Collecting Posts

Hue Must Be Kidding: More Diecast Cars That Look Odd In Other Colors

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Awhile back, we compiled a list of model cars that looked strange in certain colors.

hot wheels buick grand nationalA few, like the DeLorean DMC, only existed in one color in the real world. Some, like the Red Baron, had obvious color choices in their names. Here are a few more diecast cars that might make you want to adjust your eyeballs.

Buick Grand National
The real ones came in other colors besides black, right? You’re certain you’ve seen them in white and maybe silver? You’re thinking of the Regal T-Type, a slightly less potent but still turbocharged Regal variant. Those could be had in a few other colors. But not the Grand National and certainly not the GNX, the most amped-up version of that car. Diecast companies have played fast and loose with other tones for years anyway.

1938 Phantom Corsair

hot wheels phantom corsairThis sleek concept car was designed by Rust Heinz of the famous ketchup family. Instead of tomato red, the Phantom Corsair was midnight black, and since there was only one produced, it looks odd in any other color. Especially with colorful graphics.

McLaren M6A

hot wheels mclarenIn real life, this CanAm legend could be seen in a few different liveries, but when you hear the name “McLaren” in racing, your mind likely sees a bright, yet pale hue of orange. One of the early Just-Outside-the-Original-16-Redline cars, Hot Wheels offered this model in every SpectraFlame color. And eventually, they did an enamel orange variant that looks pretty close to what you expect.

Chevrolet Mako Sharks

mako shark playart topperThe original Mako Shark concepts cars were designed to show what upcoming C2 and C3 Corvette models would look like if they wore shark costumes. Not really, but there was a definite tiburon theme going on, with exhausts in the places where gills and fins might go, sharp, pointed grill/mouths, and silver/blue paint schemes evoking the colors of a Mako Shark. Playart offered the earlier version in a bunch of non-shark colors. Topper was among several companies that made models of the second Shark concept, in every color except “shark.” Aurora also offered the second car as an early ThunderJet slot car molded in all their standard tones.

Chevrolet StingRays

sitingray hot wheels auto artSpeaking of Corvette concepts, the 1957 Stingray race car, which previewed the C2 styling, and the 2009 Stingray (C7) both only existed in silver. None of that has stopped diecast companies from producing both of them in other, more garish hues. Meanwhile, the 1992 Stingray III concept was a very 1990s purple, but has been produced in several less garish but nonetheless strange colors.

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

hot wheels wienermobile“I wish I drove an Oscar Mayer wiener…” There have been numerous generations of the giant tube steak on wheels over the years, but what they all have in common is their general shape their colors. Yellow bun fenders with a, well, meat-colored sausage body. Several companies have made models of the Wienermobile over the years, but only Hot Wheels has dared to get creative with the coloring, including chrome and NASCAR themed versions.

Goodyear Blimp

hot wheels blimpThis one might be a stretch… in 1992, Hot Wheels introduced a casting called “Goodyear Blimp” with revolving signage. It was appropriately colored silverish-gray with the expected logos. The casting has been released in other color schemes, although they solved this by changing the name to just “Blimp.” Also, it’s not a car.

The Batmobile

christmas batmobileWhen George Barris was given three weeks to create a car for the Batman TV series, one of the things he didn’t have to think about was the color. It had to be black with some red pinstripes, no further consideration needed. But Hot Wheels has taken the paint gun to several generations of Batmobiles, such as the dark blue Burton era Treasure Hunt car. The TV car has been done in holiday colors, chrome, and all kinds of hues.

Of course, sometimes a diecast car seems to be an unexpected color, but nope, it actually does have some basis in reality. We’ll look at some of those in an upcoming article.

Can you think of any other diecast cars that look odd in certain colors? Let us know in the comments!

Garbage Time! The Original Garbage Pail Kids Live On At hobbyDB

garbage pail kids completeWe’ve been digging through piles of Garbage at hobbyDB headquarters, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Piles of Garbage Pail Kids collectibles, that is.

