May Update is Up, Up and Away!

Our May meeting was lots of fun. Slightly smaller crowd that last month, but still lots of laughin’, reminiscin’ and braggin’ took place.

By the way, I’ve updated our About page to include info on Suncoast Diecasters membership. Please check it out.

Okay, now you can get to the photos!

May 2018

When the Incredible Hulk has a rupture...

When the Incredible Hulk has a rupture…

The Hulk is from the DCU, right? Heh. Kidding, of course. Once again, Big Tractor Mike brought in a wonderful scale-correct display of farming equipment, some of which has been highly customized by Michael. Oh, yes, there are more photos. But first…

…Ed shares some choice models in his collection:

(L) Top Eliminator [1978, w' "AC" logo]; (R) Vetty Funny [1983]

(L) Top Eliminator [1978, w’ “AC” logo]; (R) Vetty Funny [1983]

Formula 5000 [L - 1977 Super Chromes; R - 1977 Mainline]

Formula 5000 [L – 1977 Super Chromes; R – 1977 Mainline]

(L) Monte Carlo Stocker [1979]; (R) Ice-'T' [1977/8]

(L) Monte Carlo Stocker [1979]; (R) Ice-‘T’ [1977/8]

Here is the most beautiful of the models that Ed asked me to showcase, the ’69 Chevy Camaro Convertible. If you look closely at the photos (and you should be doing so anyway), you’ll note that the model is far more detailed than a typical off-the-peg model. However, I’m unable to ID the specific series. It’s not listed in the 100% Hot Wheels series. It may be part of the 100% Preferred GM Performance Parts series, but I can’t prove this as there’s no photo in the listing.

'69 Chevy Camaro Convertible: Wholly unidentified.

’69 Chevy Camaro Convertible: Wholly unidentified.

(In case you’re wondering why I didn’t just ask Ed when I took the photo, it’s because I turned the toy over, saw what I thought was the Vintage series logo on the base, on said to  myself, Well, that was easy.)

And here’s my favorite of the set, Sir Rodney Roadster, a pseudo-fantasy vehicle based on the Lotus Seven S4. I say “pseudo-fantasy” because it seems some liberties were taken with the design. Fact: I never heard of this model until about fifteen-ish years ago, and it was by accident. At a local shop I spotted some gimmicky Hot Wheels merchandise, little yoyo-like things. Each consisted of a “tire” about 2½” in diameter, with a teensy HW model inside. Pulling the string caused the car to race around inside the tire. So I bought one, seeing as I’d probably never own any other version of Sir Rod here.

Sir Rodney Roadster [1977] [Collector # KAR 120C]

Sir Rodney Roadster [1977] [Collector # KAR 120C]

Here, finally, are the afore-promised photos of BTM’s farm display. And look at them; they’re beautiful!

Okay, more kidding. These thumbnails are teasers; click on any one, and you’ll open a gallery of delightfully larger images which you may left/right through at your leisure. (There’s no info for this machines because BTM is still having e-mail trouble, and neither of us took notes during the meeting.)

By the way, I have chosen a Find of the Month model … but I’m not telling you which one it is. I want you to think about the photos in this update, and make your best guess.

Or you could, you know, just view it on Twitter.

And with two days left in May, I shall cry a hearty Victoryyy!

See you at our June meeting!

~WM

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Diecastarama!

The Diecastarama event takes place on Sunday, June 10th in Spring Hill, FL. Details are on the flyer below; a link to a full-size image of the flyer is at the bottom of the page.

Click below for full-size image

Down here! The link is down here!

February, featuring fabulous fotos!

Alliteration, boys and girls. It’s known as alliteration.

Thus, with such a delightfully educational intro, let’s get right to the photos!

February 2018

We start off with this great Baja Breaker variation (courtesy Big Tractor Mike; photo by Original Ken). This is “Motocross Team”, part of the Scene Machines series.

1979 was a very creative year.

1979 was a very creative year.

Next is this 1978 Holden Pick-Up (courtesy Big Tractor Mike; photo by Original Ken).

...Which is *not* 1977's '56 Hi-Tail Hauler(!).

