Mike C. sent me a photo of his Christmas diorama at home.  Not only thoughtful but convenient as well, as it allows me to bookend this month’s Gallery update with holiday festiveness.

Have a Holley header Christmas...
Christmas RAOK from Bill.  This is the ’81 re-color of the ’31 Doozie, which will go nicely with my fancy American Classics version and my original from ’77.

Christmas is a time for giving...
Jim brought in a collection of wonderful rare models, including this great green Gremlin Grinder.
Find 'em, don't grind 'em!
Jim’s collection also includes this rad Sir Rodney Roadster.  (I hadn’t even heard of this model before I saw the Micro Machines-sized keychain model.)

Rodney?  As in hot rod, get it?
…And to whom does this lovely red interior belong?
...Red seats in the sunset...
Well, it belongs to the Lumina Stocker in this “bonus car” Race Team package.  By the way, this “red interior” version is extremely rare.  How rare?; let’s put it this way: book value on this set is between $100.00 and $200.00.  Jim prefers cash, thank you.

Of COURSE it's free with purchase -- it's glued on!
Big Tractor Mike brought in a bunch of large-scale models, mostly Tonka but a few other brands as well.  (Maybe they’re better described as large-size rather than large-scale.)  Pretty evenly split among trucks, military vehicles and construction vehicles — however, there was one oddball in the bunch: this Vega Major Luxory Coach, by Dinky. Seems to be about 1/43 scale (I guess, I suppose).  A few dings and scratches, but otherwise in very nice shape.  I don’t why it caught my attention, but it did, so after some hemming and hawing I relieved BTM of this bus burden.

...And leave the driving to us!
Here’s a ventral view, for those of you who want data to plug into the auction sites.  (Yes, I’ve put a battery into the battery holder; no, nothing happened.  However, unlike modern models, the base is held to the shell by a screw, rather than a rivet, so…)

Vega Major in the constellation Orion.  Oh, wait...
A guest, Bob K., brought in a fine collection of rareties, not the least of which is this more rare than rare Hardee’s collectible.  This is the “Road Runner” race team set from the mid- to late-70s (Ertl-made, by the way).  Brief web research reveals that Road Runner was actually the driver character in the commercials who, with Eddie his mechanic, would stop at Hardee’s after every race.  Note that the set has three pieces: car, truck and trailer.  Brief auction site research reveals that the car or the truck can be found separately, but none even seem to be aware of the trailer!  A word to the wise collector is sufficient.

We'll stop & get us a roast beef sammich...
Bob had not one, not two but five Kenner Fast111s in his collection.  Having rediscovered Fast111s since joining Suncoast Diecasters, I happily snapped them up.  For those of you keeping track, clockwise from middle left they are Jet Vet; Cyclone 3; Evil Eye; Blazin’ Bandit; and Blue Monday.  (Yes, the red one is Blue Monday.)

Looks like we pulled a Fast One on 'em!
Ken scored this ritzy red Fire Chief from Bob as well.
Kinda looks like the FAB-1
Husky: for boys who need to wear larger-size pants
Again from Bob, Ken also nabbed this super way-cool hot-rodded Ford pick’em-up truck by Zylmex.
Now THIS is a pick-me-up!
Blue smoke...  Must be burnin' oil....
Zylmex stops colds and congestion in minutes
Ken did quite well with these four well-presented Wellys.
Well, well, well ... well.
Ken scores again with this JL Custom AMX and sweeet Edelbrockified Bel-Air.
Edelb'Rock & Roll!
Ken again!  Man, that Willys jeep is too, too cool.
Okay, okay, Mattel owns everything now!
One man’s trash is another Ken’s treasure.  Ken ups the value of his already-valuable garbage truck collection with this handsome hauler.

Showroom new!
Dig that groovy retro font!  “Wives!  Keep your husbands happy with the new Colectomatic®!”
Colectomatic pops the dice - collect a 6 and you move twice!
It wouldn’t be Christmas without cardboard!  Ken & his daughter make these groovy decorations from cardboard backers.  They’ll do requests for a specific brand or line if’n you give them twenty (20) of the specific backers you prefer.  As you can see, this’n’s made completely out of HW Mystery stuff.

Speaking of ornaments: This is the Hot Wheels ornament Ken gave me a few years ago.  The ball can be opened to remove the cameo, which features Santa in a “Go, in that direction!” pose, and a “Micro Machines”-size funny car which apparently can peel out so strongly even the front tires kick up snow.  I’d make a funny comment here about racing and lights and Christmas tree, but I can’t come up with one…

A 'Merry Christmas!' shout-out to Ken!
…And here’s the other bookend: Photos of my Christmas diorama on display during the meeting.  The pizza shack is from Ace Hardware.  I was checking it out, trying to decide whether to buy it — when I spotted the little Holiday Car Show sign near the door, I said, “Oh, I gotta have this!” Close enough in scale for my Tom Daniel replicas and the ‘Stang from Big Tractor Mike (thankee, Mike!).  Trees, shredded snow and my
“Christmas Village” snowman fill out the scene nicely.  Battery-powered lights provide festive “under-snow” lighting.  Hey, you want some groovy (post-)holiday wallpaper for you computer?; then click on either of the images below and download nice large copies for free!

