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Honoring Hot Rod History: New Ed Roth Custom from Chris Walker

Customizing and the people who do it have always been a driving force in cars and diecast. The Model Car Hall of Fame has inducted dozens of great customizers since 2009, now we’re starting a new project to showcase even more of their great work. Here’s customizer and Inductee Chris Walker to talk about the first in this new line of customs! Get Yours Here.

Being part of the diecast world and the Model Car Hall of Fame get’s you involved in some really cool stuff. I was asked to do the first in a new series of cars for the Model Car Hall of Fame, the idea being a theme based on somebody inducted in the first year of the Hall.


Ed Roth Custom


Ed “Big Daddy” Roth was such a leader in the custom car world that his first bubble top design in 1961, the Beatnik Bandit, would go on to change the game and become a huge influence on anybody involved in the custom world for the next 50 years.  After Big Daddy built many wild show rod creations, model company Revell built replicas of some of them and eventually some were made into Hot Wheels.

Ed "Big Daddy" Roth and Rat Fink
Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and Rat Fink

With that in mind, inducting Big Daddy into the Hall of Fame the first year was only natural. His son Dennis “Lil Daddy” Roth was on hand to accept his induction, making the night that much more special for many of us who saw Roth as the “Mad Scientist” of the custom world.  As a Roth fan myself, who custom-built many of his creations that were never made in scale form, you just know I was more than excited to be a part of this project.


Ed Roth Custom



I started with the ever popular Dairy Delivery and painted it a white nuclear yellow. Roth style designs and details were added along with his most popular creation on the roof, the Fink himself.  Final details include his year of induction in the Hall of Fame and name on the side panel. Very fitting and adds a touch of class as the first MCHOF “By Inductees, for Inductees” piece commemorating Roth and the MCHOF.  I’m sure Ed would love it. Hopefully you guys do too!

The Rat Fink Dairy Delivery, limited to just 50 pieces, is available now in the MCHOF store for $63, commemorating the year Rat Fink first appeared -John O’Neil, Community Director

Cover Photo

Announcing A New Series of Books for 1:43 Scale Fans

Continuing our goal of providing great resources of information for enthusiasts, we’re excited to announce a collaboration with Reinhard Jarczok from Tim Verlag, author of Modelcar Yearbook series. You can now find the first two editions of Verlag’s Modelcar Yearbook for 1:43 scale cars in our marketplace, the first covering models from 2015/2016 and the second covering 2016/2017.

The 2015/2016 Guide is printed in German, showcasing more than 2400 new models from those two years in 368 pages. The 2016/2017 guide, printed in German and English, contains 312 pages and nearly 4,000 models from brands you might not be familiar with yet like IXO, Spark, NEO, Looksmart, and Chrome.

Modelcar Yearbook


Both have great pictures and essential information for the hardcore enthusiast. Head to our marketplace and grab both today!

Two Weeks Left To Nominate!

“This year I’ll proudly nominate a few important figures in the model car world that have, until now, gone unrecognized.  Throughout the history of our hobby, there were individuals behind every car or truck or model car package you held in your hand.  It’s time we get to know a few more of them.”

Mac Ragan, model car designer, Selection Committee member and author 

2017 Nominee, Greenlight Ford F-350 Ramp Truck
2017 Nominee, Greenlight Ford F-350 Ramp Truck

Your story is waiting to be told, too

Whether it’s great collectors you know on your forum, a model that you just can’t look away from, or a brand you know has cranked out a showstopper this year, I know you and your community have seen something special, too. Time is running out to honor that and show others what’s made the hobby enjoyable for you!

2017 Nominee, Auto World 2017 Mustang GT
2017 Nominee, Auto World 2017 Mustang GT

Go ahead and nominate

Simply select the categories of your nominee and the correct form will load, then enter the information and submit!

Here are the steps: 

  1. Visit the site:
  2. Click the drop-down menu under “Submit a Nomination”
  3. Choose the category you’re nominating for
  4. Fill out the information after the form loads, and submit!

If you have any trouble submitting a nomination, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email. Happy nominating!

