August Update! Now with *extra* Updates!

Extra update #1: Our 2015 Club Vehicle is now available!

Extra Update #2: Our Calendar has been updated to include the next K-mart Collector Day!

Extra Update #3: We now have a second video! You’ll find if you just keep reading, so…

…On to the photos!

August 2015

Merry Belated Christmas Giftery!

…Is what I offered to Rob. If you’ll recall from our 2007 Gallery, Rob has a sweeeet Ranchero. I picked up this book last December at Dollar Tree, strictly based on the name, as a gift for Rob. From that time forward, Rob has managed to successfully avoid Suncoast Diecasters meetings. His streak fell flat this month, and I begifted him. I advised him that it was a “title only” purchase, and knew nothing of its content. He promised to get back to me on that after he reads it.

...And its sequel, ''Bad Mudder II''.

…And its sequel, ”Bad Mudder II”.

Big Tractor Mike bought all my Star Trek toys! Now I don’t have any! (Except for the action figures, and playsets, and model kits, and Hallmark starship ornaments. But still, I mean, you know….)

''A long time ago, in a galax--'' HA! Fooled ya!

”A long time ago, in a galax–” HA! Fooled ya!

Speaking of books: I got all the use I could out of this’n, so I put in on the table and tagged it “make offer”. Ken made an offer, I accepted it, and now the book is Ken’s. And now I miss it terribly.

Ten points for each car you can identify on the cover!

Ten points for each car you can identify on the cover!

Ken also acquired this awesomely retro collector’s case. Thought it’s an off-brand itself, it boldly declares that it’s suitable for “Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Corgi and most mini-cars.” It wisely and thoughtfully lists Matchbox first, considering its example car art is probably totally unlicensed.

Oh, Ken also got these two airport vehicles. See paragraph below.

Oh, Ken also got these two airport vehicles. See paragraph below.

As mentioned in the caption above, Ken got these two airport vehicles. Thought their plastic design is rather simple, they’re still quite cool. They’re also classic Ken, in that they are an oddball no-name foreign brand.

Yes, I know: you want close-ups. See paragraph below.

Yes, I know: you want close-ups. See paragraph below.

As mentioned in the caption above, here is a close-up for you. Specifically, the motorcoach. True, its shallow detail lines, solid (rather than clear or even smoked clear) windows and astoundingly simplistic wheels would indicate a “cheap” model. Yet, airport vehicles are a popular sub-set for collectors, especially since they often are available only through off-brands.

Besides, there are at least 37 other coaches to collect if one wants the whole set.

Besides, there are at least 37 other coaches to collect if one wants the whole set.

The other one is this groovy stair-truck. Most likely completely incomprehensible to younger collectors, this model harkens back to the days when airports did not have extended ramps and gates with segmented umbilicals that attach directly airplane doors, a simpler time when passengers actually walked out of the airport, across the tarmac and up mobile steps to their airplane.

Plus, they make great rental rides for children's parties.

Plus, they make great rental rides for children’s parties.

I mentioned the example art on Ken’s car case. The big red fellow leadin’ the pack is clearly Mod Rod by Matchbox. The yellow van could be Matchbox or Hot Wheels or Corgi or Playart or Yatming or Summer or any other brand. There’s not enough of the purple one to identify it. But the one that really intrigues me is the green “rocket sled”-type fellow in third place. It looks like something from Harley Earl’s Firebird series. If you have any info on this model (if indeed the illustration is based on an actual production toy), please post it in the Comments section at the bottom of the page.

I want one.

I want one.

Well, what have we here? The orange fellow in the upper left looks kinda Rodger Dodger-ish. Light blue guy at lower left might be the Ford Mk IV. Or, I could stop funnin’ ya and just tell you that they’re all Sizzlers. Yep, those wild, rechargeable self-running rods from the early ’70s. Oh, you don’t believe me?

NO, not Sizzler, the steakhouse.

NO, not Sizzler, the steakhouse.

Here, BTM knuckles down and charges up one them right before your eyes. As you can see on the label, “Sizzlers”. Told ya.

And with electricity under $2.00 a volt, people will do lots of driving this weekend!

And with electricity under $2.00 a volt, people will do lots of driving this weekend!

They’re all part of this awesome kit brought in by awesome Doug. This is the 2007 retro re-issue, and it the highlight of our August meeting. Doug set up a short loop (initially), and we basically had some demo runs. Later, he extended the loop, and we did some actual racing. It all was so entertaining that I even shot some video, and that’s available at the bottom of this update. For its coolness, its retro-ness, and its ability to keep middle-aged men entertained like small schoolchildren, I hyarby declare Doug’s Sizzlers set our Find of the Month!(*)

This is why toy cars are the world's greatest hobby.

