Hot Wheels Posts

Everyone Needs to Own this Casting! (At Least I Think So!)

by Ron Ruelle

by Ron Ruelle

I had a conundrum at the store the other day… Looking at a freshly unboxed display of Hot Wheels, I was overwhelmed by how many ’71 Buick Rivieras were there. As you may have ascertained from earlier posts, this is my favorite casting, mostly because I own a real example of this car.

In some instances, I would have scooped them all up to give them a good home, but in this case, I already have several of this particular variant: a couple in packages, one on a short card, a couple loose ones to play with (home and office), maybe one or two to sell, and one that has been disassembled for custom work.

So what’s a fanboy and devoted collector to do? As much as I love these, it’s not like it’s a Super Treasure Hunt, it’s just a cool mainline car. I own plenty of them for now.

1971 Buick Riviera Hot Wheels

I decided to place them all front and center and top of the display, hoping others would cotton to this model. In fact, as one mother impatiently waited for her son to pick out one car to pacify him as they shopped, I suggested one of these. She looked at me kinda funny and scurried away. But the kid did indeed snag one of them.

So my question to you, fellow collectors… have you ever done anything like this? What do you do when you encounter your all time favorite model, but really don’t need to bring more of them home? Let me know below!

Jim Garbaczewski, Hot Wheels Collector for Life

Tomart Hot Wheels

Jim is one of the editors of the Tomart’s Price Guide to Hot Wheels and a member of the hobbyDB Advisory Board.

Jim Garbaczewski started collecting Hot Wheels cars at an early age… early in the product’s lifetime. He got his first cars in 1968, when the original Redlines came out, and was instantly hooked.

“I picked up one of everything from 1968 to about 1974,” he says.”For several years, I only bought the ones I really liked. In ’89 or so, I got back into collecting in a serious way.” Over the years he has managed to fill in that 15 year gap and has stayed on top of new models ever since.

If his name sounds familiar, you might know him as one of the editors of Tomart’s Price Guide to Hot Wheels or as the publisher and editor of the Hot Wheels Newsletter. Jim’s Hot Wheels pedigree is also put to good use as a member of the hobbyDB Advisory Board.

40,000 Hot Wheels might sound excessive, but consider the fact that Jim used to collect action figures as well. “I had to make a decision, and in the late ‘90s, I started selling the figures.” His favorite castings include the original Redline Custom El Dorado (his early favorite), the ’69 Pontiac GTO (he used to drive one), and any Volkswagen Beetles (too many different castings to even list). For those three cars, he will also collect models from other brands and in other scales.

As a kid he got a lot enjoyment racing and playing with the cars, so it’s no surprise his collection contains a large number of vehicles out of their blisters. “A lot of times, I’d rather scoot a loose car around on my desk than stare at a bunch of packages on the wall.” Some things never change.

KMJ Diecast Moves Store (& 40,000 Hot Wheels) to hobbyDB

“I started this website in 1997 to show off my collection,” says Kirk Smith of KMJ Diecast. It was just a hobby at the time, along with customizing various Hot Wheels models.

Some of Kirk's Chevy Nomads

Kirk’s Chevy Nomads

Then he started selling his extras on the site. Then it became a full time job. And somewhere along the way, KMJ became one of the most successful independent dealers in Hot Wheels.  After 15 years with ChannelAdvisor Kirk had wanted to find a better, more modern platform.

KMJ Diecast on ChannelAdvisor

KMJ Diecast on ChannelAdvisor

Kirk started looking for a new platform for selling. After weighing the pros and cons of various other platforms and initially going with a GoDaddy solution and then with Shopify, he decided the best choice was to open a store on hobbyDB.com. As the fastest growing collector site on the web, hobbyDB’s catalog, database and marketplace for anything and everything collectible were a no-brainer for someone like Kirk. Especially since Kirk was invited to  work very closely with the hobbyDB dev team to make sure that the all important back-end features are soon as good as what is in the front-end.

kmj diecast hobbydb hot wheels seller

The new KMJ Diecast on hobbyDB

As a bonus, hobbyDB also offered a clearer, more easily managed site that is a huge upgrade over the design KMJ had been using. Inventory can be categorized infinite ways, and the store is easily searchable by customers.

20150811_184553

Some of KMJ’s Stock waiting for a new owner

The hobbyDB team has been working long hours to help bring the KMJ inventory over to the new storefront before the current deal runs out. “I cannot say in words how grateful I am for their help,” said Kirk. “Everybody has put in 12 hour days to help move 40,000 plus Hot Wheels onto hobbyDB.  The site is getting better literally every day.  It’s very ambitious to want 100 billion collectibles on one site, but if anyone can do it I believe it’s these guys.”  Thanks, Kirk!

To Open or Not to Open? That is the Question

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

What you see in this photo is either a crime against collecting or a strike in favor of treating toys like, well, toys. This 1968 Hot Wheels Custom El Dorado was  recently “liberated” from its original blister by the owner. Finding one of these cars in good condition is fairly rare; finding one in the package is the holy grail.

68 Custom El Dorado Hot Wheels

Run free, little El Dorado, run free!

Part of the reason that vintage Hot Wheels are so valuable today is that to kids of that era, “collect them all” meant to obtain one of each, open them up, and play with them. Run them down that orange track, crash them together, bury them in the sandbox. The memories are real and the number of perfect copies are truly limited now. We didn’t buy them as investments, but some of them turned out that way.

With modern Hot Wheels, I often buy two of a car I like… one to open, and one to keep in the package. In fact, for the one I plan to open, I try to find an example with a cracked blister or a bent, creased card as if I am rescuing it from a far worse fate. (On a couple of occasions, I even got a discount!)

The question is, at what point is something old enough or rare enough that removing it from the package is an act of insanity? Or another way to look at it: How damaged must the packaging be before it’s not even worth keeping? Or: How valuable must a collectible be that the condition or existence of the packaging almost doesn’t matter?

A close look at the El Dorado in question shows that even in its plastic cocoon, the silver and red on the tires rubbed off quite a bit. And maybe the collector had a better carded version anyway. Either way, it’s his collection and he can do what he pleases.

If you saw “Toy Story 2,” a pivotal point of the film was whether vintage toys should be played with until they disintegrate or be placed on a shelf, forever preserved but sadly, eerily alone and still. In the end, *SPOILER ALERT* Woody and Buzz and gang decide it would be worth it to live on as playthings. One of the ironies of the “Toy Story 2” debate is that many action figures were produced from the movie, and there’s a good chance many collectors preserved theirs in the box.

So, what’s the oldest/rarest sealed diecast vehicle you have ever opened up? Let us know in the comments!

Wheel Types, Baseplate Materials, Glass Color and other Details

hobbyDB recently added some new fields to our listings for several categories, such as Model Cars, to allow users to specify Baseplate Material, Baseplate Color, Glass Color, Wheel Type, and Wheel Color.

To some people this might sound obsessive, but to folks who collect certain brands like Hot Wheels, Playart, and Matchbox, these differences matter a lot. For example, Hot Wheels often releases the first few variants of a car with a metal baseplate, but later versions will switch to plastic.

For brands that have many well documented Wheel Types, we are constructing lists for you to pick from. Hot Wheels has its own page of over 30 different types, and similar lists are in the works soon for Matchbox, Majorette, and Playart.

The categories that now include these options are

  • Model Buses
  • Model Cars
  • Model Racing Cars
  • Model Trucks
  • Model Trailers & Caravans

If you are unsure of what to put, you can leave any of these fields blank.