Small Cars, Big Impact

A Guest Blog Post from Raffi Minasian, automotive / model car designer and Model Car Hall of Fame Selection Committee member



One of the first memories I have as a kid interacting with a car was seeing a big black Chrysler pulling up and parking in front of our house. It must have been a new car because the chrome was gleaming. As I approached it, I could see myself in the reflections of the fender and chrome plating. I marveled at the way the car changed my shape, as I moved up and down watching my reflection change like a fun-house mirror. I ran inside the house, grabbed a pencil and paper and feverishly attempted to draw it. I was captivated with the idea of reflections. To me cars reflected infinite possibility.


A sketch by Raffi
A sketch in Raffi’s personal portfolio, 1989


Design would ultimately become my profession but along the way, I would nurture that passion through my childhood and teens building scale model cars. I loved making model cars, assembling the shapes, using ideas for custom changes, being the master over the final design. As I got better at detail, the fascinating world of miniaturization, scaling reality, creating dioramic vignettes, all fueled my growing imagination. By the time I earned my industrial design degree from UCLA and later my transportation design degree from Art Center, I found myself working both industries, but always returning to cars.


A sketch by Raffi
Raffi’s concept sketch from 1986 showing ideas for underbody aerodynamics and heat management


To me, the key to effective miniaturization is to have empathy with the observer – the one who recalls with nostalgic joy, the “feeling” of his 67 Mustang, the power, the youth, the freedom, and the way that feeling reunites them with that past, through a 10” model on the bookshelf. Yes you can measure the wheelbase and get it perfectly right, but numbers and calculations are only one part of capturing the essence of a genuinely scaled model. It must be scaled to the heart of the observer, measured with their passion, and detailed with their expectations. No one gets nostalgic with a ruler or paint charts – if you’re model is being scrutinized at that level, you haven’t told an emotionally engaging story.


A sketch by Raffi
Raffi’s sketches from a series of investigations with Steve Moal of Moal Coach-builders for a one-off car based on a client’s request.


Though it might sound odd, I often speak about miniaturization as a form of expansion; a way for collectors to return to broad emotional moments of expectation, desire, and dreams about their future. Cars can do that for many of us who grew up with them as vehicles for our emancipation, our mechanical fascination, but also as a way to validate our misunderstood way of thinking. I was very much a 3-dimensional, visual learner. But I struggled in school with subject matter that was not visual or sculptural. Cars reassured me. In their forms I saw the potential for mastery, for a life-long partner in challenge, mechanical complexity, and relational certainty. If I took care of my car, it would always take care of me. When I first started working professionally as a pattern maker, I learned from some of the best. Many of them hardly used drawings once they had cut their side view and began chiseling the details. The car is always there, waiting for you in the block of wood. Just remove the distractions around it that have nothing to do with the story.


An unassembled model
pattern master for the 1:43 scale Automodello Cunningham Vignale


In the end, car modeling, scaled story telling, expert detailing are all linked to the same emotional string – the feeling of comfort tied up in the past. A beautifully scaled model car will not only capture an accurate representation of the times and places from a collector’s past, it will joyfully reconnect them to that moment every time they see it on their shelf.


Model Car
Prototype for the Franklin Mint 1:24 Lambandi, which Raffi designed and made by hand.


I’m honored to be a part of the Model Car Hall of Fame, furthering the traditions and innovations in model making mastery, celebrating the skills of individuals and companies who capture the greatest mechanical masterpieces of modern industry through the magic of scale modeling.

Show us why you’re passionate! Head to – John O’Neil, MCHOF Community Director

Mac Ragan in his workroom.

Why the Hall of Fame is Important for Your Collection

Mac RaganA Guest Blog Post from Mac Ragan, designer, author, collector and Model Car Hall of Fame Selection Committee member. 



As model car enthusiasts, we’re all part of a vast, informal, international collecting society. For that reason, most of you probably don’t know who I am. I’m proud to claim that I’ve been a designer and brand manager for Johnny Lightning diecast cars, the social media director for Round 2 (Johnny Lightning, Racing Champions, and Auto World), a casting designer for GreenLight Collectibles, and the author and photographer of several books about 1:64th-scale toy cars.

John O’Neil, Community Director of the Model Car Hall of Fame (MCHOF), invited me to tell you why I stay involved with the organization. I was thrilled by this invitation because the importance of such a group can’t be understated. While I was happy and honored to be selected as an inductee in 2010, I could have taken my award and never talked to this group again.