This is why toy cars are the world’s greatest hobby.

For this video, I decided it was time for something better, so I set up a Vimeo account for Suncoast Diecasters. Unlike our Christmas 2012 video, which is in uncompressed WMV format (and thus takes a while to load), Vimeo automatically compresses uploaded videos, so this one will load much more quickly. You may notice a difference in cars in the high-angle shot versus the “pit row” shot. That’s because they’re two separate runs. I edited them together to make the video more dramatic. Please enjoy:

(If the video doesn’t play properly, you can watch it in a separate window.)

See you at the September meeting!

~WM

May 2014(!)

May … we impress you with twenty-eight new photos? PLUS two free high-resolution images to download? For FREE?

Oh, and we’re all sold out of 2014 Club Vehicles. Sorry.

(Please read this post for an explanation for the late posting for May. ~WM)

May 2014

May starts off with this humble l’il hauler, the GMC Wrecker, by Matchbox. Recalling that Ken had purchased a couple of other Getty-logoed models, I pointed this one out to him, which was in Bob’s fiddy-cent box. Ken explained that this was the more-rare version, with the phone number. Surprisingly, Ken turned it down. He already has one, in better condition. True, it’s missing its lightbar and other parts; the boom no longer stays up; and the hook is mangled. Nonetheless, for four bits (plus the rare phone number) I adopted this one myself.

I decided to get-ty this one after all.

I decided to get-ty this one after all.

Big Tractor Mike goes Big Camaro with this 1:18 monster. The “service bay” display isn’t just “for display”, by the way. The lift arms swing and extend, and the frame actually cranks up and down.

The oil catch adds an extra touch of realism.

The oil catch adds an extra touch of realism.

The oil catch can also be used as an ashtry for the front passenger.

The oil catch can also be used as an ashtray for the front passenger.

Irony of ironies. When I Bing’d “marx toys miami”, the listings (all company profile-type on business sites; no actual web presence) which I read show the company as inactive. One might not be able to keep a good man down, but apparently neither can one keep a Marx company up: the original Marx toy company went bankrupt and closed in1980. Sigh.

Marx made its mark but in the end it was unremarkable.

Marx made its mark but in the end it was unremarkable.

Still, BTM did get hisself a nice, retro fuel truck … which only adds to the irony, as Eastern Air Lines is also defunct.

Excuse me, I have to go cry.

Excuse me, I have to go cry.

I’m not sure, I think Tom bought this. Regardless, it sure is pretty!

This is the only kind of ''green'' vehicle I'd be interested in.

This is the only kind of ”green” vehicle I’d be interested in.

I know for a fact Tom did not buy this one … because it’s a RAOK from me to him. Picked one up for myself at Dollar Tree and, after drinking in how nicely rendered the model is, I said to myself, I have to get one for Tom!

Rich orange-copper color, and a really nice casting.

Rich orange-copper color, and a really nice casting.

Tom definitely picked this up: very accurate VW Bus model, with rare White Lightening tires.

$4 for the model, $550 for the Cragar rims.

$4 for the model, $550 for the Cragar rims.

From BTM, Tom acquired this VW/Kombi combo by Jada. It’d be impressive even if the bed didn’t operate.

*Real* VWs have that tape around the doors too, right? Right?

*Real* VWs have that tape around the doors too, right? Right?

I wanna say it's 1:24, but the bug seems a bit, um, ''upscale'' compared to the truck, no?

I wanna say it’s 1:24, but the bug seems a bit, um, ”upscale” compared to the truck, no?

I know, I know: you’re aching for a close-up of that sweet engine. Well, here ’tis.

''If the fan belt breaks, we use a rubber band!'' - Bill Cosby

”If the fan belt breaks, we use a rubber band!” – Bill Cosby

This is Tom’s Big Amazing Purchase for May. An outstanding tribute the Earnhardt racing family and legacy. The whole thing stands nearly twenty-four inches tall, and from its heft it has some serious, high-quality wood in its structure. I say “structure” rather than merely “frame” because those aren’t photos of cars — they’re actually 1:24-scale miniatures in a display-within-a-display arrangement.

In other words, there's a 4-inch deep case behind that frame.

In other words, there’s a 4-inch deep case behind that frame.

