1982 Hot Wheels Malibu Gran Prix

This Hot Wheels casting suffers from an identity crisis. The El Ray Special was first released in the 1974 Flying Colors series, and in a short run of about a year and a half, it was seen in 4 different enamel paint colors. By mid- to late-1975, the nose of the car was retooled and Formula P.A.C.K. began to take the El Ray Special’s place in the Streak Machines 6-Pack. Formula Pack then went on to be a part of the Flying Colors series from 1976 through 1978. In 1982, the casting was reissued as Malibu Gran Prix, made in both Hong Kong and Malaysia. In 1984 it wore Real Riders and in 1985 it was a Kellogg’s Cereal promotion, but a yellow version could also be found in ’84-’85 that was called Lightning Gold.

Are you still with me? It’s a little worn, but I love the paint and tampo combination on this eBay find, the Hong Kong made Malibu Gran Prix from 1982. This is the first version of this multiple-personality casting that I’ve added to my collection.

1982 Hot Wheels | 9037 | Malibu Gran Prix | black with red, yellow and blue trim | HK | BW


The Family Cars

My parents were record keepers. Especially my Dad, who worked for 30 years as an accountant for the State of North Dakota. Every time he filled the car with gas, he would write down the price per gallon, how many gallons purchased and the mileage on the car. In his retirement years, he kept a daily log comparing the temperatures in Bismarck with those in Phoenix, Arizona, where my parents had a winter home. I’ve always thought it was a little much, but I recently came across something that made me glad they kept track of things.

In a box of things I acquired after Dad died in 2008, I found a nondescript black record book. Though I had looked through these things before, the book somehow escaped my notice. With the heading “Family Diary” at the top of the first page, the book contains lists of important dates – birthdays, weddings and deaths – as well as notes about where and when family vacations and weekend road trips were taken. One page details hospital visits. There’s even a list of when every kid in the family got eyeglasses!

But the page that I’d like to highlight here is the page titled “Cars”, which is a list of every car bought, sold or traded by my parents going all the way back to 1948.

I thought it would be fun to try to find photos of as many of these cars as I could, because for me, the inspiration for collecting toy cars goes back to the real cars that I was around when I was young.

I am the youngest of 10 children and my dad loved to travel, so many of the vehicles my parents chose were big enough to haul all of us kids around while pulling a big trailer for us to camp in.

My brothers, Myron (left), and Ramon (right), with my dad, Donald, in front of the 1950 Plymouth Suburban.

Brothers Ramon, Myron and Joel next to the 1960 Ford Falcon station wagon.

My siblings, Brenda, John, Myron, Tim, Joel, Patty and Carla in front of the 1965 International Travelall.

Dad saved the brochure for his Travelall.

The Travelall brochure includes hand-written notes from the salesman.

I was born in 1966. I have a very early memory of standing up between my dad and my mom on the front seat of our big Pontiac station wagon as we cruised down the highway on a road trip somewhere. If I could have any of these cars now, I would choose the Catalina wagon.

The 1965 Pontiac Catalina wagon with the 1971 Chevy Cheyenne Super pick-up, August, 1972, at Lake Tschida, N.D. The pick-up was new and didn’t yet have the camper shell.

This is the camping rig that took me all around mostly the western U.S. when I was young. Myself, Tim, John, Brenda at Sibley Park, North Dakota, in 1974.

Brenda, me, Dad, John and Tim, camping in Hastings, Nebraska, City Park in 1978. A good shot of the Chevy pick-up with the camper shell.

Tim, our niece, Kelly, myself and the N.S.U. Prinz 4 in front of our garage. Dad would park the Prinz sideways at the very back, turning it into a three-car garage!

Dad also saved a brochure for the N.S.U. Prinz.

The 1974 Chevy Vega wagon. Yes, it was white with fake woodgrain panels!

The red 1974 AMC Hornet, about 1978.

1983(?) Chevy Cavalier wagon. Much to my surprise, Dad let me borrow this car to drive myself and a friend and our dates to Senior Prom.

Dad standing by the motorhome somewhere along the highway, about 1984.

The 1985 Chevy Astro Van parked along side my parent’s winter home in Tempe, Arizona. 

1992 Hot Wheels Recycling Truck

This orange Hot Wheels Recycling Truck, which I landed recently on eBay, is from 1992, the casting’s first year. Of the dozen or so variations up until 2001, this is the only one that wore blackwalls, although it could also be found in 1992 with 7-spoke wheels. The Tomart’s book also lists three variations in the plastic container: large hole, small hole and no hole. With no other model to compare to, I’m assuming my version has the large hole.