Download a wallpaper of this image!
...Or, download a wallpaper of this image!

Nov 2009

Mike C. scored this custom from Rob.  Rockin’ some serious ghost flames, there, Robster!
Flame on!
Always something new at Suncoast Diecasters meetings.  Here, Big Tractor Mike brings a sweeet collection of trucks and construction / service vehicles.

Shelby 427, courtesy Jeremy.  (I should’ve taken in out of the Kar Keeper.  Oh well…)  I didn’t notice until after I took the picture that instead of the original Otto illustration, they used the actual Custom Otto model.  Cool: the old-school flames and Mattel logo, combined with the 40th Anniversary icon.

You Otto be in pictures...
Ken scored this gorgeous version of the Custom ’53 Chevy.
You know, that Custom ’53 Chevy: the one with the seethroughable hood.
Is that a real word?
BTM picked up an “exclusive colors” 10-pack, kept the ones he wanted, and Ken obtained the rest.  When Ken showed ’em to me, I was so impressed by how good these “alt-color” versions looked that I decided a photo was appropriate.  IMHO, the Europa, Jaguar and Dodge cop-cruiser look the best.  (By the way, as a special bonus, you can click on this photo and grab a large version [1602 x 1026 x 16M] for your desktop or whatever.)

RAOK, courtesy Big Tractor Mike.  I don’t recall how the discussion went back in September, but when I arrived at the November meeting, this wonderful thing was sittin’ on my table.  This is the Plasticville Turnpike, an O-gauge model railroad accessory.  In case it looks familiar (aside from whatever model railroading experience you may have), it’s because BTM used this model to stage his Cooper-Jarrets; you can see the pics if you scroll way, way, waaay back to the July ’07 photos.  I get a kick out of this model because, as a native Floridian, “turnpike” is a natural part of my vocabulary.  I’m so pleased with the way this photo came out, that I’m offering an additional bonus: clicking on this pic will bring up its own large version [1900 x 857 x 16M].

Gateway to vacation!
Upon learning that the turnpike model is O-gauge, which is 1:48 scale, it was a no-brainer that I should stage it with some of my 1:43 cars.  But, I decided to kick it up a bit: a photo of an actual highway as a backdrop.  That is, you could “look through” the turnpike to see the roadway beyond.  I found a photo online that worked, and the result is quite satisfying … however, I haven’t yet heard back from the owner of the photo as to whether I have permission to use it here on the site.  So, in the meantime, let me tease you with the substitute version below which, in place of the highway photo, features a groovy, funkified background!

Such a tease...

Sep 2009

Towards the end of the September meeting, some guests popped in with a collection of oldies, all of which were in great shape.  I already have a Front Runnin’ Fairmont, but mine is really, really, really beat up.  So, I was more than happy to aquire this beauty.

Way out front!
Land Rover Safari, ca. 1967.  Those of you with a keen eye will note that it’s been customized with painted details.  Big Tractor Mike advised me that such customizing knocks down the value for hard-core collectors.  However, I am not one, and considering both that the toy is in very good condition and that the painting was done very neatly, I found his asking price to be very reasonable.

Road trip!
Clearly meant for Jolly Old England with that jolly old right-side steering.  Note the fine body details.  You might also note that the door seams are embossed rather than debossed; a simpler method, but with less realistic results in the miniature.

Can't tell their left from their right...
And here we have Skids and Mudflap from the new Transformers movie.  I’m KIDDING!  That’s the ’68 Toyota Land Cruiser on the left, currently on the pegs.

Skids and Mudflap.  Oh, wait...
Here’s where it all got started.  The very first miniature vehicle sold under the Matchbox name.  Of course, this isn’t an actual original No. 1 (I ain’t gots that kind of money!).  It’s from their very popular reproduction series.  Courtesy Big Tractor Mike.

It's #1 in my book!
What, no Real Riders?

Jly/Aug 2009

The wonders one may find in a bargain bin.  In July, Big Tractor Mike had a serious sale (an “I’m tired of luggin’ all this stuff around!” sale), and among the stuff I grabbed was this little blue bomb.  I turned it over for a bit, thinking it seemed very familiar; when I scoped out the name on the bottom, I couldn’t believe my eyes…

Viva Evropa!
Turns out it’s a Superfast-era version of the car on the left: the Lotus Europa!  This is amazing — owning two separate editions, by the same manufacturer, of the same car.  The models, separated by several decades; the designs, by only a few years.

Das Auto. --Oh, wait...
Ah, again, made in jolly ol’ England, not some, shall we say, more far off, exotic land.  Note also the “transitional” wheels.

Yes, it's an import.
I generally don’t collect European sportsters; however, this one, also from BTM’s sale, is in fine shape considering its age, and the doors work, so … okay, now I’m collecting European sportsters.  And in grabbing this one, I also, quite inadvertantly, managed to accomplish something else — which I’ll explain later(!).

In authentic Euro-orange!
Hop in!
Steve, a guest at our July meeting, brought some fantastic rarities, including quite a variety of Zowies (some even in their original baggies!).  I couldn’t remembar all the ones I already had (c’mon, you’ve been there), so I picked one that I definitely didn’t recognize: this quirky little sombrero model.