Ken bought a variety of various different things, the most interesting and curious of which is that Eastern 757. (Eastern Air Lines again!) It’s by a company called Schabak, which has some interesting history behind it.

757 - 200 = 557. Just sayin'.

757 – 200 = 557. Just sayin’.

Ken continues to vary in the varying things he buys. Here, he has a Treasure Hunts ’55 Chevy; two Garbage Gulpers which are festively decked out in holiday green and red; and the rare Formula 5000 and Soopa Coopa.

At least, I *think* that's a Formula 5000; I'm not really sure....

At least, I *think* that’s a Formula 5000; I’m not really sure….

Whilst cleaning up my garage and going through the many boxes therein, I set aside each Batman-related item into a group, knowing that Krista is Suncoast Diecasters‘ Official Bat-Collector®. I brought the box to the May meeting, and offered her the choice of any item, any several items or the whole thing. She choosed the whole kit & Bat-boodle. (Yes, including Happy Meal “Super Bugs” there.)

Bat-Toys...

Bat-Toys…

More Happy Meal Bat-prizes: Penguinmobile with spinning radiator grill/Umbrella of Doom; two Catmobiles (the ones with the waggley tails); and two Batmobiles which launch/convert into Batpedoes.

Bat-Things...

Bat-Things…

Krista found the (Corgi) Penguinmobile and Jokermobile Bat-buried in Bob’s budget Bat-box.

Bat-Stuff...

Bat-Stuff…

No, that’s not just a Batman action figure. That’s actually Bruce Wayne as Batman. The boots, gloves, and cowl/cape are removable, revealing a rather smartly-sculpted Michael Keaton. (Which I suspect is the real reason Krista took it — she just wanted her very Micheal Keaton action figure.) Yes, that’s Hardnoze Batmobile there, along with a Bat-signal ring which was a decoration on a Publix cupcake.

Nana-nana Nana-nana Nana-NA -- Bat-Produuuucts!

Nana-nana Nana-nana Nana-NA — Bat-Produuuucts!

Much to my surprise, Krista also decided to b*snarrgl* *warrful* *BUUURP* *growwwl* *snarrfl*

OK, I admit I have *no idea* what Rat Fink actually sounds like.

OK, I admit I have *no idea* what Rat Fink actually sounds like.

You can download a larger version of the above image (ya’know, if you’re into that sort of thing).

Bob brought some amazing rarities to our May meeting. Here we have two Rrrumblers. No, I did not misspell that. All Rrrumblers are rare, but some are more rare than others. These two are among the rarest. This first one is Bone Shaker. No, I did not mis-type that. Yes, the li’l Bone Shaker rat rod you’ve bought so lovingly (and no doubt in several variations) has indeed taken its name from this retro — and, as it were, somewhat more literal — rolling rider.

''Hong Kong'' is Chinese for ''Bone Shaker''.

”Hong Kong” is Chinese for ”Bone Shaker”.

Difficult to pull off the ''Bad Biker Dude'' look when your ride has FOUR TRAINING WHEELS.

Difficult to pull off the ”Bad Biker Dude” look when your ride has FOUR TRAINING WHEELS.

Something I never thought about, and indeed never noticed until I was prepping these photos, is how well the faces on the Rrrumblers’ riders are sculpted. The two-shot below is made from the same original full-size photos from which the above two pics were made.

James Spader: '70s Biker Dude.

James Spader: ’70s Biker Dude.

Here is what is probably the most rarest of the rare: Ghost. Yes, straightforward and simple, just Ghost. Note the bony hands which form the hub for the front wheel. Also, have you realized the handle bars and fork are actually a sword?

Hey, it's just Bone Shaker with a sheet draped over it! C'mon, Mattel!

Hey, it’s just Bone Shaker with a sheet draped over it! C’mon, Mattel!

So, what happens if the ghost's sheet gets caught in the spokes?

So, what happens if the ghost’s sheet gets caught in the spokes?

Yes, yes, I’ll be nice this time, and offer you a close-up of the Ghost’s ghost.

Ghosty McGhostface.

Ghosty McGhostface.


Now these … these are simply outstanding. These are beyond ultra-cool. These … are Gran Toros. Gran Toros are 1:43-scale Hot Wheels models which were sold mainly in Italy. I don’t recall how I discovered them (probably I was looking for other Hot Wheels sites to add to our Links). And yes, some Gran Toros were replicas of more “recognizable” Hot Wheels models, such Twin Mill. Gran Toros are that type of exceptionally rare item that one usually sees only in catalogs or in someone else’s collection. To have had real Gran Toros show up at a Suncoast Diecasters meeting, and to have actually held them in my own hands, is a wonderful experience for this humble collector.

