I found this Matchbox Site Dumper in the same case at Paramount where I found the Peterbilt Tanker, and also paid $2.50 for it. It has a few paint chips, but makes a really nice companion to the Tractor Shovel and Sambron Jacklift that I found awhile back at the Village Flea Market. This all yellow with black interior Site Dumper was the first release of this model in 1976. It subsequently appeared in about 6 different color variations, the most valuable of which is an orange-red version.
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.
On a warm September day, I was cruising the neighborhood on my bike when I came across a garage sale. I started looking through a box of cars and right away found some interesting items. Rather than stand in the hot sun and pick through them all, I asked how much for the whole box. $3 was a good price, so I took them home and sorted them out in the comfort of my cool house. (My son was quick to point out that the cars were in a diaper box – something I had neglected to notice in the excitement of the moment.)
I picked out a few keepers and donated the rest to the neighborhood kindergarten for the Teacher’s Treasures box. Word is that the kids went a little crazy over all of the cars. Here are my keepers:
The Hot Wheels army half-track first appeared as Gun Bucket in the 1976 Flying Colors series. This black blackwall version is from the 1985 Action Command release as Tank Gunner. The guns are stressed but still intact, and the model is in otherwise good shape.
The Hot Wheels Crack-Ups, which debuted in 1985, were a series that had moving parts which, on impact, would change from clean to damaged. Bangster is from 1986 and shows the heavy playwear typical of cars from this series.
The success of the Crack-Ups inspired Flip Outs in 1986. These cars were fitted with a mechanism on the base that would cause the car to flip over on impact. Some had a side-hit flipper and others, like this Nissan 2000SX called Flippin’ Frenzy, had a rear-hit flipper, pictured below.
The Hot Wheels ’65 Mustang Convertible with an opening hood first appeared in 1984. This flourescent-colored variation from 1990 – missing the windshield – has been shipped to my friend, Hannah, who collects the Ford ponies.
The Hot Wheels Split Window ’63 Corvette was a Hi-Rakers model from its first release in 1980 until 1984. It was retooled in 1987 to give it a standard base, and again in 1995. There are almost as many name changes as there are paint/wheel variations. This black, purple and yellow version is a 1991 McDonald’s promo with a plastic base.
The Hot Wheels ’82 Supra first came out in 1983 and has only five variations. This dark red model with blackwalls from 1993 is from a Sto ‘n Go playset.
I’m stretching my “vintage” collection well into the 90’s with variations of blackwall-era cars already in my collection. The Hot Wheels Bronco 4-Wheeler is a classic originally released in 1981. This red version with striking black and white graphics is from 1998.
Aeroflash goes all the way back to 1975, when it was released as Large Charge. It also appeared in 1985 as Silver Bullet, which is the name cast into the metal base of this green, black and red version from 1998.
This well-loved, metallic red sedan is the first release of the Matchbox Jaguar XJ-6 which appeared from 1987 through 1989. It’s a fairly heavy car with nice opening doors.
The Matchbox Ford Escort Cabriolet is a fun model that first came along in 1985. This particular version is from the Laser Wheels series of the late 80s.
There are over 150 variations of the Matchbox 1921 Ford Model T Van. Unfortunately, this spooky model from the 2005 Haunted Castle 5-pack is missing a front wheel.
This 1:43 scale Yatming Chevrolet Pick-up features a pull-back motor and opening doors. I shipped this one off to my friend Brad, who collects Jeeps, pick-ups and off-road vehicles.
Finally, I’ve always loved the WWII-era F4U Corsair, so I kept this 1:130 scale fighter, which was made by Zylmex and sold under the Runway24 brand.
I found this nice Matchbox King Size, along with another larger (than 1:64) scale model, at an estate sale back in July. They were marked $4 each, but it was half-price day, so I got both for $4.
Matchbox King Size models (in the 1:43 scale range) were introduced in 1960 and most featured moving parts or opening doors. In 1971, the King Size range was separated into Super Kings and Speed Kings. This Speed Kings Fire Control Range Rover is from 1978 and features lots of nice details, off-road wheels and an opening tailgate. It was originally sold in a box that would have included two firefighters, a ladder and a section of hose that could be attached to the vehicle at the front or the back.
My brother Joe is doing some salvage work these days, and when I saw him at my family reunion in June, he brought me a bag of cars he had found in a house he was tasked with cleaning out.
This Hot Wheels Dumpin’ A was coated with grime and had what appeared to be a chunk of modeling clay stuck in the back. I used a popsicle stick to remove most of the clay, then dissolved the rest with vegetable oil. After going over the rest of the car with a damp Q-tip, I had myself a pretty sharp car!
This Dumpin’ A from 1980, with its orange paint and yellow plastic dumper, is the opposite brother to the first casting from 1979, which is yellow with an orange dumper.
After looking over the rest of the cars in the bunch, I realized none of them would clean up well. So I decided to photograph them just as is. I often wonder about the history of the cars I acquire. How many previous owners did they have? Were any of them ever a child’s favorite toy? I’ve lived a pretty good life and have a hard time imagining the circumstances that would cause a family to leave a home with belongings still in it. I suspect these cars have some interesting stories they could tell.
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.
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.
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.
I try pretty hard to keep my collection focused. There are a lot of items out there that tempt me, but I can usually resist. Recently, while searching for Impalas in the bins of Hot Wheels at the local consignment shop where my wife found the HotWheels.com 5-pack, I failed to stay focused. This First Edition Matchbox Delivery Truck from 2000 reminded me a little bit of the Dodge Cattle Truck from my youth. And the cheerful crowing rooster art on the sides just made me smile.