…Which is *not* 1977’s ’56 Hi-Tail Hauler(!).

I have to say, I am very impressed by the level of detail on these bikes.

They even went so far as to give them different numbers.

They even went so far as to give them different numbers.

O’Ken goes big-time with this 1/24th-scale John Force funny car by Winner’s Circle from BTM. Unboxing it for these photos was quite a project. I think it took Ken about ten minutes!

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The chassis and everything else is plastic; the body shell is surprisingly heavy metal.

And now presenting: Another New Feature! BTM asked me if it was possible to have the post photos (which I’ve standardized to 550 pixels wide) link to larger versions. There are in fact several methods; but the easiest option seems to be to use something WordPress offers: the Gallery.

Now, generally speaking, each of these posts, with its collection of photos, can be considered a gallery. But WordPress’ gallery function is a browser script which provides an interactive display. In fact, the slideshow, which I first used in August of 2017, is a variation in the gallery settings. I created larger photos here, some as wide as 1,000 pixels. I then chose various display settings (in this case, three columns of circular previews), and inserted the gallery.

To view the larger images, simply click on any preview. This will open the gallery to that image. You can then go from one photo to the next using the left and right arrows (screen or keyboard). To exit the gallery, click the X near the upper right corner, or press the Escape key. Enjoy! (And post your opinions on this new feature in the Comments.)

BTM has been having trouble with his e-mail, so I’ll have to wait for him to post info about these models in the comments.

As I’ve mentioned before, when it comes to our Find of the Month item, often one model just stands out; yet sometimes I have to choose between two. I have in fact done dual FotMs. But this meeting was unique, in that I honestly was equally impressed with all the models.I have chosen to forego “multiple” FotMs, because I think that’s a bad precedent. So I carefully reviewed the photos, and one finally began to draw me in. So, for its working gate, its real metal chains, and its beautiful hand-cut wood siding, this custom by Doug for BTM is Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for February 2018.

Not your typical Woodie.

Not your typical Woodie.

See you at our March meeting!

~WM

October 2017

Our October update is published with yet a wee bit of October left! Let us dance and cavort!

Before moving on (by which I mean, scrolling down), I’d appreciate it if you’d take a moment to peruse our new page in which Your Humble Webmaster engages in a little self-marketing.

Okay, now we can move on to the photos!

October 2017

This is our first meeting after Hurricane Irma. (As you may recall, our September meeting was cancelled on account of that cacophonous countess.) I wasn’t sure whether it be dour or joyful. Turns out it was, in the words of Star Lord, “a bit of both.”

Dour in the sense that precious little trading occurred. In fact, the only trade that happened was this RAOK from me to Tom, our well-established and long-enthroned Viscount of VWs. Upon reflection, dour is a wholly inaccurate word, as this gift was warmly and readily received with great appreciation. So, joyful is the better word here. (Take that, bit of both!)

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Beyond that, it was a meeting in which friends who hadn’t seen each other in two months just relaxed, talked, gabbed, and basically reconnected. And that’s always joyful.

See you at our Novemb — Aw, heck, I forgot to buy a red tractor! Anyway, see you at our November meeting!

~WM

K-Day / #Irma update

I tweeted a K-Day summary last Friday. Nothing has changed, but for those interested here are more details.

On Sep. 8th, a Mattel e-mail advised collectors of the 20-for-1 ’76 Ford Gran Torino mail-in promo … but curiously did not mention the associated K-Day event. I had noted back in February 2016 that the dates for K-Day and the first day of the mail-in promo no longer coincided, but this is the first time K-Day wasn’t even mentioned.

On Sep. 15th, a Mattel e-mail advised collectors of the K-Day event. In reading over the web page, I noticed that two separate dates were listed: September 16th for most of the U.S., and October 7th for the southeast region. Clearly, Mattel had thoughtfully taken Hurricane Irma into account. The statement included this link to a list of the affected locations.

So, for us collectors in the southeast, the major story is that Irma has passed and we have begun recovery. The minor story is that we still have a K-Day to look forward to in a few weeks. Happy Hunting!

