 Hot Wheels Classics and a bunch of other odds and ends.

Hot Wheels – 78
Johnny Lightning – 5
Jada – 4
Matchbox – 4
Lledo – 2
Quartzo – 2
Revell – 2
Bauer – 1
Hormel Promo – 1
Maisto – 1
Upper Deck Collectibles – 1
Unknown – 2

My Collection by Brand
My collection is made up of at least 41 different brands. Being well-represented in all of my categories, the Hot Wheels brand dominates with 476 items. Johnny Lightning comes in second with 102, mostly due to the many Nova and Impala releases during the RC2 era. It’s interesting to note that Matchbox has never made a Nova and the only Impalas made in recent years are the eight-generation version which I have no interest in, yet the brand takes third place with 75 items in my vintage collection.

Hot Wheels – 476
Johnny Lightning – 102
Matchbox – 75
M2 Machines – 42
Jada – 31
Revell – 24
Maisto – 22
Quartzo – 2
Racing Champions – 18
Greenlight – 14
Corgi – 13
Tomica – 11
Zylmex – 11
Yatming – 9
Husky – 7
Majorette – 7
Ertl – 6
Malibu International – 5
Motor Max – 5
Playart – 5
Road Champs – 4
Disney – 3
Auto World – 3
Lledo – 2
Playing Mantis – 2
Siku – 2
Summer – 2
Barclay – 1
Bauer – 1
Classic Metal Works – 1
Craft House – 1
Geospace – 1
GMP – 1
Hormel Promo – 1
Kidco – 1
Pit Row – 1
Route 66 – 1
Tin Toys – 1
Upper Deck Collectibles – 1
Universal Hobbies – 1
Unknown – 12

2015 and 2016 M2 Machines 1958 Chevrolet Impalas

I’ve recently acquired three more variations of the M2 Machines 1958 Chevrolet Impala. First, the Auto-Thentics R37 from 2015.

img_9298img_92992015 Auto-Thentics R37 | 1958 Chevrolet Impala 283 | metallic green

Next is the Auto-Drivers R36 from 2016.

img_9202img_92112016 Auto-Drivers R36 | 1958 Chevrolet Impala | yellow

And finally, the Auto-Drivers R37, also from 2016. The chase car for R37 is this same Impala but with gold wheels.

img_9201img_92122016 Auto-Drivers R37 | 1958 Chevrolet Impala | metallic purple with black top

Some of my other M2 Impalas can be seen herehere, here and here.