Model Car Hall of Fame Posts

Meet Mac Ragan, Diecast Collector, Historian (and Industry Icon)

Mac RaganOver the past couple of months, hobbyDB has been featuring the stories of some of the folks who bring you the diecast cars you know and love. Mac Ragan is well-known for his work in the diecast vehicle industry over the last couple of decades (he was inducted in the Model Car Hall of Fame, then still called Diecast Hall of Fame in 2010), but he got his start as an avid collector and historian of the hobby.

Many collectors know him as a Johnny Lightning designer and Brand Manager (with Playing Mantis and RC2, from 2003 to 2007. He was also GreenLight’s New Casting Director from 2007 to 2008. His life with toy cars goes back to the 1990s when he became a book publicist in New York City.A background in art history helped me secure a job at the exclusive art-book publisher, Harry N. Abrams, Inc.,” he said. “My responsibilities included getting new books reviewed and featured in magazines, plus securing spots for authors on television shows.”

After a few years, he decided it was time for a change in his career. He was already a long-time collector of toy cars, so he decided he wanted to photograph them. His mother bought his first camera in the late 1990s.These were the final days of film, and the camera was a fully manual Nikon FM2. My idea was to photograph cars from a child’s vantage point, and treat them as objects to be played with by children and admired by adults,” he said. By this time, he was on the road to creating his own books.

Johnny Lightning 1955 Chrysler C300

Johnny Lightning 1955 Chrysler C300 (Photo courtesy jlcollector.net)

From 2000-2004, he published 5 books on various diecast brands. Titles include Diecast Cars of the 1960s (2000), Hot Wheels Cars (2001), Tomart’s Price Guide to Johnny Lightning Vehicles (2001), Matchbox Cars: The First 50 Years (2002), Hot Wheels: 35 Years of Cool Cars (2003), as well as a pair of Hot Wheels Car-a-Day Calendars (2003 and 2004).

Given his tight connection to JL, the Matchbox and Hot Wheels titles may come as a surprise. “You need to make contacts at the brand, no matter what kind of toy-car book you’re creating. I wrote all of my books before I worked in the industry, but I couldn’t have done it without the help of current and past employees.”

Mac Ragan booksMac would have a second career at Johnny Lightning. The brand disappeared for a while, but Tom Lowe revived it at his new company, Round 2. Mac returned to meet up with much of the original crew in 2015.This time I was Director of Social Media for Johnny Lightning, Auto World, and Racing Champions Mint. My photography skills came in handy on the new websites as well as the Facebook and Instagram pages.”

GreenLight 1971 AMC Javelin Police Cruiser

GreenLight 1971 AMC Javelin Police Cruiser (Photo courtesy Wyatt Davis)

He left Round 2 in 2017 to focus on his collection, and feature it on Facebook (@macragan) and Instagram (@macragan500). “I primarily collect 1/64-scale toy vehicles from around the world. My favorite toys replicate everyday cars we see on the streets. Four-door sedans and station wagons are favorites, from the 1960s to present day.”

Among his favorite JL creations are the 1955 Chrysler C-300 Mexican Rally Racer, 1936 Hispano-Suiza, and the 1959 De Soto Fireflite Police Car. He is also fond of the Johnny Retro series, with colorful tinted transparent lacquer over brushed bare metal, and the later Holiday Classics assortments from 2004 to 2007.

At GreenLight, Mac is proud of a change he helped institute for the overall brand. In 2008, they went to smaller, more accurate tire and rim molds for many models. “I consider this my most valuable contribution to the GreenLight casting bank,” he said. “It was priority number one from my first day, as I felt that the pre-2008 wheels and tires were often too large.” His favorite designs from that brand include the 1971-1974 AMC Javelin and AMX, and the 1960s Dodge D-100 Pickup casting and over-the-cab camper.

Auto World 1970 Dodge Challenger TA

Auto World 1970 Mercury Cougar (Photo courtesy awcollector.com)

Even before he was on staff at Round 2, he helped develop several early castings. Among his favorites are the Auto World 1970-1974 Dodge Challenger and 1970 Mercury Cougar (“My chance to improve on the old Johnny Lightning Convertible version!”)

“My parents told me that I played with toy cars from the age of two,” Mac said. “That was in Auburn, Alabama. My favorite real car, at three years old, was apparently the Karmann Ghia. The first toy cars I remember was a set of plastic European vehicles, all about four inches long. I soon graduated to Matchbox toys and then Hot Wheels cars.”