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Even though I knew the 16th event was cancelled, I went to my local K-mart anyway, you know, “just in case”. I also went there just to get out of the house, and to see if the place had reopened yet. Much to my very pleasant surprise, I met one of the K-Day regulars there. He and I chatted about Irma, the damage, its effect on the schedule, our general disappointment with the cars offered over the last few cycles, etc. Sounds low, I know, but actually we had a good time, and I was glad to see a fellow collector out-and-about.

Sign o' the times.

Sign o’ the times.

See you at our  November  October meeting!

~WM

September meeting cancelled due to #Irma

Big Tractor Mike and Original Ken have considered the situation regarding Hurricane Irma. Although our side of the state, the west coast, may receive the lesser impact, out of an Abundance of Caution® they have cancelled our September meeting. I will update as needed. Please keep Florida in your prayers, thanks.

Slammin’ Summer Showdown!

Hoo-doggies, son! Our August meeting was quite the event, and a great way to close out Summer!

The biggest thing that happened was the return of long-time members Tom and Bill. Both had been absent from us for quite some time, as each is facing personal challenges. (If you’d care to pray for them, that would be appreciated.) We all very much enjoyed and appreciated their company.

Also, many great trades took place. And don’t you know, I have the photos to prove it! In fact, we’ll be introducing a new feature in this update to showcase certain photos.

Also also, I’ve updated our March 2015 post.

So, on to the photos!

August 2017

You know it’s a good meeting when Kenny acquires more garbage trucks. Yes, officially these are refuse trucks, but no-one uses that term. Not in polite society, anyways.

I refuse to use that term myself.

I refuse to use that term myself.

Here, Kenny has a pair of M2Machines Plymouth Hemi Road Runners, and a Zee Camaro Z-28. The dark Hemi has a scoop, while the light one has a set of pipes with an interesting stagger. The Camaro has a feature modern-day high-end makers such M2Machines won’t even consider: opening doors.

I'll take chipped paint and opening doors over high-end glitz every time.

I’ll take chipped paint and opening doors over high-end glitz every time.

Bill nabs a sweet couple o’ Matchbox classics: a Ford Cortina Mark IV, and a Renault 5TL. The 5TL was called “Le Car” only in America, because American auto importers are whimsically intelligent folk who really understand their customers [citation needed].

Opening doors: Why older toy cars are better.

Opening doors: Why older toy cars are better.

From Big Tractor Mike, I purchased this Johnny Lightning Mysterion, which is from JL’s Fright’ning Lightnings series. The Mysterion is of course one of many creations from the mad mind of Ed Roth. I purchased several JLFL models when they originally came out, so this may in fact be my second Mysterion. I have addressed this issue previously.

I appreciate that, compared with the illustration, the toy is very accurate. Except for that whole "completely wrong front cowl" deal.

I appreciate that, compared with the illustration, the toy is very accurate. Except for that whole “completely wrong front cowl” deal.

And now for our new special feature. Back in July, I told you about our issue with PhotoBucket which has prompted me to limit the number of photos in updates for the foreseeable future. However, when I walked into our August meeting, I saw a wonderment: a to-scale corn crib diorama, custom-built by Doug for Mike. There was no way I could not take numerous photos of it. But, rather than simply stack an unwieldy bunch of photos, I chose the best, then made use of some handy WordPress-tech. Thus we introduce to you Suncoast Diecasters‘ first-ever slideshow!

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And yes, this corn crib diorama is Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month(*) for August 2017. Congratulations, Doug and/or Mike!

Hey, there’s still nearly a whole week of August left! End-of-Summer victory!!!

See you at our September meeting!

~WM

Kicking the ‘Bucket

If you’ve perused some of Suncoast Diecasters‘ older posts recently, you may have noticed something a bit … odd … about them. In fact, you may even have noticed the smaller oddity to the left, where our SunRacer logo usually resides.* Our photographs have been replaced by a plea from PhotoBucket to update our account to enable 3rd-party hosting.

*(Fixed 19 Jly 17)

That term, “3rd-party hosting”, refers to the practice of storing files on one site, then linking to them from, and using them on, another site. Suncoast Diecasters (the 1st party) stores our photos on PhotoBucket (the 2nd party), and we link to them through WordPress (the 3rd party), which hosts our suncoastdiecasters domain name.

