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!

Comments (1 Comment)
Elizabeth

Although I recognize the value of collector items still in the package, there is no way a toy car is staying in the package at my house. The 7 year old has very strong feelings about letting the toys out to play.

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See the Future with these Matchbox Pre-Production Models

This is the Ambassador’s Report from the Matchbox Gathering, July 22nd, 2015. Lots of new models were announded for 2016, some of which you can see below.

This Volkswagen 1990 Crew Cab Transports, aka "Doka" is coming soon from Matchbox.

This Volkswagen 1990 Crew Cab Transports, aka “Doka” is coming soon from Matchbox.

By Larry Scaduto
INTRODUCTION

Good day to everyone! This report is the one you have been waiting for! We all get to see the new product for the rest of this year and into the following year. 2015 has been a year of change! There’s a new Matchbox Team in place, although the faces may have changed, the desire to improve the brand has never been more of a priority than it is today. Dave Weise, Michael Heralda and the rest of the gang set the wheels in motion to put Matchbox back on track. Gerry Cody and his team will keep going what these fine gentlemen started. 2016 models are already selected and 2017 is now the focus with collectors in mind. The proof of this is in the desire of Matchbox to listen to our ideas. The results of the Collector’s Poll are in this report. These are the models voters decided they would like to see made and the candidates will be posted in the War Room for consideration. Well I’ve talked enough for now. Onto the Gathering Report.

Thank you for reading…..Larry

2015 Matchbox Gathering Report

2015 & 2016 are looking great by what I’ve seen and heard. Not only did the dinner presentation provide us with a lot of information, but the seminar before that hosted by the Matchbox Team was an informal meeting of the minds that revealed even more information! Let’s jump right in shall we???? Matchbox is now under a new umbrella (or group) that is called The Toy Box! What that means to us is that we are no longer associated with the blue brand and that will give us freedom to pursue just about any model we wish without approval from them. Now it’s up to Mattel to let MBX accomplish this without restrictions. Are you listening Mattel??? To start out in mid-August there will be an exclusive Jeep Collection available at Wal-Mart.

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The Cisitalia 202 Might be the most Beautiful Car at the Petersen

Cisitalia_1947(1)

Italy is known for its many stunning automotive designs, so when one stands out above all the others, is must be exceptional. Consider this Cisitalia 202 Coupe, part of the Petersen Automotive Museum collection.

Most people have never heard of Consorzio Industriale Sportiva Italia, even by its shorter moniker Cisitalia. They started by building single sear race cars, and branded out to build limited production cars based on Fiat mechanicals with custom coachwork. In 1947, the company released the 202 Coupe, considered one of the most perfectly designed  cars of that or any other era. It was one of the first cars to cohesively combine the passenger compartment, trunk and mechanicals into a single integrated package instead of treating them as separate components.

Cisitalia_1947(2)

The Pininfarina design was so successful that it was featured at the Museum of Modern Art’s first ever exhibit on automotive design in 1951. In fact, one remains as part of their permanent collection.

Prefect design does not necessarily equal sales success, however. Only 170 of these aluminum bodies masterpieces were produced before the company folded.

Cisitalia_1947_Detail(1)

The maroon 202 shown here is part of the collection at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The Petersen is dedicated to the exploration and presentation of the automobile and its impact on American life and culture using Los Angeles as the prime example.

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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.

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Diecast Customizers Add Style to hobbyDB

Who hasn’t thought about repainting a Hot Wheels car at some point, only to find it’s not as easy as it sounds? At hobbyDB, we have met a number of folks who have perfected the art of modifying their diecast vehicles to the point that even the experts do a double take when they see them.
We have vehicles from Chris Walker who works as “Night Stalker”. Luis Tanahara has worked in miniature and full-size for Boyd Coddington. Vince Mosely (AKA Vman) creates customs, notably custom drag buses, blown deliveries and Atomic Punk customs. There’s JSR Code3 Models who bases his work on Corgi Toys and other 1/43 scale donors. Chris Stangler Customs specializes in short run 1/64 scale models. Keep an eye out for more customizers soon!
04_Carte
03_andyGoodman
02_mike-
01_bruce_pascal

 

We are happy to feature the work of some of these customizers on our site, both to catalog their work and to provide the opportunity for you to acquire them.

 

Custom Truck
vman 53 custom
Custom Drag Bus

Custon Crew Sledster

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