I am ze Frito Bandito -- oh, wait...
As I was setting it up for the photo, I noticed two black objects sticking out the sides.  I presumed they were exhaust pipes; however, upon closer inspection, I realized they are the moustache on a little face under the sombrero!  I guess his “eyes” are supposed to be windshields — which brings to mind the classic saying, The eyes are the windows to the passenger compartment.  Or, something.

I'm Chiquita Banana and I'm --darn, I did it again!
For those who’ve never seen Zowies before: here are some.
I also generally don’t collect old pick-up trucks, but this one’s a Yatming, and really nice.
Built Yatming-tough
Truly, a Chevro-lette
Another find in BTM’s sale.  While not quite the joyous surprise as the Europa above, this one proved amusing as a compare / contrast piece against…

…The Maisto Fresh Metal model on the left.  (By the way, there’s hardly any metal, fresh or otherwise, to be found on the Maisto.)  Naturally, I presumed the bargainvette to be a Summer, based on the low quality of the casting; however, the model number on the base indicates it’s a Yatming(!).  Compare this to the Chevy p’up above — I’m guessing Summer made the ‘Vette for Yatming.

I'd say ''Das Auto'', but I used that one already.
I can’t believe I’ve collected as many funkified ’70s vans as I have, as I (ahem) generally don’t collect vans either.  (Ahem.)

So, I wondered, what can I learn of this Bedford CF which made this Summer Van Model?  Well, I learned that Bedford CF is the van model, which means Summer is the manufacturer.  Now, again, compare this Summer-branded van (which has lots of nice metal, by the way) with the bargainvette and ChevYat pick-up.  I’d easily suspect some other company, with better production facilities, made the van for Summer.

''Summer van'', by Bedford.   Um...
Yet, the question of what Summer can and cannot do gets even more intriguing with this model, the Lola T260.  Considering everything that’s wrong on the model, it’s still for Summer a very adventurous design.

Lola, L-O-L-A Lola
Speaking of intrigue: I have many Summer models with no brand name — you can tell they’re Summer ’cause, you know, they look like a Summer model.  I happen to have two (including the van above) which actually say Summer.  But this Lola is the first one I’ve ever seen with the mythical leaping gazelle logo.

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Toy Car
Man, I’m just denyin’ everything this time!  I (AHEM) also generally don’t collect tanker trucks.  However, I was looking for this model for a particular reason.  First, let me give a shout-out to Big Tractor Mike for having one in such great condition.  Look over the photos, then I’ll ‘splain my want for this model.

Bringing a clean, foamy shave to businessmen everywh--  oh, wait...
Toy truck
Back in December of ’07, I picked up this MB Super Garage from BTM.  As the renderings of cars in the picture are of only moderate quality, and several have a kind of “generic” appearance, the idea of trying to collect any of the shown cars seemed ridiculous…

When a regular garage just won't do...
…Except for this tanker.  I can’t explain it, but this one got in my head and stayed there.  So, when I found one in very poor condition, and BTM offered the lovely above instead, I very happily acquired it.

Bringing a smooth, comfortable shave to-- oh, wait...
While I was setting up the box for the above photo, something in the corner of my eye grabbed my attention: just to the side of the Burmah was a little orange sportser which looked oddly familiar…  And now you know what it was that I mysteriously referred to several pictures above: I inadvertantly managed to collect not one but two of the models shown on the box.

Just like in the brochure!
Or, make that three.  Well, maybe two & a half.  Different names, different colors, different castings, but still the same design(!).

Indentical except for the differences
This is from Matchbox’s Rollamatics series.  Each vehicle had an action feature operated by rolling the vehicle.  No guess as to the feature on this vehicle since, aside from the wheels themselves, the only other thing that could move is the radar dish.  I’ve seen several of these over the years at Suncoast Diecasters meetings, and they all had a similar jerky movement of the radar.  This tells me that either they all had the same failure in the action linkage, or that’s how the radar is supposed to move.

Rollin', rollin', rollin'
(See prev.)
I was looking through BTM’s, ahem, “Slightly More Expensive” bin, wherein I found this odd-looking little hopper.  Strangest looking little thing I ever did see.  Was it a jeep?; a golf cart?  This is the Honda Vamos, an interesting but short-lived little runner.  (When I saw a commercial for Honda’s new Big Red, I thought it was a revamped Vamos, but the similarities are vauge at best.)

Nonetheless, very nicely detailed.  Thanks, Tomica!  (By the way, the glare in the headlights isn’t camera flash; it’s actually a small lamp on the back corner of my desk.  How’s that for reflectivty!)

Brother, can you spare a tire?
Very nicely done base as well.  Thanks again, Tomica!  Note the mark, “S=1/54”; I’ve managed to collect a few models in the 1/50 range, so this’n won’t be all alone.  Note also the Whizz Wheels-esque ridges on the tires.