At hobbyDB, we want to be the go-to place to research and document anything and everything collectible. So even though we started with an emphasis on diecast vehicles (especially Hot Wheels), we’ve been able to dig deep into other areas. And to that end, we’ve finished documenting the GPK cards through OS15 (That’s Original Series 15). The OS cards go through 1988, but won’t be the end of it.

Matt Oldweiler, who runs the GeePeeKay.com website, is crucial to this project. hobbyDB was able to access his extensive (one could say darn near 100 percent complete) list of anything and everything related to the Kids. He has been collecting the cards since 1985 when they first came out. He’s a recent addition to the hobbyDB Advisory Council.

garbage pail kids allBy adding his archive to ours, collectors can cross reference between all kinds of collectibles that fall out of the range of GeePeeKay’s scope.

Andy Goodman has also been instrumental in the project. If his name sounds familiar in hobby circles, he is a big time collector of all kinds of diecast. Turns out he has a thing for Garbage Pail Kids as well. Like many of us, he collects collections.

Chris Wuensch, Data Team Manager at hobbyDB, leads the effort to get the entire GPK line into the database. As it turns out, he’s been an avid collector since he was a kid, too. “I can still remember sitting in the car in the Grand Union parking lot opening my first GPK packs as a kid,” he said. “We’re talking Original Series 1 in 1985. I still have about 75 to 100 cards from those early series. The appeal was through the roof back then, especially for a nine year old. Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage, so the GPK cards were a nice counter-balance for boys who didn’t want a doll.”

The Garbage Pail Kids began in 1985, as a parody of the enormously popular Cabbage Patch Kids. Despite legal threats from the doll company, Topps was able to continue making the cards, and they have been in and out of production ever since. After a hiatus, the Garbage Pail Kids made a comeback in 2003, and hobbyDB is already at work adding those and the more recent ones to the database as well.

garbage pail kids allOne interesting thing about collecting GPK cards… there are at least two versions of each character card. Topps decided right from the start that there would be a pair of names attached to each illustration, each being an equally terrible pun on the misfortune being shown. So Adam Bomb, who became the brand’s unofficial mascot, is also known as Blasted Billy.  Or sad skateboarder Hurt Curt is also known as Pat Splat.

In most cases, it would seem that one name is no rarer than the other, but there are some unintended exceptions. Double Heather and Schizo Fran were released as part of OS2, a two-headed girl fighting with herself. Advocates for mental health took exception to the term “schizo,” so Topps agreed and changed that one to Fran Fran shortly after. Shizo Fran is one of the rarest of all GPK cards as a result, but since Fran Fran only got a partial print run, she is on the rare side as well.

garbage pail kids list

Even Garbage Pail Kids have reasonable limits on their sense of good taste.

Throw in the fact that some cards were available as glossy or flat, and the number of variants really start to add up. Also, the backs of the cards can differ as well, featuring certificates, puzzle pieces, or other fun bits. Some versions might have a checklist (as a kid, these were boring, but as an adult collector, they are valuable, especially if they haven’t bee unchecked).

garbage pail kids backsThe Garbage Pail Kids are a collectible phenomenon that won’t die. And if it did, they would probably make a card of a character commemorating it.

What are your favorite Garbage Pail Kids collectibles? Let us know in the comments!

Garbage Collector: Meet Matt Oldweiler, Garbage Pail Kids Connoisseur

garbage pail kids adam bomb

Oldweiler doesn’t care to share photos of himself, so enjoy this image of Adam Bomb instead.

Snark and shock have always been profitable forms of entertainment, from Mad Magazine to “South Park” to fail compilations on Youtube. In the mid 1980s, one particualr brand really stood out for its trashy nature. Garbage Pail Kids hit the scene as a parody of the Cabbage Patch kids and in all honestly had a longer cultural impact than than the subject of their satire.

GeePeeKay.com is the brainchild of Matt Oldweiler, who has been an avid collector of GPK stuff since he was a kid. ‘I was 10 years old when I saw my first Garbage Pail Kids sticker (Dead Ted), and I was instantly hooked,” he said. ‘They were this perfect storm of everything my little brain could handle. GPK were little pieces of artwork that were both funny and gross…they were hated by teachers and despised by parents…and every kid in their right mind was obsessing about them 24/7.”

garbage pail kids

Oldweiler’s office is full of all sorts of GPK items.

