A New Look For the New Year

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.

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Auto World 2017 Vintage Muscle 1970 Chevrolet Impala

The summer before my senior year in high school, I did some work for my older brother, Joe, to earn a car to drive. The Impala he loaned me to use was similar in some ways to this Auto World 2017 Vintage Muscle 1970 Impala. But in many ways, it was very different.

This is a 1970, the car I drove was a 1969.

This is a two-door, the ’69 was a four-door.

This Auto World model – Vintage Muscle Release 1, version A – is painted a beautiful Mulsanna blue. My brother’s car was brown with highlights of rust.

This has a black top. The car from my youth had a tan vinyl top that was peeling off in places.

This car has a nice, clean, straight body. The car I drove had been rear-ended by a tow truck and the trunk was held shut with a bungee cord.

Even though my high school Impala was not as nice as this, this model brings back some fond memories. And at the time I sure appreciated having the use of it that old Impala – that is, when I could manage to get it started.

Vintage Muscle Premium 2017 R1 Version A | 1970 Chevrolet Impala | Mulsanna blue with flat black roof

Auto World Vintage Muscle R5 1966 Chevy Impala SS

It seems the folks over at Auto World have been busy. I was happy to have found both sets A and B of the Vintage Muscle Premium Series Release 5 1966 Chevy Impala SS, only to realize there are also sets C and D. I really like the willow green of set A.

img_9205 img_92082016 Vintage Muscle R5 Set A | 1966 Chevy Impala SS | willow green

Despite the fact that some sellers on eBay are trying to pass this off as a rare “chase car,” I believe this regal red version is the common color under set B.

img_9648 img_96492016 Vintage Muscle R5 Set B | 1966 Chevy Impala SS | regal red

I’ll be on the lookout for the ’66 Impalas from R5, sets C and D, which are mist blue Aztec bronze.

Also of interest to Impala lovers, the Auto World website is showing a 1970 Chevrolet Impala in the Premium 2017 Release 1. Set A is Mulsanna blue with a flat black roof and set B is Gobi beige with a flat black roof.

 

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

Target Exclusive M2 Machines 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS

We walked into Target last night to buy some eggs and boy was I surprised what I found in the toy section. I was making my usual beeline to the Hot Wheels when I stopped about halfway down the aisle. The entire midsection was taken up by pegs full of M2 Machines, Auto World and even the new Johnny Lightning models! I’m glad to see Target is expanding their offerings. This line of M2s is even a Target exclusive, as you can see by the snipe on the front of the package. Apparently this line of M2 Machines is being introduced this month at 400 stores nationwide.

IMG_7510 IMG_75112016 Auto-Drivers TGS01 | 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS 15-34 | silver with orange stripe

Auto World Vintage Muscle 1966 Chevy Impala SS Set B

Last week, my family and I made a Spring Break trip down to Shreveport, Louisiana to visit family. We spent the better part of one day visiting just about every thrift store we could find. Though my son and I found some Hot Wheels tracks, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t come across any old cars. But, at one point I took a break from the thrift, wandered into a Wal*Mart and found this nice blue Auto World Impala to go with the burgundy version that I found awhile back.

Now that I have both Set A and B, I only have the exclusive chase cars to find. I was interested to see that, in addition to the Ultra-Red version, Auto World is also making an Ultra-Raw version which is akin to the Zamac versions of Hot Wheels. Given the apparent rarity of either of these, I’d be curious to hear from anyone who actually found one in a store.

img_3235img_3234Auto World Vintage Muscle Premium Series | 1966 Chevy Impala SS | blue

Auto World Vintage Muscle 1966 Chevy Impala SS

I was a little surprised to find a display of Auto World cars at WalMart last weekend. I had seen some photos of the brand online, but hadn’t come across any in the stores. I was also glad to see they’re making a 1966 Chevy Impala. Of all the many dozens of Impalas in my collection made by many different brands, I think I only have one other 1966.

Auto World has an interesting history that I wasn’t familiar with. Started in 1958 by Oscar Koveleski as a mail order hobby business, the company grew to include plastic model kits, paint, hobby tools, scratch-building supplies and small-scale slot racing cars. Though the company’s only retail store in Scranton, Pa., closed it’s doors in the mid-1980s, the rights to the Auto World name were purchased in 2005 by Tom Lowe, the founder of Playing Mantis and the man responsible for the 1994 resurrection of Johnny Lightning. Auto World has been marketing slot cars and model kits, as well as 1:18 scale diecast replicas.

This new line of “true” 1:64 scale cars is nicely detailed, with opening hoods and real rubber tires. There are three levels of Auto World cars: Deluxe, with a blister card only; Premium, which includes a “collectible mini-box”; and Licensed Premium, which comes in a plastic display case on a blister card. Also, each casting is made in three colors, including an “exclusive UltraRed chase vehicle.” As a nice added feature, the Auto World Garage website allows you to keep track your collection online and the site shows photos of all castings and variations of each release.

I’m sure I’ll be on the lookout for the other two variations of this nice 1966 Impala.

Auto World Vintage Muscle Premium Series | 1966 Chevy Impala SS | burgundy