Nicely done
On to the August meeting now, where I appropriated from Ken this PT Cruiser and mythical Pronto Cruizer, both by Maisto.  They’ll make great companion pieces for the Prowler and semi-mythical Howler.  Hey, do you remember when American automobile companies were privately-owned creators of both jobs and quality vehicles, before they became just another trinket on the charm bracelet of the Government?  Yeah, me too…

Buy a Chrysler!
Ken had this rad-lookin’ truck sitting amongst his wares (his whats?).  Oddly enough, I (mis-)took it for one of Rob’s customs.  Ken informed me that it’s actually from Maisto’s “AllStars / Elite Transport” series.  He bought it for the Willys, and decided he didn’t need the carrier.  So, as friend, I relieved him of this burden.

Fancy truck
On the left is the Treasure Hunt series GMC Motohome I bought from Jeremy; on the right, the super-hunt version I found in the wild!  Yep, believe it or not, I found a super t-hunt all on my very own.  Now, I suppose most of you can see, even in these photos, the differences between them, but, as a free service to you, close-ups are provided below.

Happy huntin'!
Note that in the illustration, the GMC is shown wearing FTEs, and the left close-up also has FTEs.  In the right close-up, however, the toy has Real Riders  Note also that the left says “T-Hunt”, while the right says “Trea$ure Hunt$”.  Oh, and the mis-aligned tampo on the super?; well, that just makes it singularly unique!

Treasured difference(!).

Some of you may be surprised at this, but there is in fact a collector market for old model kit boxes.  That’s right, boxes!  I don’t collect them myself, but when Big Tractor Mike handed me this one near the end of the meeting, I certainly couldn’t turn it down.  I was, after all, intrigued by the BOAC markings in the illustration.  Some of our older guests may actually remember when BOAC was a working airline; many of you may be familiar with BOAC in a lyrical sense, although you may not have recognized the name when you hear it:

Vernon’ll meet me when the BOAC lands / Keys to the MG will be in his hands
Adjust to the driving ‘n’ I’m on my way / It’s all on the right side in Montego Bay

Vernon'll meet me when the BOAC lands...
Again, this is why Suncoast Diecasters is seriously cool: BTM shows up with not just one, but several Zylmex still on cards!  I determined this fire engine to be the coolest of the bunch.  Note it’s not even punched, despite being price-tagged!

Z on a card!!!
Fortunately, Mike also had some Z’s loose in baggies, including a duplicate of the flamer.  Dig the nicely-articulated boon, including “working” piston.

...But this one ain't!
Courtesy BTM, another Zee.  Literally, ZEE, not Zylmex.  Merc/Benz 300SL.  Pretty ritzy, no?
…And how’s this for fancy-schmansy!
Big shout-out to Ed, who managed to swing some time off and re-join us.  Glad to see you again, Ed!  Of course, Ed brought a wonderful assortment of vehicles as well.  I spotted this TootsieToy beach hopper and, not recalling if I already had this one (c’mon, you’ve been there), snapped it up.

Beach time!
Imagine my surprise as I was looking it over to discover it’s not a TootsieToy; it’s a PlayArt!  This is the best macro shot I could get; the only letter that really shows up clearly is the ‘a’ in Art, so I scribbled on the inset for ya.

It says PlayArt.  Really.
Ed also had a Flying Colors-era Land Lord.  Don’t know if I still have my old original Land Lord, but if not, I got me a handy spare.

So that's where the rent money goes....
Never, ever would I have looked for or bought the Merc/Benz 380SEL.  That is, until I learned that this one included a German Shepard in the back seat!  Now, finding old Matchbox cars with dogs is relatively easy; but a Hot Wheels car with a dog?!  That’s unique!

Best macro shot I could get (mebbe I shoulda backed out a bit); anyways, if you look at for a moment, you’ll see the four-legged anti-theft system staring back at you.

The Hound of the Backseatvilles
Another classic from the Edsortment – proof that oversized engines and rear tires can turn any car into a hot rod.
One man's poison...
Handy tool kit inlcuded, for when that rear-mounted fuel tank burts into flames.
In case of a breakdown...
Remember when I got all giddy about finding three vehicles that matched the illustrations on the Super Garage box?  (Way back in the July photos, several screen scrolls ago?)  Note the green runner to the left of the Burmah tanker.  Well, guess what I found among the Ed-mobiles…

Yes, we're back to the garage.
Yep, thar ’tis!  The same black whatsit sticking up through the hood and everything!
Just like in the picture!
…Which, I’ve just realized, means I’m using the Super Garage box as an incredibly bulky and inconvenient catalog.  Hmm.

What the heck.  The doors still work, the interior looks good, the car looks good overall for its age.  In fact, the only real problem is the missing trailer hitch which, really, I don’t care about.

There's just one hitch...
I mean, it’s not like I ever actually buy a trailer or anything.
Trailer for sale or rent...
The Lord was smilin’ on me for sure.  I sold my original Jet Sweep X5 to another SD’er many, many moons ago.  Don’t remember who, might’ve been Ed; this may or may not be my old one.  But, it’s mine now, and that’s what matters — thanks, Ed!  (I decided I wanted it back (or replaced) because I’ve collected many jet- or turbine-powered vehicles, and I began to realize I missed this one turrbly.)

Rather nicely detailed turbine.  The Elmer’s glue bottle serves as a support because the body shell doesn’t stay up on its own.  And here, to my shame, is the reason I sold it in the first place: the driver’s cage.  Instead of being actually cage-like, it’s not much more than a box around the seat.  And that’s why I sold it.  Pretty stupid, no?  Yes.