As one of the foremost experts on a popular collectible, Oldweiler, is now also a member of the hobbyDB Advisory Council.

He began collecting in 1985, the original heyday of the stickers. “Pretty much every waking minute of 1986 was spent looking at my collection, and doing whatever I could to make that collection bigger. I took a little break in the 90s (although I still picked up some items at the occasional card show), but jumped back in with both feet in 2003 and haven’t slowed down since.”

garbage pail kids

Binder after binder of valuable garbage!

Time to mention the elephant in the room of this cultural wonder/wasteland… The “Garbage Pail Kids Movie,” which opened to terrible reviews and bad box office. Surprisingly, he doesn’t hate it. “I’ve been a fan of the GPK movie since day one, and still have the collector cards that they handed out at the theater when I saw it way back in 1987,” he said. “And sure, the movie is @#%ing terrible, but that’s part of what makes it so awesome! Unfortunately I think the original movie is SO BAD that it has ruined any chance at a new version.  But if by some miracle it DID happen I think a lot of fun could be had with a ‘Roger Rabbit’ style approach of mixing animation and live-action together. Maybe one day…

garbage pail kids

Just a few of the cards in Oldweilwer’s collection.

His collection is partly on display in his office. “For decades I kept almost my entire collection in boxes. Sure…it was safe and secure, but I found that I wasn’t getting the enjoyment out of it that I wanted, he said. “So a few years ago I made a conscious decision to display more of my collection and began work on redesigning my home-office (GeePeeKay HQ).  Today I have close to 25% of my collection on display, and I am constantly adding something new to the shelves and walls!”

garbage pail kids

Is this a museum in a workspace or the other way around?

An exact count of GPK items would be hard to calculate, but Oldweiler says it’s in the thousands rather than hundreds. “Over the years I’ve managed to assemble a collection that includes every sticker and (almost) every toy from the 80s, foreign albums and stickers, comic books, skateboards, plush and vinyl figures, and much much more. Although it’s nearly complete there is always SOMETHING out there to add!”

garbage pail kids

Oldweiler collects a few other things as well, including Star Wars and TMNT.

In addition to GPK items, he has collected a, well, collection of collections. “It would be easier to list the things I have NOT collected over the years. For as long as I can remember I’ve collected Star Wars and Disney memorabilia, but I also have a hard time avoiding the occasional Kidrobot/vinyl toy purchase.”

Over thirty years later, the Garbage Pail Kids are still going strong, certainly more successful than the pudgy dolls they satirized back in the ’80s. FunKo has even commemorated some of the trashier entries in the catalog in Pop! form.

hobbyDB hopes to have his entire collection added to our site soon, closing a big gap in our ever-growing database. In case you were wondering, maintaining his vast online library isn’t his actual job. He’s an engineer at a “large telecommunications firm near Denver” when he’s not collecting.  As for his favorite piece in his collection, the answer might surprise you. “My favorite piece in my collection is card #84a JOE Blow,” Oldweiler  said. “Monetarily it’s worth about a buck, but sentimentally it’s priceless.” Spoken like a true collector.

Citroën DS: A History Through Model Cars

A Guest Blog from Patrick Wehr, owner of Pat’s Modellauto and carcollectorsgarage.com and also a Curator and Champion at hobbyDB.

 

The Citroën DS19 was the successor of the Traction Avant and was first presented at the Paris Motor Show on October 5, 1955. During the first 15 minutes of the Motor Show, 743 orders for the futuristic new car were taken, and a total of 12,000 orders was reached at the end of that day. By the end of the show, after 10 days, some 80,000 cars were ordered, which was a record which stood for over 60 years, though Insiders think that those selling numbers were only a marketing trick.

 

 

The car was designed by the Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni, as well as by André Lefèbvre, a French aeronautical engineer. The futuristic hydro-pneumatic self-leveling suspension was developed by Paul Magès. The car was such a success for aesthetics and engineering that it has inspired countless scale models.