PhotoBucket no longer allows 3rd-party hosting without a paid subscription. This, I presume, has to do with the cost of bandwidth. Now, from a business standpoint, I understand this. The “everything on the Internet should be free” business model is a phantom. Nothing is really free; that’s why there are ads on every site. This goes back to broadcast radio. The consumer pays a one-time cost for the radio, then a very small utility fee for electricity (or buys batteries); the programming from the local radio station is free.

Except, it’s not. There is a plethora of costs, and the overwhelming majority of these costs are covered by advertising. It’s the “and now a word from our sponsor” business model. But with the Internet, this is inverted. It’s like a Burger King taking on all the costs of making a large number of burgers all day, only to have someone from a McDonald’s across the street come in, take all those burgers and give them away. (Okay, maybe that’s not a great analogy, but I think you get the point.) When someone views an image on our WordPress site, what’s actually seen is a copy of an image transmitted from PhotoBucket’s servers. Multiply that by a huge number of free accounts times a really huge number of image files, and that’s a whole lot of bandwidth cost for Photobucket. Again, I understand that.

The one problem I have with this change by PhotoBucket is that they’re limiting the 3rd-party hosting option to only their most expensive subscription plan. If they were offering differing levels of bandwidth with the various plans, that would make sense. But to not only restrict that option to just their highest-cost plan, but to also price that plan at a rate which frankly I think is not the least bit competitive with other hosting options available online is, in my humble opinion, an incredibly foolish move.

Another change has occurred relatively recently which initially I found very annoying, but which I now see as a solution. When I added an image to any update or page, I would use that image’s PhotoBucket URL. However, WordPress had begun copying each image into the media library associated with our account, then loading the image from that library rather than directly from PhotoBucket. I found this wasteful, as we now had two copies of each image, taking up space in separate locations. However, as I can upload images directly from my computer to our WordPress library, and insert them from that library (as I have with the most recent updates), I basically no longer need to upload them to PhotoBucket.

So, obviously all future updates will use our WordPress library. The, er, “fun part” will be replacing all the other photos. That is going to take some time; by PhotoBucket’s count, Suncoast Diecasters now has over 1700 image files stored. (And yes, I do have back-ups of all those image files.) To accomplish this, I will have to cut back on the number of photos I post to updates. I’ll still take a good number of photos during our meetings, but I’ll have to be much more selective in which ones I actually use, so that I can then spend some time updating the older posts. Be patient, my friends; this will be a long ride, but your appreciation of our site makes it worthwhile.

Our Merry Christmas gift to you: a Free Screensaver!

Really, it’s true!

(It's actually bigger than this.)

(It’s actually bigger than this.)

Suncoast Diecasters has been around for ten years. We’ve been online for nine. In that time, through WordPress (fellow bloggers and e-mail subscriptions), Facebook and Twitter, we’ve been blessed with about 380 followers. True, there are social media “superstars” who’ve amassed thousands of followers. But for this little local, humble club to have several hundred people interested in us is simply fantastic.

So, to celebrate a decade of tradin’ and collectin’, as well as to say “thank you” to you, our faithful followers, I’ve put together what I hope you’ll find to be a jolly little holiday screensaver.

Also, I’ve updated our Calendar with Suncoast Diecasters‘ 2017 schedule. I’ve tried several different formats for our Calendar over the years. Thank the Lord, with WordPress’ help I’ve found a new one which is tidy, more easily read and, most importantly, repeatable.

I’ll give you the link for getting our screensaver at the end of this update. So, get your holiday mood going, and start enjoying our photos! (And thank you again!)

December 2016

Of course, our December meeting is also always our Christmas meeting. For proof, here’s a shot of just some of the decorations around the Sports Bar. I assure you, the icicles had richly colored LEDs; they weren’t the glaring white things my camera decided they were.

'Tis all a-twinkle!

‘Tis all a-twinkle!

