Splurging at the Antique Store

Antique stores and art galleries are two things I really enjoy. In downtown Wichita, Vertigo 232 is on the second floor of a building that also houses Shopkeepers Antique Mall. Even better, you have to enter the antique store to access the stairs up to the gallery, a situation that gives me opportunity to browse the cases for cars.

While delivering work for a recent show in the gallery, I saw these four cars in the case. I tend to resist buying from antique stores – as opposed to garage sales – because I feel like someone else has made the find for me and I’m paying extra for it. But, at $2 and $3 each, these cars weren’t too bad a value. So I told myself that if they were there the next time I came in, I would pick them up.

When I came back to the gallery at the end of the exhibition to pick up my work, the cars were still there. So I splurged.

This Hot Wheels Porsche 959 is the 1988 first release of a model that’s been released in a few dozen variations since. I really like this paint and tampo combination as well as the Ultra Hots wheels.

Hot Wheels 1988 | 4631 | Porsche 959 | metallic dark red with orange and yellow trim | MY | UH

There are at least a dozen variations of the Matchbox BMW M1, which first came out in 1981. But this metallic gray version, with its opening hood (trunk?) and lack of rear wing and ground effects, appears to be a different casting altogether.

Matchbox 1981 | 52 | BMW M.1. | metallic gray, black 52 and stripe, hood opens, clear windows | Eng. | Superfast wheels | 1:57

I still have a bunch of nice Tomica models from my childhood, so I’m happy to acquire more when I’m fortunate enough to find them. The Tomica Maserati Merak SS and Porsche 928 are both red and both from 1978.

Tomica 1978 | F45 | Maserati Merak SS | red with black trim | 1/62

Tomica 1978 | F53 | Porsche 928 | red | 1/63


1980 ‘Vette Van and 1981 Iron Man

In 1980, Hot Wheels introduced the Hi-Rakers, a series of models in which the back end could be raised or lowered to adjust the rake of the car. This ‘Vette Van from 1980 is an example.

1980 | 1135 | ‘Vette Van | black with white, red and yellow trim | Malaysia | blackwalls

In 1981, the casting was painted white, given new graphics and released as Iron Man in the Heroes series, though with the same Hi-Raker action.

1981 | 3301 | Iron Man | white with black, red and yellow trim | Hong Kong | blackwalls

Other Hot Wheels Hi-Rakers are the 3-Window ’34, ’40s Woodie, Dodge D-50, Split Window ’63 and Turbo Wedge.

1981 Dixie Challenger

The Hot Wheels Dixie Challenger, based on a 1973 Dodge Charger with triple opera windows, came out in 1981 – a new casting, but similar to the Rodger Dodger from 1974.  Later variations, from 1982 and 1986 have blue stripes on the roof in place of the stars and bars.

img_2946 img_29471981 | 3364 | Dixie Challenger | orange with blue and white trim, stars on roof | Hong Kong | blackwalls

1981 Airport Rescue

My first garage sale find of the season was this Airport Rescue from 1981. It was in a bin full of cars priced 4 for $1. It was the only car in the whole bunch that I wanted, so the nice woman gave it to me for nothing. It’s got a fair amount of wear, but at least the plastic water cannons are still intact. Of the few variations, the red French-made version from 1983 is most valuable.

img_1208img_12091981 | 1699 | Airport Rescue | yellow with red and black tampo | HK | blackwalls

1979 Auburn 852

Another first casting from 1979, the Auburn 852 is a Larry Wood designed Hot Wheels that was subsequently released in a multitude of colors and decorations up until 2003. The trick with this car is finding one with an intact plastic windshield, like the red and brown blackwall model shown here that I picked up on eBay.

img_0315img_03161979 | 2505 | Auburn 852 | red with dark brown plastic fenders | Hong Kong | blackwalls

I have a few other variations – all missing their windshields – including this yellow and brown blackwall model from 1981 that I got from the Dealer.

img_0511img_05121981 | 2505 | Auburn 852 | yellow with brown plastic fenders | Hong Kong | blackwalls

I love the metalflake gold version with whitewalls from 1983 that I found on eBay.

img_8468img_84691983 | 2505 | Auburn 852 | metalflake gold with brown plastic fenders | Malaysia | white walls

And finally, another one from the Dealer, a red on red version with white walls from 1991.

img_0513 img_05141991 | 2527 | Auburn 852 | red with red plastic fenders | Malaysia | white walls