Johnny Lightning 1936 Hispano-Suiza

Johnny Lightning 1936 Hispano-Suiza (Photo courtesy jlcollector.net)

Surprisingly, JL was not his initial inspiration as a childhood diecast fan. “Although I’m closely associated with the Johnny Lightning brand, my first love will always be regular wheels Matchbox cars,” he said. “I played with them in my early childhood, and these happy memories remain with me to this day. From the modern era, my favorites are Johnny Lightning, Tomica, Siku, Norev, and Auto World.”

Like many collectors, he is attempting to recreate the lost collection of his childhood. “I gave all my cars to a younger neighbor when I was 11 years old,” he said. “I began truly collecting after college. Although I have a few models from the late 1950s, the core of my collection begins in the mid-1960s.”

As a child, he collected other things as well… rocks, seashells, coins, and stamps to name a few.As an only child and the final member of my family’s branch on the tree, I ended up with many inherited ‘treasures,'” he said.Paintings by my mother and a close friend cover the walls of my home. I’m a casual collector of art pottery and contemporary ceramics. However, I don’t consider myself a serious collector of anything other than toy cars.”

GreenLight 1965 Dodge D100 with Camper

GreenLight 1965 Dodge D100 with Camper (Photo courtesy Wyatt Davis)

The collector and designer come together whenever Mac wanders over to the toy aisle at a store that carries diecast. He can’t help but scan the pegs looking for his handiwork. “I always do that,” he exclaimed. “I did that when I was designing and I still do. Castings have long lifespans, and I continue to find GreenLight models with wonderful new deco schemes on castings I created over ten years ago.”

Auto World 1970 Dodge Challenger TA

Auto World 1970 Dodge Challenger TA (Photo courtesy awcollector.com)

Clearly, he has been fortunate to turn a lifetime passion into a successful career. “For me, my toys tell the story of the automobile (and more broadly, popular culture) for the past 60 years. It’s something to pass to the next generation after I’m gone.” He finds the hobby relaxing as well. “I know that when I enter the die-cast aisle I’m transported to a calmer place. I forget about all the stress of everyday life.”

“It’s not always easy to know why you collect. But if you think about it sometime when you have a quiet moment, you’ll probably learn something important about yourself.”

New Ed Roth Rat Fink Dairy Delivery from Chris Walker and MCHOF

ed roth dairy deliver

ed roth rat fink

Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and his pal Rat Fink

Our good friends at the Model Car Hall Of Fame just announced a cool collaboration between Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and Chris Walker. Walker, one of the most prominent modern Hot Wheels customizers, has created a special limited edition design of the Hot Wheels Dairy Delivery honoring Roth. And if you hurry, you can get your hands on one!

Roth, of course, is a legend in car culture, both as a customizer of real cars and as the creator of many ridiculously proportioned but accurately detailed hot rod cartoons.

Walker chose Rat Fink, Roth’s creepy but lovable green spokescharacter, as the basis for the design, which also honors Big Daddy as a 2009 inductee of the Model Car Hall of Fame (called the Diecast Hall of Fame at the time).

ratfink dairy delivery“I started with the ever popular Dairy Delivery and painted it nuclear yellow,” said Walker. “Roth style designs and details were added along with his most popular creation on the roof, the Fink himself.  Final details include his year of induction in the Hall of Fame and name on the side panel. Very fitting and adds a touch of class as the first MCHOF ‘By Inductees, for Inductees’ piece commemorating Roth and the MCHOF.” Another nice detail is the lettering, done in a style that evokes Roth’s own personal font.

ed big daddy roth dairy deliveryIt makes sense that a Hot Wheels car is the basis for the project, as Roth’s own Beatnik Bandit served as the design for one of the original 16 Redline models. The custom Ed Roth Rat Fink Dairy Delivery is available from the MCHOF marketplace, but you’ll have to act fast… only 50 copies exist. You can find them at the MCHOF store on hobbyDB for $63, which honors Rat Fink’s first appearance in 1963.

ed rat fink roth dairy deliveryAs a kid, Walker was so inspired by Roth’s designs, giving him an early leg up on his customizing career. “As a Roth fan myself, who custom-built many of his creations that were never made in scale form, you just know I was more than excited to be a part of this project.”

chris walker stalker

Diecast customizer Chis “Walker Stalker” Walker

Walker himself was also inducted into the Model Car Hall of Fame in 2009, part of the inaugural class. “I’m sure Ed would love it,” Walker says about his custom. “Hopefully you guys do too!”