Last month a conversation between Scott and Original Ken eventually turned to the collecting of marbles as a hobby. Thus, Ken brought in some of his collection this month for Scott to peruse and appraise. Scott provided some interesting details about the marble hobby. For example, he pointed out that while Ken’s stash contains many glass, mass-manufactured marbles, there are also numerous clay, hand-made marbles. The clay ones are opaque, and not quite as shiny as the glass ones. More interestingly, he pointed out the many flat(tish) surfaces of a clay marble, contrasted against the machined and polished roundness of a glass one. Eventually Ken and Scott agreed on a price, and Scott walked away with a bagful.

Because it's Christmas, for your sake I will *not* make the obvious joke here.

Because it’s Christmas, for your sake I will *not* make the obvious joke here.

Very similar to last month, I had to shoot this with my phone’s convenience camera because the meeting was nearly over and my equipment was put away. I wouldn’t have taken the pic at all if I didn’t happen to just notice (thank the Lord) something toy-like in R.D.’s hand as he was saying his good-byes. This is Inside Story, and he bought it from Big Tractor Mike. The Super Kings’ size allowed me to shoot them from a reasonable distance. In contrast, this single, small toy necessitated a close-up which, coupled with the overhead’s glare off the white paint, prevented a better, more clear shot.

Spider-Man! Spider-Man! Slightly astigmatic Spider-Man!

Spider-Man! Spider-Man! Slightly astigmatic Spider-Man!

The following three (or, maybe four) items were all purchased from BTM by Gary. The JL ShowRods set below was the last shot I took using LiveView, which I’ll explain in a moment.

Wait, isn't this *2* of only 5000?

Wait, isn’t this *2* of only 5000?

Like most digital cameras (I presume), mine has an LED screen on back which lets you see exactly what the lens is seeing. In my camera’s OS, this is called LiveView. This is incredibly convenient for determining both zoom and focal point. And incredibly inconvenient when I get an all-red screen with the warning text, “Battery too low for LiveView”. So, I had to use my camera’s regular optical viewfinder for these next two photos, only guessing at the result. Thank the Lord, they both came out well-focused.

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I would've made funny captions for both these photos, but I'm two-tired.

I would’ve made funny captions for both these photos, but I’m two-tired.

JIm bought the following four (exactly) items from Ed. First is this picayune and puny Purple Passion:

Car's so small, it took two photos to make one good one.

Car’s so small, it took two photos to make one good one.

Next is this Hot Wheels Collectibles-series King ‘Kuda. I’m amused by the claim, “multi-piece car”; it’s my understanding that all Hot Wheels models are multi-piece.

You'd think the mechanic would've remembered to get that rag off the fender.

You’d think the mechanic would’ve remembered to get that rag off the fender.

And lastfully, these two classic Redlines: The Demon (b) and Custom Cougar (t). The Cougar obviously is based on a production vehicle. The Demon (a.k.a. Prowler) is based on the Li’l Coffin custom show rod. Yes, Virginia, there is a Li’l Coffin.

48 years of well-earned paint chipping.

48 years of well-earned paint chipping.

No, this photograph is not backwards. If you’ll read what it says, you should understand why it appears backwards.

Cidemarap is a leading OTC medication.

Cidemarap is a leading OTC medication.

This is a VW “Samba” ambulance by Maisto, from BTM to Ed. Well-appointed, too. Painted tail and fog lights, and that “glass lens” texture on the headlights in the above photo? Two of the most thoughtful tampos I’ve ever seen.

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Ed bought this Matchbox ambulance from Big Tractor Mike. I wonder if perchance it looks familiar…?

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Back in June, Ed bought from Big Tractor Mike a Speed Kings-series Mercedes Benz “Binz” ambulance. Here, Ed has done it again, but at a smaller scale.

One wonders if Ed is planning to start his own two-scale empire.

One wonders if Ed is planning to start his own two-scale empire.

A brilliant entrepreneurial business idea: combination auto mechanic and drive-in theater.

See, 'coz one has its hood up, and the other is facing ... Look, it's Christmas, just go along with the joke.

See, ‘coz one has its hood up, and the other is facing … Look, it’s Christmas, just go along with the joke.

Original Ken bought these from BTM. Both are from the 100% Hot Wheels series.

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Curiously, only one has a working hood.