Open up and say ''aaaahh''.
Yes, it really is.  It’s an original Redline-era Funny Money.  I’m embarrased to say how little Ed asked for this rarity.  I am exceptionally happy to have added this’n to my collection.

Tain't funny, McGee!
Another picture.
Okay, okay, it’s missing some parts.  I say, so what?  I have an original Redline-era Funny Money!  Woo-hoooo!!!

Is that covered in the warranty?

Jun 2009

Ken had a sale, so I grabbed a bunch of cars for parts, for that day when I might actually start making some customs.  As he was setting out his wares, I spotted this fire engine among them.  I looked it over and was quite surprised at its quality.  It’s a no-namer, no mark on the bottom except “Made in China”; yet it’s nicely detailed & painted.  The “badge” tampo on the doors even has fine lettering that’s legible under an eye loupe.

NoNameVille Volunteer Fire Dpet.
Can you believe this?  It even has a working three-section ladder!  When’s the last time you that on a brand-name 1/64 flame-douser?

Gee, dad, it really works!
Another purchase from the J. C. Kenny White Sale.  At first glance, this’n looks to be beyond hope.  However, that interesting hoop scoop…

Diamond in de rough...
…And complete absence of an engine told me that this one’s just ripe for customing.  Besides, there’s another reason I picked this one up…

How's it on mileage?
Yup: it’s actually made in England.  As recently as 1979, Matchbox was still makin’ ’em at home, as it were.  In other words, the work wasn’t outsourced to Hong Kong, or Malaysia, or Tawain, or….

Not outsourced
From the rare Zowies series.  Surprisingly (and disappointingly), I haven’t been able to find much information online regarding Zowies (although I’ve found many photos).  As I understand it from Big Tractor Mike, Mattel sold the Zowies line in the ’70s as a subset of Hot Wheels.  The models all are comical in nature, with cartoonishly exaggerted features.  They’re about a third the size of regular Hot Wheels models, which makes them roughly 1/87 scale (and, boy, won’t this look good added to that HO layout you’ve spent 4,000 hours building in your garage!).

Wowee!  A Zowie!
This model is commonly called “Baby Bonnet”, but it occaisionally shows up with other names.  From this angle, the bonnet almost has a “covered wagon” look to it.  And the bit of sculpturing in front of the radiator is apparently meant to be a heart-shaped Valentine box.  Aaawwww…

What's in a name?
The next several vehicles are from Big Tractor Mike’s bargain bin.  This one, I’m guessing, is a Summer model.  The sub-standard casting and cheap wheels and base are big clues.  The trunk seems out of proportion, but perhaps it’s an illusion caused by the sweep of the tailfins.  I picked it up because I find it curious, and because it’s another car to add to my “IF I ever start customizing…” pile.

A Summer special?
I couldn’t read the fine embossed lettering under the fluorescents at the Sports Bar, but the cartoonish proportions, “space cadet” wheels and pale blue plastic base just screamed, It’s a Maisto!  However, the eye loupe at home revealed a huge surprise: (drum roll) It’s a Mattel Meal-mobile!  Yep, it’s a Mattel model, Hot Wheels-branded, from a McDonald’s Happy Meal.  Which, I must admit, greatly surprised me. I’ve been collecting McHot Wheels fairly regularly ever since McD offered the Jeep CJ-7 & Tricar X-8 in baggies in the late ’70s; yet, I couldn’t recall this one.  Fortunately, it stated 2001 on the base, so I binged googled various combinations of details, and finally was able to determine that this model is “2K57 Glo-Rider“.

Meals on wheels...
Now, 2K57, okay, I get it, it’s a “year 2000” interpretation of the ’57 Chevy.  But, “Glo-Rider”?  I then realized that, in the scanned ad I found online, both it and a customized pick-up had a “glow effect” underneath.  Ah, now it makes sense: it’s a riff on the short-lived fad of installing under-chassis lighting.  …Which means … the base glows in the dark!  WOO-HOO!!!  Which, in fact, it does; I have proven this.  However, my attempts at photographing it totally tanked.  I do own a black light fixture, but it’s deep in storage.  So, in the mean time, I offer you this completely fake version:

Ooh...  Aah...
I couldn’t believe BTM had this in his bargain bin!  But, he pointed out that it had been repainted, and had some other faults.  No problem!; I’m just happy to add another classic TootsieToy to my collection!  (Hmm…  I got a PlayArt Esso truck, now a T’Toy Mobil…  If I could just get ones that say Exxon, ExxonMobil and MobilGas, I’d have the whole set!)

A true American classic...
Okay, heavy oxidation on the tank; should OHSA or the EPA maybe know about this?
Here’s one that slipped past Quality Control: the left front wheel is, like, totally punched off-center!
It Came From The New GM!
What’s more rare that a British-brand toy car actually made in Britain?  How about an American-brand toy truck actually made in America.  Heck, it even tells us what city it was made in!  (Chicago? Sheesh, I hope Rahm Emanuel’s fingerprints aren’t all over this.)  Also, it’s nice to know it’s based on a Chevy design, it’s not a ‘generic’ truck body.

