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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hot Wheels Adult Collectible - White 8000 Shell Tanker and Ford F100 Pickup in Shell Livery

Its been a little while since I last posted - life just got extra busy and I didn't have the chance.  Plus, I wasn't feeling inspired about what to blog about. 

I have some exciting new Ebay finds on their way to me - and a host of existing cool/rare/nice cars in my collection, but somehow none of the posts were coming together. 

This post has been in draft mode for a while, so I thought I'd finish it up and at least give my readers something new to look at. 

The Hot Wheels "Adult Collectible" series has been an expensive favorite of mine for the last 2 decades.  Unlike the other (and less expensive) premium series of Hot Wheels, which take existing models and layer on nicer paint, trim, wheels and rubber tires, the Adult Collectible series usually are unique castings, sold only as Adult Collectibles.  If you want that casting - you don't get to buy it cheap as a lower trim model.  And that can be difficult, since the Adult Collectibles are not cheap - with an average retail selling point of around $8-10 per car! 

This 2 car set was interesting, in that the tanker was a casting of a typically un-modeled model.  It is more in scale than usual for a toy car (another hallmark of the Adult Collectibles - they eschew the "make everything 2.75 inches long so it fits in a standard Matchbox case - regardless of whether its a 35 foot long Mack cement mixer or a 13 foot long Honda Fit" approach of most diecast  brands) - so beware that it WON'T fit into a normal sized case.  I also liked the yellow and orange Shell paint livery. 

The Ford F100 is a bit more common of a model - but a nice model anyway.  It reminds me of the slightly older Ford F-1 pick-up in Shell livery in the historic gas station re-enactment at the Gilmore car museum in Michigan (a GREAT place to visit if you ever get the chance).   Maybe someday I'll include a blog with some more photos of that great and beautiful car museum (nice cars and nice grounds!), but here's that Shell Ford pickup from my visit 9 years ago (yes, my son and I now look different than we did back then!).   

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hot Wheels 288 GTO Phil's Garage

I've been a fan of the real 1980's Ferrari GTO since I read a Road and Track article around 1985 comparing a GTO with the new Testarossa with a Countach.  Partly I've always been a fan of the Scagliatti Ferrari look of all of the early/mid '80s Ferraris (308, 328, Mondial, BB and GTO).

So when Hot Wheels introduced a model of the 288 GTO, I instantly bought it (shown in yellow).  But then when Hot Wheels introduced the up-market Phil's Garage version of it , with nicer wheels and more detail, well, I was smitten!

This model is beautiful.  Its amazing how slightly nicer trim changes a $.99 model into something that I'm happy to pay $3.99 or more for - but that is certainly the case with this car!

Great car and great casting, both in basic and up-market form. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Modifiers Escalade - You need one in your collection - worth buying even for today's inflated price points...

One of the cooler die-cast car gimmicks in the last 2 decades were the "Modifier" series, by X-Concepts (who the heck are X-Concepts?!?).  The idea was that they would give you the parts to a car and allow you to build it yourself, finishing with a screw-on baseplate rather than a riveted baseplate. 

In the process, you'd get to choose what components to use - with each package containing 2 sets of wheels, 2 sets of window glass with different window tints, sometimes alternate interiors, etc. 

I have a number of these models, including a Civic, an Integra, an Accord Coupe, and an Eclipse.  These small cars were nice, but their wheels always seemed too small, and while the finished products were nice and it was fun to "customize" them (at least within the prescribed band), they weren't overly compelling. 

But for some reason the trucks were nicer.  I have a white F-150, and these 2 Escalades - in black and green. 

These are the nicest Escalades I have.  Substantially nicer than the forgettable basic Matchbox car (or was it Hot Wheels....  that should tell you how forgettable it was), and even nicer than the white Hot Wheels Adult Collectible Escalade ESV shown in the backgrounds of the photos (a car that was let down by a covered bed, oversize wheels, and a general feeling of somehow just not being right...). 