1992 Hot Wheels | 2073 | Recycling Truck | orange with pink, blue and yellow trim, hole in container | MY | BW

Though I like my blackwall Recycling Truck, I couldn’t help but notice this casting’s version in the 2001 Final Run Series, which is a striking white with red, black and orange decoration, with a gold chrome base and Real Riders. Who knew a trash truck could look so good?

1989 Hot Wheels Park n’ Plates Porsche 959

The Hot Wheels Porsche 959 was first released in 1988 and has about 40 variations up until 2015. This white model with Ultra Hot wheels is from the Park N’ Plates series of 1989. Interestingly, there are 7 different versions of the Park ‘N Plates release, all made in Malaysia, either with blackwalls or Ultra Hots and varying combinations of blue or clear glass and blue, black or tan interior. My recent eBay find has some wear to the paint and tampo but for some reason the chrome is almost completely worn off of the wheels.

1989 Hot Wheels Park ‘n Plates | 2038 | Porsche 959 | white with blue and red trim, blue interior, blue tinted windows | MY | UH

I scanned this image of a Park ‘N Plates package from my copy of the Tomart’s Price Guide to Hot Wheels. The series featured interlocking plastic storage containers with snap on license plates. The ’89 series made use of 11 different castings, including the ’57 Chevy and Nissan 300ZX, some with different variations of each. The Park ‘N Plates series continued in 1990 and 1991, and made a return for 1998, 2003 and 2004.


1991 Hot Wheels ’65 Mustang Convertible

If the Hot Wheels Classic Cobra was a wildly popular casting, then the ’65 Mustang Convertible was even more so. How about more than 90 variations between its first release in 1984 and 2014? This dark red with yellow trim variation, another recent eBay find, is from 1991. The casting features a nice opening hood and it looks sharp in whitewall tires, but the trick with these is finding them with an intact plastic windshield.

1991 Hot Wheels | 0420 | ’65 Mustang Convertible | dark red with yellow trim, tan interior | MY | ww

1986 Hot Wheels Classic Cobra

I haven’t bought much on eBay lately, so after spending a little time on the site recently, I would say the prices of Blackwall-era Hot Wheels are on the rise. A few years ago, I could find really clean blackwalls for just a few dollars. These days, for anything in reasonably good shape, the bidding can climb into the tens of dollars pretty quickly.

Just in case you are starting to question my financial commitment to this hobby, you might be glad to know that I was still able to find something to bid on. In fact, I was fortunate to land four separate items from the same seller – to save money on combined shipping, of course.

The Hot Wheels Classic Cobra debuted in the 1983 Hot Ones series and has been a wildly popular model ever since. I count over 70 variations from that first year up until as recently as 2015! This red version with yellow stripes and “Cobra” on the hood is from 1986. It was also found that year in the Real Riders series sporting Goodyear white letter tires. I am happy that the plastic parts and the opening hood are all in good shape.

1986 Hot Wheels | 2535 | Classic Cobra | red with yellow, black and white trim, black interior | BW

The Shelby Cobra, which brought together American automotive designer Carroll Shelby, British car manufacturer AC, and Ford, was born in 1962 out of the American carmaker’s desire to have a car to compete with the Corvette. The Hot Wheels version is modeled after the 1966 427 Cobra, which had wider fenders and a larger radiator opening than its predecessor.

1995 Hot Wheels Silver Series Fire Eater

Vintage Stock, which carries mostly records, movies, video games and comic books has two locations in Wichita, at Town East Square mall and at Town West Square mall. The chain was founded as Book Barn in 1980 in Joplin Missouri and now has 40 locations in 5 states. I’d been in the store before and noticed that they had a few action figures, but I had never really thought to look for diecast cars. Well, the other day I found an end-cap full of Hot Wheels, Matchbox and other assorted models.

This chrome Hot Wheels Fire Eater from 1995 is a little late for my “vintage” collection, but I thought it would make a nice companion to my other mint blackwall Fire Eater from 1983. I also have a thing for chrome and gold chrome cars, which probably goes back to the Club Kit Heavy Chevy from my youth.

Since the blister was already mostly separated from the card, I decided to take the model out of the package so it could be displayed with my other loose Hot Wheels.

Hot Wheels | 1995 Silver Series | 322 | Fire Eater | chrome with red insert, yellow and black trim, blue tint windows | MY | BW

The Silver Series was new for 1995 and also included Rodzilla, Propper Chopper and School Bus castings. Silver Series II from 1996 included the CAT Dump Truck, ’40s Woodie, ’57 Chevy and the Oscar Myer Wienermobile.