Last month, I told you about a RAOK from Kenny; well, I got one from Big Tractor Mike this time!  He brought in some great old-school car cases, among which was this l’il retro wonder.  Considering both its rarity and great condition, his askin’ price was more than resonable.  However, I’m putting funds into a small bidness, so while I could pick up a few cars, the case was out of the question.  Time passes… then Mike walks over and hands it to me!  He offered it as a thanks for my management of the website!  Mike, I seriously do appreciate it.

This is beyond cool...
Hey, ya notice that logo down near the bottom?  Here’s a close-up.  Like me, it may take a moment for you to get it.  Okay, time’s up: a car case, from Mattel … but it’s not Hot Wheels-branded?  Seems a little odd, doesn’t it?

You can tell it's Mattel, it's swell!
Ah, here’s the secret.  You know those cars in the “Since ’68” packaging?  Scope out the year: 1966.  Can you dig this?  Mattel was selling a car case … before it began selling its own cars!  This is exquisite rarity defined.

Um, ''Since '66'', anyone?

Apr/May 2009

Ken tags a triple-fold triumph for his tally of toy-car treasures with this trio of terrific Treasure Hunts!
Ken's treasures
Like Henry Ford said, you can have your Studebaker Avanti in any color, as long as it’s black.  In this case, Ken got one in orange black and one in green black.

Again, more gorgeous Kenner Fast111’s from Sondra’s collection.
Kenner Fast111s
Again again, I cannot overstate the rarity of such clear, legible license plates.
More great Sondra rarities: Matchbox choppers.  Man, I don’t even remember these!  This is Jumbo Jet
Not an OCC chop...
…And this is The Stingeroo.
Now, that's horsepower!
Hmm….almost looks like a political convention…
It's a zoo here...
And here is your showroom shot.
Another incredible Sondra rarity, and my “buy of the month” for April: Hot Wheels’ “Revvers” series Haulin’ Horses.

Revvers Haulin Horses
Kinda has a resemblence to Mutt Mobile, don’t it?  I vaguely remember having one of these as a kid, but I don’t recall which model; probably this one.  Hmm?  What’s that sticking out the back?

Oh, it’s just the knob for the winding mechanism.
Yes, winding mechanism!  A rubber band would be hooked onto the tongue under the radiator, then onto the hook at the front of the winder.  Several smart turns to the winder, and the car would be “revved up” and ready to haul deleted horses across the floor!  And in case you’re wondering, yes, I’ve tried it.  Used a couple different rubber bands — no go.  The winding mechanism moves smoothly enough; I suspect that the rubber / vinyl “treads” on the drive wheels have become too tacky with age for it to work well anymore.  But, the car’s still beautiful, and I’m still happy!

Alternative fuel...
Here, Big Tractor Mike scored the Buy of the Month for April, and what has to be the greatest find to date at a Suncoast Diecasters meeting.  Now, some of you youngsters might be thinking, “Okay, BTM got an old steam shovel in a box — what’s the big whoop?”…

Some of you not-so-younsters might get a bit more hip to the thrill by checking the name on the endflap:
Major find!
That’s right, it’s the incredibly rare M4 Ruston Bucyrus 22-RB steam shovel, red body, mustard yellow shovel and green tracks, in excellent, excellent, excellent condition (thanks again, Sondra!).  Not only is this model rare, this is the rarest version.  When this was first produced, the “22-RB” tampo was done in red — yeah, exactly, a red label on a red body.  It was near impossible to read, so Matchbox had to quickly redesign it; which means this version almost instantly became a collector’s item.

Here is that wonderful, foolish tampo, the mark of a genuinely great find.  Congratulations, Mike!
Red on red...?
We had a serious Redline collector as a guest at our May meeting.  His Redlines were in truly superb condition; and of course were accordingly priced.  Imagine my surprise when I found these originals in his dollar bin!  …SOLD!

I'd buy THAT for a dollar!
Ken provided this gorgeous “Larry’s Garage”-edition Wild Thing…
Wild Thing, I think you move me...
…Complete with authentical Larrygraph!
Larry signed this for me personally.  No, really!
Big Tractor Mike provided this fine Commer Ice Cream Canteen.  A little play-worn here & there, but otherwise in really great shape.  (Hey, do British ice cream trucks play the same skwonky music as American ice cream trucks?)

...And all free today....
A close-up of the menu, in case you’re buyin’…
Can't get that music out of my head!
Interesting design idea…but isn’t a sunroof on an ice cream truck just a wee bit counter-productive?
Hot idea!
If you remember, way back in … (scroll, scroll) … September of ’08, I got an unpunched TootsieToy from BTM.  Well, lightning strikes twice!  Thanks to Bill (who returned from his mysterious absence), here is an unpunched Ertl — woo-hoo!

Thanks, Bill!
RAOK: Random Act of Kindness.  As we were closing up the May meeting, Ken walks over and hands me this Toyota RAV4, by Edocar.  Now, as I’ve mentioned before, great finds at Suncoast Diecasters meetings generally fall into one of three categories: brands I know well; brands I’ve forgotten; and brands I’ve never heard of.  This one’s in that third category.  I appreciate it not only because it’s a gift, but particularly because it’s my very first Edocar.  Thanks, Ken!