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Just like egg nog:

Thick. Er, I mean yummy.

Thick. Er, I mean yummy.

Ed displayed several Hot Wheels Christmas diorama/playsets on his table. A few, I already own. One or two, I didn’t particularly care for. But this one … this one really stood out.

Sing along, folks! "It's the Little Saint Nick..."

Sing along, folks! “It’s the Little Saint Nick…”

The action poses, the great coloring on the vehicle, the barely-hanging-on elves — this is happy holiday hilarity for sure. You might be wondering why I haven’t provided any photos of Santa and his sweet ride outside of the box. Very simple: I haven’t opened it yet. That will happen sometime Christmas morning.

Yes, this is my Christmas present to myself.

Yes, this is my Christmas present to myself.

There’s a certain vehicle which has appeared off and on among BTM’s wares for quite some time now. After some research, which I will illustrate later, I decided to by it.

Pictured: *Not* the Yellow Submarine.

Pictured: *Not* the Yellow Submarine.

It’s Hover-Raider, a large-scale Matchbox vehicle. It’s part of MB’s short-lived Battle Kings-series.

# K-107

# K-107

Here’s the research, illustrated as promised. I was fairly certain I had the smaller hovercraft, but I was concerned that it was amongst The Many, Many Items Packed Away For The Move That Never Happened. Thank the Lord, I found it in time for our December meeting. My intent was to create another “Two Scales” photo set — which you can see is not quite as I imagined. As soon as I spotted the 107 on BTM’s table, I realized that, apart from the colors and general shape, the two models are dramatically different.

The smaller hovercraft is 'Superfast'-series # 72 & 2. Yes, "& 2" is actually part of its designation.

The smaller hovercraft is ‘Superfast’-series # 72 & 2. Yes, “& 2” is actually part of its designation.

And, yes, I am aware that our forlorn Two Scales page is sadly underloved and malnourished. Perhaps next year I can set aside time to go through The Many, Many Items Packed Away For The Move That Never Happened and relocate the models with which I can give that page the attention it deserves.

Anyway, I bought the K-107, for four reasons: 1) I really did want it; 2) Mike’s price was very reasonable; 3) I did go through the trouble of finding the 72; and 4) The Discovery.

The Discovery? Oh, that the K-107 has a Rolamatics feature. This is not indicated on the baseplate at all. Quite literally, I discovered it only because I felt something move against my fingers when I tried to straighten the radar housing. As with most Rolamatics models, being decades old, the feature no longer works properly. The radar spins about half-way, then the whole thing locks up. This happens both forward and backward. Still, it gives me the opportunity to give you your Christmas bonus: a new video!

Hover-Raider Rolamatics demo from Suncoast Diecasters on Vimeo.

For this truly unexpected feature — not to mention the fact that it’s simply a great large-scale model — I declare the Matchbox Battle Kings-series Hover-Raider to be Suncoast DiecastersFind of the Month for December 2016(*).

Okay, you’ve been Nice and read the whole update down to this point. (Or, maybe you were Naughty and just leaned on the Scroll Down button. Whatever.) First, some details: You’re going to download a compressed (zip) file named SD-10th-Xmas.zip. Inside are the screensaver itself, a Readme file (and please read it; it’s there for a reason (the reason being that you should read it.)), and a Music sub-folder which contains the music MP3s and a license. (The music is already embedded in the screensaver; I included the MP3s in case you wanted to use them elsewhere.)

The screensaver is compatible with Win XP and newer operating systems. (Windows/PC only; sorry, Apple/Mac users!)

Okay, you may now download your free screensaver. Thanks again for being part of Suncoast Diecasters‘ extended family.We wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah. and a Happy New Year 2017! See you at the January meeting!

~WM

The Call of Fall: Final K-Day & Promo for 2016

Yes, fellow collectors, it’s that time: the leaves are turning color; the clocks are turning back; and K-mart turns into the place to be for Hot Wheels. Our Calendar is updated with links to the final 2016 mail-in promo (which features a sweet piece o’ eye-candy!), as well as the final 2016 K-Day in-store event. So click on over, and get ready to do some a-wheelin’ and a-dealin’!