I decided to start 2018 with a fresh, new look for this site. First, I designed myself a new logo. I tried to create a unique mark that taps into the spirit of those vintage toys that we all love.
Next, I updated to a new WordPress theme. I was long overdue to make my site work better on phones and tablets, and this theme should do the trick.
Finally, I’ve been working behind the scenes to make the site faster. When I first started this blog, I wanted to show large, sharp photos that were color-accurate. After awhile I realized that uploading full resolution photos right off my camera was overkill. So I started sizing my images to 1600×1200 – still large enough to view on a desktop, but a little quicker to load. Then, it was a matter of going back through all of the old posts and resizing those photos. I’m glad to say that process is complete.
So whether you’re on a laptop or a phone, have a look around, browse around through the archives and click on a few photos to see them full size. I hope you enjoy the new, improved site – and please comment to let me know what you think. Thanks.
Whenever I travel, I try to seek out any hobby stores that might carry die-cast cars. This usually means dragging my family to some out-of-the-way location and making them wait patiently while I inspect displays of cars. But on our June trip to my family reunion in Minnesota, everyone was impressed with the unique place I took them to.
Scale Model Supplies is located in a former bowling alley in St. Paul. The place is huge and has such an enormous and varied inventory that it kind of boggles the mind. My cousin, Tom, who was along for the trip, was particularly amazed by the population of HO scale figures in the train section. My son spent some time looking in the die-cast section for another James Bond vehicle to go with the one we found him in Phoenix. There is a huge section of plastic models with every kind of vehicle. One aisle has stamp and coin collecting supplies. There is also a large room with three different slot car tracks. Even my wife was impressed.
I did find a few die-cast cars, but my favorite section was a room in the back that looked like a flea market, with bins full of used train and slot car parts and lots of old toys. When my cousin saw me marveling at this old plastic Batmobile, he bought it for me as a Father’s Day present.
The car, which is about 8″ long, is missing the steering wheel, the two front wheel covers, most of the red painted details, and the three yellow and black batman stickers that used to be affixed to the doors and top. But it still has both front and rear clear plastic windshields and the Batman and Robin figures in their seats. The bottom is stamped with the words “COPYRIGHT DC COMICS, INC,” a Duncan logo and “Toronto, Ont., Canada” and “Baraboo, WI, USA”.
This is another one of those items I found at the consignment store that doesn’t really fit in my collection. But who could resist The Spammobile?
When I got it, it was in a little clear plastic baggie, so the only info I had to go on is what is stamped on the base. A Hormel promo, dated 2002, made in China. After asking around online, I was told this was originally sold on the Spam website. The Spam Shop does have a very interesting selection of items for sale, but I don’t currently see any diecast vehicles. The “Series #1” stamped on the bottom of this bus makes me wonder if there might be more out there.
It’s a model of decent quality (1:64ish scale) and, though the base is plastic, all of that metal makes it nice and heavy. Apparently this is based on a real vehicle and – aside from the wheels being yellow on the real thing – they seemed to have captured most of the details.
2002 The Spammobile | blue and yellow with Spam graphics | made in China
Thomas E. Lowe is a busy man. In additon to owning Auto World and recently resurrecting the Johnny Lightning brand, his company, Round2, has also brought back Racing Champions diecast collectibles. While I understand new castings are in the works, Racing Champions Mint brings back some of our old favorites. I found my red 1960 Chevy Impala at a WalMart, but the cars are also available at Target, ToysRUs and Meijer (according to the very minimal Racing Champions website).
UPDATE: I recently found the blue variation at Target (see below).
2016 | Racing Champions Mint R1 | 1960 Chevy Impala (Version B) | red with white top
2016 | Racing Champions Mint R1 | 1960 Chevy Impala (Version A) | blue with white top
There is a new variation of the Hot Wheels ’64 Chevy Impala in the 2016 Muscle Mania 5-pack. Normally when I get one of these multi-packs, I open it up and take out the car that I’m after. But I like all of the other cars in this pack – a metalflake gold ’69 Ford Mustang, a metalflake sea green ’74 Dodge Charger, a metalflake dark orange ’55 Chevy Nomad, and a metalflake blue ’67 Pontiac Firebird 400 – so much that I decided to keep them together in the box. At least for now.
DJD16 | 2016 Muscle Mania 5-Pack | ’64 Chevy Impala | black with gold and beige trim | chrome PR5 wheels
I have several other Hot Wheels ’64 Impalas, including the 2013 Cool Classics version.
The Hot Wheels Greyhound MC-8 was only produced in 3 variations which are different only in their country of origin. The two 1980 releases were made in Hong Kong and Malaysia, the 1983 version is the somewhat more valuable Mexican-made model. Somewhere along the way in my collecting adventures, I picked up one of these that was badly worn and missing most of the tampo. Without the familiar blue and red arrow graphics, it didn’t pack a lot of punch, so I found this one in a little better shape on eBay.
1980 | 1127 | Greyhound MC-8 | white and unpainted with blue and red trim | Hong Kong | blackwalls