Thanks, Ken!

Mar 2009

Our March gallery is bookended with pics from Don’s collection at the beginning and Sondra’s collection at the end.  We start with this ’80s classic, Hot Chocolate.  Hard to believe this car is almost 30 years old…

Hot Whe-- er, Chocolate
Why did I do a zoom & sharpen on the copyright text?  I’ll explain that in a little while.
As I was looking over the car before I bought it, I thought it looked good but it seemed odd somehow.  Its proportions seemed a little off, and I spotted what I thougt was a wheelie bar at the back end.  Ken advised me that it’s a hinge, and that it’s actually a funny car, a flip-top dragster.  Well, that sealed the deal!

Cool chocolate
Turns out it’s really a great-looking little dragster.  I’m amused by Matchbox’s mid-shell support gimmick, which I guess is their answer to Hot Wheels’ front-end X-fork.

Vetty funny!  Oh, wait....
…And for those of you who are clutching your chests over me having torn open this classic, relax.  Look, the package is completely unharmed, see?

Matchbox Slingshot Dragster, again from Don’s collection.  Man, this thing is pristine.  The sticker is in great shape, and dig it: all sixteen pipes, whole and awesome.

No. 9...  No. 9...  No. 9...
Here’s why I did the copyright thing earlier: 1971, made in England.  The 1980 copyright says Vehicle marked to show country of origin.  A bit of a change in nine years, eh?

England slings like a pendulum do...
Corgi Tom & Jerry Tom’s Go-Cart, from Don again.  This is one of those rareties I never expect to see except on some other collector’s website.

In true cartoon fashion, the cart is made of “found” objects: the engine (or engine compartment) is a trash can, Tom’s headrest seems to be from an office chair, and the chassis is made from crutches.  (By the way, there’s a variation of this model: the garbage can has what looks like a machine gun attached, and the headrest is a box-like shape with a gray-painted disc attached which is supposed to be the can lid.)

Again, another classic from across the pond.  The 1940 copyright date seems odd, though…
A car-toon, get it?
Oh, it’s just the studio, keeping its fingerprints on things.
I liked Jeremy’s dip-&-dye custom so much that I threw my own and a 5-spot at him and asked, “Please make!”
Made to order!

When he brought it back, he said he left it unglued because I hadn’t said anything about custom wheels.  I think I’ll leave the originals, but for those of you who wonder what these things look like on the inside, here ya go:

Don't go to pieces!
Maisto HoopDe Coupe, from Ken.  Maisto’s original designs seem to fall into two categories: reasonably cool, and completely ridiculous.  This one is reasonably cool. Has kind of a Deora/Nightburner vibe to it.  The candy color scheme and thick spoiler make it look more like a toy car than a miniature car, but it’s still a good design (and I hadn’t seen it in the stores, so, thanks, Ken!).

Hot Wheels Treasure Hunt Drift King.  (This is the other car I bought from Ken; he thinks I only bought the Maisto.)  I ended up with an original D’King as a left-over either from a multi-pack or from a K-Day mail-in.  Not my style, not one I would’ve bought for itself; but, as it continued to hang around, I kinda grew fond of it.  I got a Mystery version and said, “Hm!  Nice companion piece!”  So, when Ken offered me this TH version for a reasonable price, I couldn’t turn it down.  (Besides, it’s an addition to my very humble TH collection.)

Get my drift?
Ah, now we get to Sondra’s collection.  These are Kidco Burnin’ Key Cars race trucks; they (originally) included a key which would launch the toy via the internal spring mechanism.  The unfortunately flattened tires negate the value for hard-core collectors, but I have only one other Kidco that I know of, and it’s not a BKC, so with these I upped my Kidco collection by a whoppin’ 200% in fell swoop.

Got me some bling!

A wheel tragedy...
Kenner Fast 111’s Range Runner, again from Sondra’s collection.  I forgot all about Fast 111’s until I joined Suncoast Diecasters.  This particular model is not only in great shape overall…

One fast friend!  (Get it?  Fast111's?)
…But it’s very rare to find one with such an exceptionally legible license plate!
don't you mean BR549?
Here we have my personal “Buy of the Month” from the March meeting: Chrysler Imperial hard-top, by Impy (again, from Sondra’s collection).  This is — as I have mentioned before — one of the best things about being a member of Suncoast Diecasters: not just having the opportunity to aquire classic Hot Wheels and Matchbox models, but to revisit older classic names such as Corgi and Tootsietoy, and to learn about names previously unknown to me, such as Yatming and Impy.

Classy chassis
These next two pictures have not been “photoshopped”; nor has the car been customized or modified.  This is the original toy, with original working features.

Boo yah!
Hey, Greenlight, ya got anything like this?  What?  No?  Yeah, I didn’t think so!
Another quality feature not seen on today’s toy cars: jewelled headlights.  These are jewel-faceted translucent inserts.  And you thought finding a modern Matchbox or Hot Wheels with painted or tampo taillights was “da bomb”.

Hey, Bright-eyes!
One more groovy detail: In case you hadn’t noticed, the front wheels are in different positions in each of the above shots.  Here’s the secret: axial steering.  The front wheels can actually be positioned back and forth.  When did you ever see that on a blister-scale car?

