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 few 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

This last Hot Wheels model 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

Yet another open-wheel racer, this one a Matchbox Formula 1 Racer. First released in 1984, this popular model has been issued in about 35 different variations

Matchbox | 1984 | #16 F1 Racer | dark blue with white and red Bosch STP 20, red driver, chrome lettering on wheels | Macau

The lady who was taking money at the sale must have been a Benz fan, as she had this Matchbox Mercedes Benz 300E on her table and told me it was the “best one” of the bunch. The casting debuted in 1987 and features opening front doors.

Matchbox | 1987 | #58 | Mercedes Benz 300E | metallic light blue, dark blue interior, opening doors | 8-dot rims | made in Macau

 

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1984 Matchbox Models of Yesteryear Postes Canada Post Ford Model A Van

A few years back, my wife and son and I came across an estate sale in a home in Wichita’s Eastborough neighborhood. As I recall, several rooms of the house were filled with nice bookcases full of diecast collectibles. The models consisted of trucks, buses and delivery vans. It was an impressive collection and lots of fun to look through. My wife, who grew up in Ontario, pretends to hate estate sales and my car collecting habits in general. And yet, every time she came across a model with a livery that related to her home country, she would get excited and point it out to my son and I. So we took home with us a few nice Canadian-themed models from this collection.

The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear series, which started in 1956, was the brainchild of tooling engineer Jack Odell. Odell wanted to make models of antique trucks, buses and fire engines at a larger scale and more detailed than the 1-75 series.

The 1930 Ford Model A Van first appeared in the Models of Yesteryear series in 1982 and has seen at least 16 variations, decorated with everything from Coca Cola livery to the Washington Post branding. My 1:40 scale Postes Canada Post model has a 1984 copyright on the back of the box. I think it was in pristine shape when I first bought it, however, it ended up mixed in with some of my son’s toys for a few years and has lost some luster (though I was smart enough to save the original box.)

Matchbox | 1984 Models of Yesteryear | #38 Ford Model A Van | Postes Canada Post | red with black fenders, black roof | 1:40

I have read that in the UK and Australia, Models of Yesteryear are more seriously collected than the 1-75 series. However, due to lack of consistent distribution in the U.S., Models of Yesteryear are fairly unknown compared to the smaller scale Matchbox toys. In fact, I was not aware of the series until I came across this collector’s estate sale several years ago.

As I was photographing the box, I noticed a hand-written note inside the package flap.

Matchbox 1973 Speed Kings Ambulance

After my recent success at the Paramount Antique Mall on West Kellogg, I decided to check out the Paramount Marketplace. The Marketplace is the newest location in the enterprise, and it features a healthy dose of craft-related and new items mixed in with the antiques. The first time I visited, shortly after they opened, they had not yet filled up the interior of the former grocery store they occupy. Well, after a little over a year of being open, the 22,000 square feet is pretty full – having taken on some of the vendors who were previously in the now-closed Village Flea Market.

I found a display case in a back room that was mostly full of redline Hot Wheels. The redlines were not in pristine condition, but were still fairly expensive. I enjoyed looking at them, but wasn’t planning to buy anything. Then, in the same case, I spotted this Matchbox Speed Kings Ambulance, priced at $7. I found someone with a key to the case, looked it over, and took it home with me.

The first Matchbox King Size ambulance was the K-6 Mercedes Benz “Binz” Ambulance which first appeared in 1967. Though in later years the Binz did trade its black plastic wheels for something quicker, my K-49 Ambulance is clearly a product of the Superfast years, coming on the scene with it’s clean, modern lines in 1973. It features colorful graphics and an opening rear door.

Matchbox | 1973 | Speed Kings K-49 | Ambulance | white with red roof and red interior

My other Matchbox Speed Kings are the Fire Control Range Rover, the Javelin AMX and the Bertone Runabout.

Matchbox 1976 Site Dumper

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.

Matchbox | 1976 | 26 | Site Dumper | yellow with yellow dumper, black interior | Superfast wheels

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 keepers:

Hot Wheels

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 | $8

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

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.

1998 | Bronco 4-Wheeler | red with black and white Alaska Trek graphics, white plastic shell, black plastic motorcycle | Thailand | ctd | $2

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.

1998 | 1781 | Aeroflash | green with black and red 3 graphics | MY | 3sp

Matchbox

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.

1987 | #41 | Jaguar XJ6 | metallic red, opening doors | 8-dot rims | made in Macau | $1

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.

1989 | Ford Escort Cabriolet | metallic blue with white stripes and red 3 | laser wheels | made in Macau | $4

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.

2005 | Haunted Castle 5-pack | 1921 Ford Model T Van | dark blue with black roof, WOOA vampire graphics | black wood 12-spoke | made in China

 

Yatming

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.

No. 8317 Chevrolet Pick-up | red with gold, white and black “Chevy Sports Off-Roader” graphics, opening doors, pull-back motor | 1:43 | Made in Thailand

Zylmex

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.

Zylmex | Runway24 | RW150 USMC F4U Corsair USN | 1:130

Estate Sale Matchbox Speed Kings Range Rover

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.

Matchbox | 1978 | Speed Kings K-64 | Fire Control Range Rover | red with yellow and red Fire Control trim | Off-road wheels

I also have the Speed Kings Bertone Runabout and the Javelin AMX.