 

The car was manufactured from 1955 to 1975 as a sedan, wagon/estate, and convertible. It was also the first production car that was equipped with disc brakes.

 

The DS used hydraulics for the power steering, the brakes, the suspension, the clutch and the transmission. In fact, with all that new technology it was a very expensive car, so Citroën decided in 1957 to produce the cheaper ID19. This car would have a conventional transmission, a simplified power-braking system and lack power steering. The ID was also not as powerful or luxurious. Maximum power for the ID19 was 69hp compared to 75hp for the DS. The ID submodel was produced from 1957-1969.

In 1962 the nose was redesigned and designated as Series 2. The car was more aerodynamically efficient and had also better ventilation. It was now available with an optional set of driving lights mounted on the front fenders.

 

French President Charles de Gaulle survived an assassination attempt at Le Petit-Clamart near Paris on August 22, 1962 while in a DS. The plan was to ambush the motorcade with machine guns, disable the vehicles, and then close in for the kill. De Gaulle praised the unusual abilities of his unarmored DS with saving his life – the car was peppered with bullets, and the shots had punctured the tires, but the car could still escape at full speed.

 

From October 4, 1955 to April 24, 1975 a total of 1,456,115 cars of the D-Series were built.

 

In late 1967 another new nose design with directional headlights came, now called the Series 3. That 1968 model of the ID/DS series had four headlights under a glass canopy. The inner lights swiveled with the steering wheel. For the US market this feature was not allowed, so a version with four exposed headlights was made for the US market.

In 1970 the ID was replaced by the D Spécial and the D Super. The D Super 5 was a D Super with the DS21 engine and a 5 speed gearbox. It was produced from 1970-1975.

 

The most collectable and rare variants are the convertibles produced from 1958-1973. They were built by the French Carrossier Henri Chapron for the Citroën dealer network. Only 1,365 Convertibles were sold, due to the high price of that variant. On these, a special frame was used, which was similar but not identical to the frame of the Break variants.

 

Various variants

 

Before the war, Chapron built some custom made bodies for Talbot-Lago, Delage and Delahaye. In 1955 he turned his attention to Citroën, and he was commissioned to build a Décapotable for the French President based on a 15CV Traction. At the Paris Salon in 1958, he showed his first DS based creation, known as the Cabriolet DS19 Henri Chapron.

 

 

In addition to the range of special Citroëns, Chapron also built the Prestige and the “Usine Cabriolets” for Citroën. Chapron also built a special elongated DS for the President de Gaulle.

 

The Michelin Citroën DS PLR Break, “Fast Truck” or nicknamed “Mille Pattes,” was a tire evaluation car. It was based on a DS Break and was built in 1972 by the French tire manufacturer Michelin, who was a shareholder of Citroën. It was used on the Ladoux test-track in Clermont-Ferrand.

 

Here a DS19 from Vitesse for the 40 Anniversary of the DS (1955-1995)

 

The DS was successful in motorsports and won the Rally Monte-Carlo in 1959. The 1000 Lakes Rally was also won by a DS in 1962. In 1966, the DS won the Monte Carlo Rally again. The DS was still competitive in the 1974 London-Sahara-Munich World Cup Rally where it beat over 70 other cars, only five of which even completed the entire event.

To Collect and Preserve: Why is Toy Packaging Worth so Much?

Toy Story Stinky Pete

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

In Pixar’s “Toy Story 2,” much of the movie’s plot was driven by the fact that the Stinky Pete action figure was priceless because he was mint in the package, as well as being rare to begin with. On the other hand, Mr. Pete (or is that Mr. Stinky?), led a bitter existence of resentment from being unplayed with, as well as for being the least desirable figure (hence his low production numbers and maybe why he never made it out of the box). So if he was going to live out the rest of his life like that on a museum shelf, he might as well make some other toys miserable as well.

Toy packaging has become a huge variable in the value of many collectibles. Some collectors don’t care all that much, but for many, the difference between “MIP” and “loose” is so big that opened toys may as well not exist. There’s even an industry catering to collectors who want to protect their packaging from the kinds of horrors the packaging was designed to protect the toy from.