Axial steering!
And finally, here’s a little something for you young whipper-snappers who are accustomed only to the generic cardboard-&-blister of Matchbox and Hot Wheels, and the hermetically-sealed clamshells of Johnny Lightning and M2 Machines: Dig these photos of the classy way toy cars used to be packaged.





Tech specs!

Feb 2009

Our February gallery starts off with a shout-out to Big Tractor Mike, from whom I purchased this gorgeous 1970 Mustang Boss 429, from Matchbox’s American Muscle Car collection.  It came nicely boxed with a multi-piece styrofoam cradle, and authentical Certificate of Authenticity… but it’s so great-looking that I decided, rather than shoot it plain at the meeting, it’d be better seen in the company of other 1:43 beauties in my little “hot rod show” display.  (By the way, BTM has a few other models from this series …which means you need to get to a Suncoast Diecasters meeting!)

BTM's Boss
Here’s a second shout-out to Big Tractor Mike: Road Mates-branded Playart diecast.  Man, I remember when Sears had a Toy Department — I mean an actual department — but I do not recall seeing these.  This is Playart’s beautiful rendition of the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow.  While I couldn’t get a better macro shot of it, if you look closely at this pic, you’ll see there’s a tiny little Spirit of Ecstasy on the hood, er, bonnet.  And the fact that the model is still in its original package just makes it that much more beautiful.  See, folks, it’s just this kind of gorgeous rarity (plus that fact that BTM has a couple left) that makes it important for you to stop by a Suncoast Diecasters meeting.

Classic beauty
Matchbox has a version… Johnny Lightning has a version… So it’s no surprise (and a nice treat) that Hot Wheels would eventually offer a version of the Thing.  Of course, HW had to different, naming its version Type 181.  Oh, in case you’re wondering, yes, it’s in front of my computer.  Why?  Well, I had seen these previewed online, but I didn’t think they were out on store pegs already; so, when Rob showed up with a stack of ’em, I was so surprised at being able to get one so readily that I completely spaced on shooting ’em at the meeting.

Just my type...
Jim brought many great classics and rarities to the Feb meeting.  Example: here’s an original Greased Gremlin, in really nice condition, posed next to a stylish new Classics version (courtesy of a local Publix).

What a couple a' Greasers...
This sad little fellow turned out to be more interesting than its “missing several pieces” condition would indicate.  I originally bought this from Big Tractor Mike with the intention of maybe customizing it.  The only data on the bottom were “Made in China” and the number S8512.  I googled the number, and got tons of useless hits; re-googling with toy brought up this Breithaupts page, which says the car was made by Summer, and is a Krieger.  I couldn’t find much info online about Krieger, but I did learn that Krieger made some of the earliest electric and electric-gasoline automobiles.  That’s right, kids; Krieger made hybrids decades before the word hybrid became fashionable.  So, I’m gonna keep l’il lonesome here just as it is.

Thanks, Doug!
Tomica Packard coupe roadster, courtesy Big Tractor Mike.  I had the crazy notion of cutting out and hinging the hood, and throwing in a hot rod-style engine, with a view to making it into an ersatz Classic Cord.  However, I’ve come to realize it’s too nice to mess up.  First, it has some heft for its slim design, meaning there’s some good metal here.  It’s a nice casting; it’s in great shape, with only age-discoloration on the chassis.  The tires have a “Whizz Wheels”-style ridge.  And how’s this for quality design?: the drop-top, which on most most models simply snaps in place (and so can be easily lost), is actually soft-riveted onto a tab that extends back from the top of the window frame!

Too nice to mess up
(The working rumble seat is a nice touch, too.)
Let's get ready to rumble (seat)!
Um…  Now, Jimmy, what’s the mater with this here picture here?

Jan 2009

We enter into to 2009 with some great additions: Customs Galleries.  Here’s a sneak peek at Rob’s gallery; please be sure to check out Jeremy’s gallery as well.

Totally rad!!!
Steve L. from Pensacola stopped by again, and brought an old Matchbox collector case full of incredible treasures — classic MBs as well as models from Husky, Impy, etc.  Well, after we all stopped drooling, I made him what I hoped was a non-insulting offer for this M.G. 1100.  The car’s in beautiful condition, the paint still looks great, there’s a dog on the rear seat, and most amazing of all–

England swings like a miniature do...

–There’s an actual driver in the vehicle!  I know, I know, some of you youngsters are saying,”So?  Driver — big deal!”  I can’t explain to you how cool it is to us old-schoolers to have a model with an actual driver figure.

Wrong side of the road, pal!
Ken started the year with some nice bling when he picked up this chromed-out Husky garbage truck.
Ken then scored nicely when he doubled up on these gorgeous orange Willys coupes.
Orange these attractive?
Tom scored the “Buy of the Month” when Mike C. sold him this wonderful book, 50 Years of Stock Car Racing.  This book is fully loaded with beautiful photographs, poster images and other illustrations.  A great way to start the year, Tom; congratulations!

Race you to the last page!

One thought on “2009

  1. Pingback: End-of-Summer Bonus: Thrift Store Find | Suncoast Diecasters

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