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.

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

hobbyDB

For several years, the South Texas Diecast website was my go-to for information on Hot Wheels. The site was home to the most complete online listing of Hot Wheels variations – compiled over 16 years by Diecast Hall of Famer, Robert Graves, Jr. – from the first redlines to the latest releases. In November of 2015, partly to ensure his database would live on, Graves decided to merge the STDC site into hobbyDB.

hobbyDB is more than diecast. The wiki-like site catalogs over 152,000 collectible items in over 30,000 subjects and claims nearly 10,000 users. With detailed descriptions of each item, not only is it a great source of information for the collector, users can also take advantage of the system to keep track of their own collections, create a wishlist, or buy and sell items as well.

Access to this amazing database is “free forever”, but hobbyDB relies on thousands of collectors to help keep the listings up-to-date and accurate. If you are a collector and you are interested in helping out, click this link for more information on becoming a hobbyDB curator.

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M2 Machines Chevy 60 Years of Turbo-Fire V8

Chevrolet introduced its innovative Turbo-Fire V8 engine in 1955. 60 years later, the small-block Chevy V-8 has found its way into just about every kind of vehicle – from race cars to off-road trucks to boats – and has become one of the most common and longest-produced domestic engines.

This fun, Walmart exclusive series from M2 Machines celebrates this amazing engine with 6 different models, including a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air 265, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, a 1958 Chevrolet Apache Cameo, a 1966 Chevrolet Corvette 327, a 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS 283 and a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 RS. As much as I like them all, I limited my purchase to the 1967 Nova SS 283.

IMG_66312015 WMTS01 | 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS 283 | bright gold with Turbo-Fire V8 60 year graphics

A companion series of Auto-Haulers – also Walmart exclusive – includes variations of the 1958 Chevrolet LCF hauling a 1966 Corvette, 1969 Camaro Z/28 and this 1958 Chevrolet Impala.

IMG_6871 IMG_6872 IMG_6873 IMG_68742015 Auto-Haulers S15 | 1959 Chevrolet LCF & 1958 Chevrolet Impala | bright gold with Turbo-Fire V8 60 year graphics

I also have in my collection a similar Auto-Hauler combo from the previous 100 Years of Chevrolet series.

M2 Machines Auto-Haulers 1958 Chevrolet LCF and 1958 Chevrolet Impala

The Auto-Haulers series from M2 Machines is one of my favorite series. Though I’ve only added two of them to my collection, I always enjoy looking at them when I see them in the stores. I found this 1958 Impala stretch limousine/1958 Chevy LCF at a Toys R Us the other day. It’s an interesting combination, with the audaciously flamed-out gold and black limo sitting atop a fairly understated black LCF flatbed – although the wide whitewalls that they both wear tie them together nicely.

img_5491img_5492img_5498img_5495img_54962014 Auto-Haulers R11 | 1958 Chevrolet LCF & 1958 Chevrolet Impala | gold with black & white flames

The other Auto-Haulers model that I have is part of the Chevrolet 100th anniversary series from 2011. As sharp as this pair is in pearl white and silver, there is also a chase car version that’s trimmed in gold.

img_5488img_5490img_5489img_54972011 Auto-Haulers R3 | 1959 Chevrolet Viking LCF & 1958 Chevrolet Impala | pearl white and silver, 100 year. graphics