Majorette Moves to Become A Major Player in U.S. Market

majorette blister cardDiecast hunters at Toys R Us may have recently noticed a familiar old brand they haven’t seen in almost two decades. Majorette, which has not been sold in the U.S. since 1999, is making a comeback. “Toys R Us was looking to introduce a diecast line different from what all other mass retailers had,” said Brand Ambassador Andy Goodman. “Knowing the quality and longevity of the brand (it started in 1964) TRU worked with their parent company, Simba-Dickie Group, to strike a partnership to bring the very popular European brand back to U.S. collectors.”

majorette boxster challenger lamborghini

Many new Majorette models include opening doors or engine covers.

During their absence, Majorette made the move from toylike models to more of a collector brand. Their vehicles are in still in the 3-inch range, which is around 1/64. Scales vary for each one, and are still marked on the bottom of each model, a tradition for the brand. But they are now much more accurately proportioned and detailed than what you might remember from your youth.

Majorette Mercedes

Majorette’s diecast cars in the 1970s, such as this Mercedes 450 SE, had more toy-like proportions.

“I really think everything was toy like in the 60’s 70’s – not many people were collecting model cars back then,” said Goodman.  “Collectors were becoming a recognizable group with a presence in  ’80s and ’90s, and they wanted realistic replicas of their favorite and dream vehicles. Majorette noticed and began to deliver the accuracy the community was looking for.”

majorette subaru wrx

Majorette’s newer models, like this Subaru WRX STI, are more accurately scaled and detailed than their early efforts.

The brand has always been popular in Europe but never made the same impact in the States. Part of the reason was a lack of models based on American marques, which they have addressed lately. For the past several years, the Camaro, Ford F-150 and Mustang have been among their most popular cars. Their stable still includes less common models as the Audi A1, Mercedes G Wagon, and Jaguar F Type as a way to differentiate them from other diecast companies.

majorette f150 camaro

The relaunch includes more American marques such as the Ford F-150 and Chevy Camaro.

Collectors should appreciate the value of these models as well. They are designed to retail for around $3.49, but can often be found for even less in some stores. Not bad for models of this kind of quality.

As for upcoming plans, Majorette has signed on as a sponsor for the upcoming Diecast Hall of Fame awards, so attendees can experience their offerings up close. “Majorette also has a great partnership planned for 2018 with Toys R Us,” said Goodman. “You’ll see the launch of the internationally popular Dubai Police Line, their Vintage collection and a special raw collection that’s to debut in the U.S. market first.” Those are some welcome and major developments in the world of diecast.

Did you have a favorite Majorette model when you were a kid? Let us know in the comments!

Voting for the 2017 Diecast Hall of Fame Class is Now Live!

We’re excited to share this news on behalf of the coalition of collectors that’s organizing The 2017 Diecast Hall of Fame Ceremony – 

diecast hall of fame votingLadies and gentlemen, start your engines! We’ve made it to the final round of the 2017 Diecast Hall of Fame selection process! Let the voting  begin!

Over the last few weeks, our Selection Committee has been hard at work narrowing down the final five nominees for each induction category. We had an extremely competitive 2017 class, with more than 200 fantastic nominations from around the world. And with that, we are super excited to announce the top five selections per category!

With your help, one winner from each category will be inducted into the Diecast Hall of Fame in November. The final winners will be selected based on a combination of committee and public votes. The winners will be announced at the official event in November

Please note:  For each category, you can only vote once. Once you submit your votes and email address, you’ll receive an email link you have to click on to confirm your vote. If you would like to vote for all three categories, you will have to submit your information three times.

 

Collectors – click here to vote

Automotive Legends 

  • Tim Allen
  • Ray Evernham
  • Ralph Gilles
  • Rick Hendrick
  • Danica Patrick

Diecast Customizers 

  • Joe “LoRide57” Alvarado
  • Bannarit
  • Steve Hamm
  • Brian Moffitt
  • Karli “Kraut Custom” Sanger

Diecast Designers 

  • Sei Cho
  • Kevin Geraldez
  • Tony Karamitsos
  • Brad Trimmer
  • Brendon Vetuskey

Diecast Entrepreneurs

  • Lyndon Davis
  • Paul Lang
  • Jennifer & Mark Millhollin
  • Steve Reddell
  • Jimmy Ye

Diecast Historians

  • Bill Bennett
  • Jack Clark
  • Robert Fellows
  • Theodore (Ted) Gray
  • Paolo Rampini

Collector of the Year Award 

  • Paul David
  • James Elliott
  • Gabriel Gomez
  • Woody Itson
  • Timothy Jack

The Selection Committee has further decided to give collector Tiny Wozniak an honorary R.A.O.K. award for his contributions to the diecast community.