So why did toy packaging become such a big deal to collectors? Here are some thoughts:

toy packaging kenner ssp mod mercer

Here’s a rare, mint Kenner SSP Mod Mercer in a less than perfect box. Well done, box!

Packaging protects the contents, obviously.

That’s kind of the point of packaging, right? Even the nicest loose Topper Johnny Lightning car is likely to have a few minor imperfections from handling and environment compared to one that has sat in a blister card untouched for almost 50 years. And yet, sometimes the ravages of time manage to reach inside that cocoon and cause paint to fade, chrome to rub off, and parts to come loose.

Ironically, in some cases, that perfectly preserved toy is hidden in a smoky, discolored blister with shelf worn cardboard, making collectors scratch their heads regarding the value of the packaging. The box or blister did its job, and now you want to criticize it for being less than perfect?

toy packaging kenner star wars jawa

The proof is in the packaging.

Packaging can be proof of authenticity.

The Jawa with the vinyl cape is the classic example: Kenner’s earliest “Star Wars” action figures included a Jawa sand creature with a stiff, ugly vinyl cape. They decided to replace it with a cloth cape that was better in every way, making the early ones rarer. But today, they’re only really valuable in the package, because the vinyl cape is so easy to fake on a loose figure. Same thing with stickers for early Hot Wheels cars, which are easily reproduced. Find one sealed in its blister, and you know it’s the real McCoy.

Packaging can be as cool as the actual toy sometimes.

Just look at the early history of Hot Wheels, and that’s all you need to know. As if the cars weren’t awesome enough, the imagery on those cards made them stand out from all the competitors. For something that was just a by-product of buying a toy, some companies really went all out in their package designs.

toy packaging johnny lightning

One letter makes a big difference for these Topper Johnny Lightnings.

Packaging can provide extra rarity via variations or mistakes.

Errors are fun to collect for many people, and often the only mistake is the wrong toy on the wrong card. Rip that open, and it’s worth no more or less than any identical model. As for variations, it’s neat to find multilingual packaging, or later/earlier versions of a toy that might include different information such as expanded checklists or different small print on the back. Another variation might be for legal reasons, such as Johnny Lightning having to modify “Beats Them All” to “Beat Them All.” Only one letter changed, but the early ones with the bold claim are much rarer.

toy packaging hot wheels riviera

Variants and Errors are part of the package for collectors.

Packaging can be incredibly rare for older, classic toys.

There was a time when not every single thing in the world was preordained as “limited edition,” “collectible,” or “exculsive offering.” Toys were just toys. If you were a kid in 1968, you couldn’t wait to rip open that new Hot Wheels car and send it down the track and into the sandbox. Which is why they are so beloved. And the blister card was a disposable afterthought.

toy packaging hot wheels protecto paks

The original Hot Wheels packaging is a treasure to be preserved in its own right.

Sure, the words “Collector’s Button” was on the package, hinting at the future of such toys, but very few kids probably made a conscious decision to collect every car to keep mint on the card.

So where did these pristine examples of that era come from? Maybe someone got a duplicate for their birthday and decided to hang onto it for later. Perhaps they bought it but misplaced it before they could open it. Maybe there was some lost store inventory that sold years later when the value was becoming apparent.

toy packaging hot wheels mongoose

The fun factor is increased out of the package.

toy packaging matchbox hi ho silver

The value of this Matchbox car is only slightly increased by the blister card. Should I open it?

Flash forward to the era of Beanie Babies, which were explicitly marketed as things to collect and preserve (but not to play with). Never mind that before those came along, most toys were designed to bring joy accrued during playtime. In fact, it’s almost rarer to find certain Beanies that have been played with. The point of these older toys was that they were fun, and finding one in the package today is an unexpected treat.

Ironically, the Toy Story franchise has given birth to many classic toys, including characters designed for the movie, as well as new life for some of the old classics that show up onscreen. The power of imagination in the movies made them fun for kids to play with. And yet, in many cases, collectors would buy them all, including the less popular characters, and preserve them in their original boxes, bags, and blisters, never to be played with.

Did we not learn anything from Stinky Pete?