Almost indescribably rare and wonderful.

Almost indescribably rare and wonderful.

It’d be one thing to borrow some other collector’s Gran Toros photos for the site just to illustrate the text. But, for one of our own club members to have brought in his own models, so I could provide our own photos here on the Suncoast Diecasters website, I cannot begin to describe to you how proud I am of that.

No, I did *not* open the package just to get the ''bonnet-up'' shot. (I just shook it violently, is all.)

No, I did *not* open the package just to get the ”bonnet-up” shot. (I just shook it violently, is all.)

Outstanding. I’ve actually had the opportunity to hold genuine Gran Toros models in my own hands. There can be no doubt that these outrageously rare Mattel giants are our May 2014 Find of the Month.

The 1:64 Rocket Bye Baby in front is for scale comparison.

The 1:64 Rocket Bye Baby in front is for scale comparison.

Feel free download this larger version of the above image.

See you at the June meeting!

~WM

July Meeting, plus a new Page!

Alrighty then! The photos from our July 2013 meeting are here for you to enview and enjoy. “Enview” doesn’t mean anything; I just made it up. I should have used “peruse” — “for you to peruse and enjoy”; that’s much better. Also, perhaps you noticed the claim of newness in the title: Yep, very proud to announce that our Club Vehicles page is now online, for you to (again) peruse and enjoy.

Before we get to the meeting pics, I want to tell you of a little comedy adventure of mine: Cracked had a contest in which readers could submit, in the form of humorous photos, their interpretations of the theme, “If Famous Movies Had $50 Budgets”. You can see the winners here. My non-winning entry is below. Can you guess which big-budget blockbuster I attempted to re-create?

Yes, you've guessed correctly! It is indeed ''The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner''.

Yes, you’ve guessed correctly! It is indeed ”The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”.

Enough with the verbosity! On to the July photos!

July 2013

Ken garnered several nice treasures this month. Here we see, L to R, Porsche 917 (Summer); Freeman Inter-City Commuter (Matchbox); and Hi Ho Silver (Matchbox). Interesting fact: While this Breithaupt page clearly identifies the blue racer as a Porsche 917, its own base states “B.R.M.P.154 CANAM”, suggesting that it’s a British Racing Motors design for the Can-Am racing series. …Except BRM was a Formula One racing team. Curious. The Commuter, according to this book, is based on a concept vehicle which never went into production (although this page notes that it’s not too different from the modern sport wagon). The Hi Ho Silver is … silly.

Ken had the ''Hi Ho Silver'' personally autographed by Johnny Depp.

Ken had the ”Hi Ho Silver” personally autographed by Johnny Depp.

More Kenstuff. L to R: Ford LTD in “State Police” livery (Matchbox); Lola T222 Can-Am (Summer);Jaguar (Marx); unidentified Summer; and ’55 Chevy Bel Air (Matchbox), centerstage. The ’55 came from Jim’s collection; I’d seen it numerous times, thinking that the AFLAC logo was simply a promotional give-away. Turns out it’s a sales reward. Jim used to work for AFLAC, and he hit the sales goal of so many thousand units per so many thousand customers (or some such metric), and earned that little car. And now Ken has it. With no real effort.

By the way, this is the 2nd ''flat cardboard interior'' Jag Ken has acquired; the 1st was in August of '10.

By the way, this is the 2nd ”flat cardboard interior” Jag Ken has acquired; the 1st was in August of ’10.

Bob picked up this sweet adventure set which includes a Bronco 4-Wheeler (yes, the one with the half-a-motorsickle on the back), a Jeep CJ-7, and a (very rare) Sunagon. I couldn’t get an angle that didn’t have bad glare on the box window, so I’ve given you two slightly different views of the box, because that doesn’t help either.

If you squarnt your eyes the right way, it's in 3-D! Not really, but go ahead and squarnt your eyes anyway!

If you squarnt your eyes the right way, it’s in 3-D! Not really, but go ahead and squarnt your eyes anyway!

Along with the vehicles (and a removable camping scene!), the package also includes several outdoors-y accessories. I’ve isolated them in this image below for your convenience:

So... Is the green person from Mars? I'm just tryin' to figure things out here.

So… Is the green person from Mars? I’m just tryin’ to figure things out here.