 

Brands – click here to Vote

Diecast Dealer of the Year

  • Brian & Ann’s Collectibles
  • CK-Modelcars
  • Diecast Models Wholesale
  • Global Diecast Direct
  • Tacot

Supplier Brand of the Year 

  • Edelbrock
  • Falken Tires
  • GReddy
  • Gulf
  • NAPA

New Model Maker of the Year

  • AutoCult
  • Johnny Lightning
  • Laudoracing Models
  • Matrix Scale Models
  • Milena Rose

Automotive Brand of the Year

  • Bentley Motors
  • BMW
  • Dodge
  • Fast and the Furious Franchise
  • Ferrari

 

Models – click here to Vote

Small Scale (up to 1/64 Scale)

  • Greenlight Ford F-350 Ramp Truck
  • Hot Wheels Fiat 500 Modificado
  • Hot Wheels Mainline Porsche 356 Outlaw
  • Matchbox Nissan Skyline 2000 GTX
  • Schuco VW T3 Westfalia Joker

1/43 Scale

  • AutoCult Gatso 4000 Aero Coupe
  • Matrix Models Chrysler Turbine
  • Minichamps 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Street Version
  • Schuco VW Beetle “Lil Bugger” Camper Van
  • TrueScale Miniatures 2017 Ford GT

1/24th Scale

  • Automodello 1937 Delage D8-120 S Pourtout Aero Coupe
  • Bburago 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia
  • Greenlight 1967 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport from Supernatural
  • Maisto Ford F-150 Raptor Off-Road Kings
  • Welly Mini Cooper S Paceman

Large Scale (1/18th Scale and Larger)

  • Auto World 2017 Ford Mustang GT
  • Autoart Mercedes-AMG GTS
  • Autocult Brandpowder 911 DS
  • Bburago Bugatti Chiron
  • Ottomobile Saviem SB2 Assistance Course Alpine

 

The Diecast Hall of Fame To Donate All Net Proceeds to Charity

The Diecast Hall of Fame and There With Care have some incredible news, and we need your help getting the word out! 

From the Diecast Hall of Fame –

Here at the Diecast Hall of Fame, we know it’s the community which makes this hobby special. The amazing contributions of past and future inductees and the community as a whole are what continue to propel the diecast industry forward and make a positive difference in the world.

When hobbyDB and  a coalition of diecast collectors and enthusiasts started to manage the Diecast Hall of Fame, we were thrilled to be able to honor the people and model vehicles which make collecting such a special hobby. But we were also excited by the opportunity to give back and make a positive impact and – since we all fell in love with collecting when we were in single digits – we thought the best way to do that would be by finding a children’s charity to donate to!

As such, we have decided to donate all of the net proceeds from this year’s Diecast Hall of Fame event in November to There With Care.

Like hobbyDB, There With Care is Boulder based and an organization which is near and dear to our hearts. Its mission is to provide a wide range of thoughtful and fundamental services to children and families during the critical phase of a medical crisis. They serve families referred by medical agencies, by building a network of services and people who ease the burden of life’s day-to-day obligations with compassion and care.

 

There With Care

Executive Director of There With Care Paula DuPre’ Pesmen was very excited to partner with the Diecast Hall of Fame – “There With Care is honored and grateful to be the recipient of the Diecast Hall of Fame event in Las Vegas on November 2, 2017.  There With Care provides day-to-day support to children and families facing critical illness and the team behind the Diecast Hall of Fame understands the needs of the families we serve. Through their generous support and partnership in care, we will be able to ease the stresses for families when they need it most and give them more time to be with their children during a fragile time in their lives.”

The meaningful support There With Care provides is unique to each family and includes transportation services, meal and grocery services, home maintenance and more.

Diecast Hall of Fame Chairman, Christian Braun stated “it’s absolutely fantastic that we found a way to make a local impact in the lives of children. As a father myself, I understand the importance of having extra support when help is needed. We are very proud to support There With Care and hope our donation can help their team continue to make a wonderful difference in the lives of the families that they care for.”

You can find out more about There With Care by visiting their website – therewithcare.org/

Join us in supporting this awesome cause by purchasing your Diecast Hall of Fame Ticket here.

As a reminder, the event is taking place on Thursday, November 2nd in Las Vegas to celebrate the 2017 Diecast Hall of Fame Inductees. Each ticket will include one M2 Machines Factory Issued Promotional event car. You’ll also enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres and a complimentary drink ticket (21 and over only). Limited Space Available – Buy your tickets today and give back to the community!