But these Modifier Escalades are sized just right, and fun with the customized window glass. 

Since I have 2 models in 2 colors - I am able to swap components between the 2 cars.  My only complaints are the black and off-color carbon hoods (OK on an Integra - but really - a carbon hood on an Escalade?!?) (less noticeable on the black painted model), and the slightly large mirrors (the first place where paint chips develop). 

Aside from the nice extra long and realistic Suburban made by Hot Wheels and only sold in their more expensive lines (avoid the overly short Matchbox Suburban that is sized to fit in a normal case - and so is incorrectly the same length as the similar generation Tahoe...), this Escalade is the nicest model I've found of a full size GM SUV.  After buying and opening mine, I liked it so much that I picked up an extra copy to keep Mint-in-Blister!  

This model is worth picking up even if you have to buy it on E-Bay for a substantial premium.  (The only listings I'm seeing right now are starting at $20 before shipping - 5 X the original $3.99-ish price point).  

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Re-sprayed Hot Wheels MR2... ...with Matchbox alloys

In the same vein as the re-sprayed Land Rover that I showed a few weeks ago, and from roughly the same time in my life (pre-kids - about 12 years ago)...

The model is the early 90's Toyota MR2 by Hot Wheels - a nice model in its own right - with cool aftermarket rally lights across the front bumper...  I re-sprayed this favorite model in charcoal, with additional detail for lights. 

But the coolest part of this project was the wheel swap - to the nicest-looking Matchbox wheels that Matchbox ever issued.  Actually the wheel swap was not easy...  while the overall axle length matched up well, the original wheels were wider than the Matchbox wheels, so the narrow chassis allowed the replacement wheels to float in and out of the wheel-wells.  I had to add some plastic to widen the chassis to get the wheels spaced at the end of the axle.  My frankenstonian fix works well and the wheels roll perfectly - just don't turn the car over to see the rather ugly bottom! 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Thoughts on this Blog - Comparison Tests

It's interesting that blog readers seem to focus on whatever is most recently published.  This is not surprising, since the blog is published in a chronological fashion.  But as such some of my best articles quickly get lost and obscured by the latest post. 

The articles for which I'm proudest, the ones that are the most meaty, those that have the most information, those that I put the most time into, and the ones that show off my collection the best, are the comparison tests...  I've put together 4 different comparison tests so far, with the latest (and most interesting) being the Car Carrier comparison from May 19, 2015.  But I've also published a '68/'69 Dodge Charger comparison on April 24, 2015, a European Luxury-Sedan Based Ambulance test on March 28, 2015, and a Mercedes Benz 450SEL comparison on April 4, 2015.

In addition to the above formalized comparisons, many of my posts include less formal comparisons - such as the Ferrari 308 article. 

I'm proud of most of my posts - I wouldn't write them if I wasn't interested in the topics.  I surprised by which items get the most traffic - my re-painted Matchbox Land Rover 90 over-indexed on hits.  While this is a cool piece, I was surprised that the base and wheel swaps of the Matchbox pick-ups (the wildlife truck and the Mountain Man) got so little attention. 

I've always been excited by my collection of Malibu Land Rovers (a higher hit post) and Muscle Machine Japanese Race cars (a relatively lower hit post), but don't understand why one post gets more interest than the other?  My posts about favorite Johnny Lightning models - the Chevy C10 and Chevy Chevelle were both low hit items - yet the castings themselves are very impressive (that's why I blogged about them!) and I include photos of my deep collection of color variations. 

My 2012 post about my Impy Mercedes has 3X more hits than any other posting.  I don't know why - maybe there is just less information on Impys and so my blog post comes up faster in internet searches...? 

Finally, I'd encourage comments to any of my postings (as long as they are appropriate and respectful).  Sometimes I feel like I'm writing in a vacuum - and the only way I know that anyone appreciates my content is from my page view count...