One of Mac Ragan's Display Cabinets
Mac Ragan salvaged this old trophy case to display cars with special meaning to him, including many he helped create. (Exceptions are the large toys and Sunstar Galaxie on the bottom shelf.)

But two things encourage me to embrace a more active role. First, it’s important to recognize the influential people and noteworthy model cars from our hobby. That legitimizes and rewards the major contributors. And second, it’s critical to document the importance of this worldwide fascination with the miniature automobile, something that no other group does on such a grand scale. As we reach the 100-year mark for the production of toy cars, this 20th-century phenomenon is now entrenched in our history. The MCHOF is the ideal place to chronicle and celebrate that fact.

On May 10th of this year, the New York Times reported that [real] car museums are in trouble. Some have already closed due to low attendance. “Expect to see more museums close [in 2018] and more collections head to auction,” says Kurt Ernst, editor of Hemmings Daily. What does this say about the future of TOY car museums, whose numbers are tiny to begin with?

Like many of you, I’ve spent a lifetime collecting and living the toy- and model-car life. I started with Matchbox vehicles, graduated to plastic model kits and slot cars, and ended up with a career in the industry. I’ve curated my collection (which also includes printed matter, displays, and other ephemera) for decades. And I prefer to think that my hard work will be preserved, rather than tossed in the metaphorical junkyard when I’m not around to take care of it. I imagine that many of you may also wonder what will happen to your collection after you’re gone.

Examples of Mac Ragan's work
Shown above are two examples of Mac Ragan’s work. They are: 1) a GreenLight 1965 Ford Galaxie Convertible, for which he designed the casting, and 2) a Johnny Lightning 1972 Plymouth Satellite, a model wearing a deco-scheme he created for a “Road Trip” box set.

The MCHOF offers the opportunity for our scale-vehicle passion to live on for generations. It documents the models, brands, and personalities that make the entire pastime possible. I’ve often thought that many people outside of this hobby don’t take it seriously. My guess is that a number of you have felt that too. Over time, my hope is that the Hall of Fame will change this attitude.

Whether you collect one-dollar Hot Wheels cars or thousand-dollar Automodello models, we’re all collecting miniature versions of real cars (with a bit of fantasy thrown in by the Hot Wheels team). These models are a faithful record of the automotive industry, the toy business, and popular culture trends. The MCHOF celebrates and preserves that invaluable information. Just as a price guide (book) legitimizes a toy car as a bona fide collectible and cements its place in history, so too does the Hall of Fame confer importance on the people, toys, and models we love.

Mac Ragan at his workbench.
Mac Ragan sits at his workbench, the place where he removes most of his cars from the package. He holds a Johnny Lightning “Big Bad Green” AMX, a car he helped create. In the wall-case you’ll find Johnny Lightning artwork and a double exposure photograph created in the early 1970s by his mother, the artist Betty Sapp Ragan.

This year I’ll proudly nominate a few important figures in the model car world that have, until now, gone unrecognized. Throughout the history of our hobby, there were individuals behind every car or truck or model car package you held in your hand. It’s time we get to know a few more of them.

Head to and show us who YOU want to recognize! – John O’Neil, MCHOF Community Director

The Hall Does Triple Digits

Proving again that scale cars are a uniting force, The Model Car Hall of Fame has reached another milestone: surpassing 100 Community Supporters! Based in 24 different countries, our supporters span North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia and have interests in everything from Hot Wheels to Slot Cars to Custom Diecast and Plastic Models.


Model Car Hall infographic

Now’s the time to hitch a ride! Supporters have encouraged us to add more ways to honor great models and showed us cool things we may never have known about, and that’s the point! The Hall is something we all share. By Nominating, sharing the news and celebrating inductees, you and our Supporters build this community. I encourage you to take a bigger role as a Community Supporter yourself, It’s totally free!

Here’s what supporters do:

And here’s what you get:

  • Logo and link on our site
  • Visibility from thousands of collectors opportunities
  • Guest blog and announcement opportunities

Just email me to become a Supporter today! and thanks for being part of the Hall!