From Bob, I purchased this gorgeous Dodge Challenger MkIII (Matchbox). Quite some time ago, I had somehow stumbled upon some info or images of the MkIII online; I never expected to find a  model of it (much less own one). Remember how, in our previous post, we re-introduced Ken’s obsession with garbage trucks? Well, thanks to Bob, in this post we re-introduce the reason I was able to acquire this little gem: it has a badly wankered wheel, and so Bob offered it to me for … an Embarrassingly Low Price®!

A Concept Car, from back when ''concept car'' actually meant something.

A Concept Car, from back when ”concept car” actually meant something.

No doubt some of you smart-alecky young whippersnappers are thinkin’, Yeah, right, “Dodge Challenger MkIII”, probably some total fantasy out of some Matchbox stoner’s head. In that case, I suggest you check out this conversation’s page 1 and page 2; perhaps you might consider this photo or this photo or even this photo.

In the future, driving with the top down will be completely inconvenient!

In the future, driving with the top down will be completely inconvenient!

Bill added two more international-edition models to his collection…

One of these cars is facing the wrong way! Can you guess which one?

One of these cars is facing the wrong way! Can you guess which one?

…As well as an Espanish Ford Escort, and a MOC stateside Bubble Gunner. A Gunner still in its original packaging — that’s just scrumptious.

Personally, I prefer these 'retro' illustrated cards to the super-stylized ones.

Personally, I prefer these ‘retro’ illustrated cards to the super-stylized ones.

By the way, just for your information, the price tag on the Gunner is from Service Merchandise. I was very sad to see that chain go away, as it always had a good selection of Hot Wheels.

(Sigh) Service Merchandise -- I'd spent many a money there. (But not enough to keep the business afloat, apparently.)

(Sigh) Service Merchandise — I’d spent many a money there. (But not enough to keep the business afloat, apparently.)

Bill also nabbed a few classic Redlines.

One of these things is not like the others. (Hint: it's the plaid one.)

One of these things is not like the others. (Hint: it’s the plaid one.)

Sweet, sweet Redlines continue. Here, Bill has the rare plum Xploder; a Mongoose funny car with original stickers (not tampos); and, um, that blue squarish thing, whatever.

The Mongoose's stickers are on backwards because the car's previous owner, little 5-year-old Melvin, is an idiot.

The Mongoose’s stickers are on backwards because the car’s previous owner, little 5-year-old Melvin, is an idiot.

Tom shopped and shopped and … Well, you get the idea. Starting at left, you see a ’66 VW bug; VW microbus; Rusty Wallace race tuck; ’67 Camaro; another ’67 Camaro; an unmarked(?) Highway Patrol; and a stretch limo (Majorette).

This is where I'd put a funny caption, if I could think of one!

This is where I’d put a funny caption, if I could think of one!

You’ve been pretty good so far, so just to be nice to you — just this one time, mind you — I offer you this close-up of the Rust-Eze Wallet race truck.

Hmm -- That doesn't look like Circle Tracker *or* Circle Trucker....

Hmm — That doesn’t look like Circle Tracker *or* Circle Trucker….

Bob brought in several of Matchbox’s Great Beers of the World series models, of which Tom bought this 1932 Ford AA…

I've heard ''Corona'' is Spanish for ''horse water''.

I’ve heard ”Corona” is Spanish for ”horse water”.

…As well as this 1932 Mercedes-Benz.   *burp*

''Tonight, toniiight, let it be Lowenbr--'' oops, I mean Henninger-Brau. Sorry, Mr. Producer. Sorry, everyone.

”Tonight, toniiight, let it be Lowenbr–” oops, I mean Henninger-Brau. Sorry, Mr. Producer. Sorry, everyone.

From me (Your Humble Webmaster), Tom purchased two vehicles: This Wal-mart exclusive “Red Card” variation of Invader…

In Australian rules football, this means Tom would have to sit out the rest of the meeting. So there.

In Australian rules football, this means Tom would have to sit out the rest of the meeting. So there.

…And this over-packaged, highly hot-rodded Ford Model A pick-’em-up.

Putting the model in a normal, rectangular shell in a typical wheels-down position just wouldn't make sense.

Putting the model in a normal, rectangular shell in a typical wheels-down position just wouldn’t make sense.

So, does the physical model actually resemble the exaggerated cartoon illustration? Let’s finagle a better viewing angle, and make a determination:

Hmm. -- Eh, close enough.

Hmm. — Eh, close enough.