1969 Hot Wheels Classic ’36 Ford Coupe

This well-worn 1969 Hot Wheels Classic ’36 Ford Coupe is from the FBQT collection. This aqua model represents one of 19 different Spectraflame colors that the ’36 Ford Coupe was produced in.

Even with the missing front wheel and chipped paint, it’s still a pretty darn attractive little car.

In 1976, the casting was retooled – removing the opening rumble seat and giving it a plastic hood scoop – and it was renamed Neet Streeter. But in 2005, the Classic ’36 Ford Coupe was brought back for the Red Line Club.

Hot Wheels | 1969 | 6253 | Classic ’36 Ford Coupe | Spectraflame aqua | USA

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1969 Matchbox Kingsize Mercury Commuter Police Station Wagon

Sometimes it’s good to get off the beaten path. Or, at least, the path you’re used to following. A couple of weekends ago, inspired by a 50%-off sale that was advertised in the newspaper, we visited an Ace Hardware in a different neighborhood than our own. We filled a bag with lots of bargains, and, feeling good about that, we decided to visit the Super Del Centro for the first time, where my wife found a great deal on cilantro. Across the street from the grocery store, I noticed a place called Wichita Vintage which I had never seen before. Wandering in, we were greeted by the friendly owner, and we found a neat store filled mostly with beautiful antique furniture. I spotted this Matchbox Kingsize in a display case and asked the owner for a closer look. When I told him I would take it, he found another smaller model for me in a different case which I probably would have missed. Then he told me to send him a Facebook message and he would let me know if he comes across any other diecast cars in the future.

The Matchbox Kingsize Mercury Commuter Police Station Wagon came out in 1969 and was part of the short-lived Auto-Steer series, which included a Lamborghini Miura, a Ford Mustang Fastback and a Volkswagen 1500 Saloon, among others. The cars had a unique front suspension that caused the cars to steer to the left or right by pressing on that side of the car. The mechanism on this well-loved car seems to have a bit of a permanent right turn. The modal also has worn paint and stickers and is missing the two left-side tires, but is a fun find nonetheless.

Matchbox | 1969 Auto-Steer | Kingsize K-23 | Mercury Commuter Police Station Wagon | white with (two missing) black plastic tires

The photo below shows the unique, steerable suspension. This technology was done away with once Matchbox made the switch to Superfast wheels.

Click on these links to see some of my other Matchbox Kingsize models, including the Bertone Runabout, Javelin AMX, Range Rover and Ambulance.

2011 Johnny Lightning 1969 Chevy Impala SS White Lightning

While on a family vacation to the Phoenix area over the holidays, I checked out a little place called Cubbiehole Collectibles. Tucked inside the Postal Plus More in a strip mall off 19th Ave. and Northern, the store is a classic example of collecting as a sideline business. The proprietor answers questions about his inventory of diecast vehicles while simultaneously helping customers with their shipping needs. The store is fairly well organized (I spent most of my time in the Chevrolet section) and offers an array of brands from Hot Wheels and Matchbox to Johnny Lightning, M2 Machines, Greenlight and more. There are either “more than 15,000” or “more than 25,000” items, depending which page of the website you refer to.

I could have spent a lot more time combing through the pegs full of packaged cars and cases of loose items if my patient family wasn’t waiting on me. Also, I would suggest going in with a specific want list to help from becoming distracted or even overwhelmed by the far-ranging collection.

For my part, I zeroed in on this white Johnny Lightning 1969 Impala SS. Information that I’m finding online tells me that the rare (2% of the production run) White Lightning version of Release 13 has a white engine and chassis. This is the only White Lightning I have in my collection of quite a few JLs.

IMG_7351 IMG_7355 IMG_735753717MP | 2011 Editions R13 | 1969 Chevy Impala SS | white with white top, base and interior (White Lightning)

I also picked up a loose orange Hot Wheels Corvette Stingray from 1980. I already had one of these, but you can never have too many Stingrays.

Antique Store Finds

When I was in Manhattan, Kansas, a few weeks ago, I walked into a little antique shop and found this fun assortment of cars. All of these cars are fairly well worn, but the price was right.

Compare this 1967 Lesney Matchbox Greyhound Bus to the Hot Wheels version from 1980.

