More is Better

In order to continue bringing you selections from my growing collection, I’ve made some changes to my blog. The Race Case is now four different sites:

  • This site, the original The Race Case is dedicated to my collection of Hot Wheels
  • The Race Case MBX shows my collection of Matchbox cars
  • The Race Case JL is for my Johnny Lightning brand models
  • and The Race Case, Etc. is the catch-all for any other brands in my collection including Tomica, Majorette, Husky/Corgi and many others.

If you follow this site through Facebook or Twitter, posts from all of my sites will continue to publish through those venues. If you follow The Race Case on the WordPress Reader, you may wish to click the above links to the new sites and add each one to your Reader.

All of the existing content has been moved to the appropriate site and I’ve spent a lot of time combing through the new sites, trying to fix broken links and missing images. If you do find anything out of order, please comment so that I’ll know to fix it.

Thanks for your continued support of The Race Case!

1985 Hot Wheels Super Cannon and Flea Market Finds

While making a run through the Wichita Community Market last month, I came across a shelf full of cars. Normally I would have passed on some of these, but the man at the booth was determined to make me a deal on the entire lot. We settled on $12 and he was even nice enough to find me some newspaper to wrap them in.

The cleanest of the bunch, with all of its plastic parts intact, is this Hot Wheels Super Cannon. The casting first appeared in 1982 as Megadestroyer 1 and Megadestroyer 2 – merchandising for the movie Megaforce. This model is the first variation of Super Cannon from 1985, with 5 variations to follow. In 1996 it became Enforcer, which is still going strong and can be found in about two dozen more variations.

With its black blackwalls, it makes a nice companion for my 1985 Hot Wheels Tank Gunner.

Hot Wheels | 1985 | 9373 | Super Cannon | olive with light green, brown and tan camouflage | MY | black bs

Earlier this year, I landed a Hot Wheels Malibu Gran Prix on eBay. This one is the identical version from 1982, except that it is even more playworn and was cast in Malaysia rather than Hong Kong.

Hot Wheels | 1982 | 9037 | Malibu Gran Prix | black with red, yellow and blue trim | MY | BW

Someday I’d like to have a nice example of an early blackwall Hot Wheels CAT Forklift in my collection, but this is not it. Although it is the 1981 variation with Cv80 cast into the sides, it is missing both its yellow plastic forks as well as the black plastic roll cage.

The only other Hot Wheels forklift I have in my collection is the Marcus Construction version from 2000 – though I do have a nice Matchbox forklift from my childhood collection.

Hot Wheels | 1981 Hot Wheels Workhorses | 1168 | CAT Forklift | yellow, no tampo, Cv80 in casting, missing plastic cage and forks | MY | bs

Another Hot Wheels casting I’m familiar with is the Rig Wrecker. I have a fun but playworn blackwall version from 1983 as well as the airship tug from my excellent 1994 Blimp & Support Team 5-Pack.

This particular 7-spoke Rig Wrecker is from the 1997 Hot Wheels Auto City 5-Pack, which would have included a Fire Eater, Sheriff Patrol, Mazda MX-5 Miata, and a Peterbilt Dump Truck.

Hot Wheels | 1997 Auto City 5-Pack | 3917 | Rig Wrecker | white with blue, red and yellow tampo, gray plastic tow hook | MY | 7sp

Click here to see the non-Hot Wheels brand models I found at the flea market.

 

1979 Hot Wheels S.W.A.T. Van and other Estate Sale Finds

I’m a big fan of the Hot Wheels Scene Machines, so when I found this S.W.A.T. Van at an estate sale recently, I took it home with me even though I already have one. And since it was half-price day, I took home a couple other interesting models as well. The 1979 S.W.A.T. Van is based on the Letter Getter from 1977, but like all Scene Machines, it has a lens embedded in the back so you can peer inside to see what’s happening in the interior.

Hot Wheels | 1979 | 2854 | S.W.A.T. Van (Scene Machines) | dark enamel blue with white & orange trim | HK | bs

This Scene Machine has a lot of dust inside, so the image isn’t particularly clear, but I’m including a photo here of the scene inside of my other S.W.A.T. Van.

Continuing my recent trend of finding open-wheel race cars, I nabbed this 1993 version of  Thunderstreak. It’s from the short-lived Hot Wheels Pro Circuit series, a collection of cars that came with special wheels and a collector card in an oversized blister pack. I might have to attempt some repairs to the bent front wing and axles, but the Al Unser Jr. Valvoline livery takes me back to my days of watching Indy car races at Phoenix International Raceway in the late 1980s.

Hot Wheels | 1993 | 2690 | Pro Circuit Series | Indy (Thunderstreak) | blue, white and red with Valvoline Al Unser Jr trim | China | PC6 chrome

And finally, this is the second well-worn 1968 Custom Fleetside I’ve added to my collection. Both are missing the plastic bed cover, but this one is even more beat-up and is also missing a rear wheel. Still, who can resist one of the original 16 – especially the Fleetside, which was the first casting designed by Harry Bradley, who based the model on his own daily driver?

Hot Wheels | 1968 | 6213 | Custom Fleetside | Spectraflame purple, missing box cover, missing wheel | HK | rl

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.

3-Dollar Box

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 Hot Wheels 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.

1985 | 9347 | Action Command | Tank Gunner | olive with brown, green and tan camouflage | MY | black BW

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.

1986 | 7582 | Crack-Ups | Bangster | lime green with orange, red and yellow graphics | MY | BW

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.

1986 | Flip Outs | Flippin’ Frenzy | yellow with purple, red and white graphics | HK | BW

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.

1990 | 4980 | Freeway Frenzy Set | ’65 Mustang Convertible | fluorescent orange with blue and white wave graphics, pink interior | MY | blue hub TW | $10

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.

1991 | McDonald’s promo | Split Window ’63 | black with purple and yellow graphics, gray plastic base | MY | bw | $4

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.

1996 | 3925 | Sto ‘n Go set | ’82 Supra | dark red | China | bw | $5

Hot Wheels 1980 Dumpin’ A and Other Salvage Finds

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.

1980 Hot Wheels | Dumpin’ A | orange with yellow dumper, yellow, orange and red trim | HK | bw

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.

1991 Hot Wheels | ’57 T-Bird | red with green, blue and pink trim, gray plastic base | MY | bw

1991 Hot Wheels | Bronco 4-Wheeler | white with black stripes, missing camper shell (Ecolab Pest Control promo) | MY | bw

1994 Hot Wheels | Back Burner | red with grey plastic engine (McDonald’s giveaway) | plastic 5-spoke

1999 Hot Wheels | Trail Runner | lime green (McDonald’s giveaway) | 5SP

2002 Hot Wheels | 40 Somethin’ | yellow with white and black trim | MY | PR5

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 some nice 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

Click here to see the Matchbox BMW M1 and here to see the nice pair of Tomica models I also found.