1967 Lesney Matchbox | 66 | Greyhound Bus | metallic gray, amber windows | black plastic wheels

This Lesney Matchbox London Bus from 1966 is a little rough, but it’s in better shape than the 1970s-era London bus from my childhood.

1966 Lesney Matchbox | 14 | Daimler London Bus | green with Esso graphics | black plastic wheels

This 1965 Taylor Jumbo Crane still has a functioning boom and intact plastic hook.

1965 Lesney Matchbox | 11 | Taylor Jumbo Crane | yellow with red weight box | black plastic wheels

I had never heard of the Corgi Rockets before, so this gold chrome Aston Martin DB6 may be the most interesting car in the lot. The Rockets, which were meant to be raced on track sets, were produced for only a little over a year starting in October of 1969. Each car came with a key which could be used to remove the black plastic chassis so the car could be given a “tune-up”.


1969 Corgi Rockets | D901 Aston Martin DB6 | gold chrome

Finally, I can’t resist one of the original 16 Hot Wheels redlines, even if it’s been given a custom paint job and partially burned like this Deora from 1968.

1968 Hot Wheels | 6210 | Deora | red, with custom paint | USA | redline

Chevrolet SS

I didn’t know anything about this car until I saw it in the Hot Wheels Sneak Peeks several weeks ago. I recognized what I thought was the front end of a late 60s Nova, but was confused about the back half of the car. The generic name “Chevrolet SS” didn’t offer any clues, so I had to do a little research to figure out exactly what this was. GM manufactured the Opala – the name derived by combining Opel and Impala – in Brazil from 1969 until 1992. The car was popular because of its reliability and easy maintenance and was used for everything from police cars to taxis to race cars. Later models look much less like anything related to a Chevrolet, but I’m going to gladly display this one along side my many Novas and Impalas.

IMG_7560 IMG_7556

2012 New Models | Chevrolet SS (Opala) | green with black and white tampo | 5SP wheels

1969 Lotus Turbine and Shelby Turbine

These are two old redlines that I picked up on eBay. Eventually, I’d like to pick up the Indy Eagle and the Brabham-Repco F1 from the same year. I love the minimal shapes of these Indy cars from the 60s, and this Shelby is one of my favorite of the Spectraflame colors.

IMG_7110 IMG_71111969 | 6262 | Lotus Turbine | metallic emerald green | redlines

IMG_7108IMG_71091969 | 6265 | Shelby Turbine | metallic aqua | redlines

I became a pretty big fan of Indy racing when I lived in Phoenix in the late 80s. I worked for a company that did the concessions at Phoenix International Raceway and I was given infield passes for all the races. Those were pretty big days in Indy racing. I remember in 1985 when Al Unser cracked the 160 mph mark at PIR. And in 1987, Roberto Guerrero won the fastest Indy car race in track history by averaging over 138 mph over the course of the 200-mile contest. I would carry around my Minolta camera with a big zoom lens on it and people would assume I had a press pass to get into the pits as well. So I got some decent shots of some of the cars and drivers. One of my favorites is this shot of Michael and Mario Andretti talking to a reporter before the Circle K Fiesta Bowl 200 in 1986.

And here’s a shot I got of both of them on the track. Michael won the race and Mario took third.

Speaking of Indy cars and the Andrettis, I have the Mario and Michael cars that Racing Champions put out in 1989.

IMG_8162 IMG_8163

Also, back in 1996, Johnny Lightning came out with the Indianapolis 500 Champions Collection. These were two-car packs that featured the Indy 500 winning car and the pace car from the same year. I was never able to find the 1969 Mario Andretti version (a Brawner Hawk) with the Camaro pace car in the stores, but I eventually found this one on eBay.

IMG_7230IMG_7233

And finally, another little Indy-related item. This is a ceramic name plaque that I’ve had since I was a kid.

1969 McLaren M6A

For awhile I was trying to pick up old redlines on eBay. But I have a self-imposed rule that I try to spend less than $10 on any car – and that includes shipping. So you can imagine the quality of the cars I was able to get was not great. (In some ways, I think of my collection as a way to find a home for misfit toys.) Either way, this McLaren does make a nice companion for the Ford J-Car from my childhood collection.

IMG_7133 IMG_7134IMG_71351969 | 6255 | McLaren M6A | metal lime green | redlines