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Redlines, Rare Cars and Really Cool People

We’re back from LA and the 32nd Annual Hot Wheels Collectors Convention with some new cars, new video and some great stories. This convention celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Hot Wheels and brought in some truly great and influential people from the Hot Wheels World. The convention cars also look really special in their anniversary packaging.

It wasn’t just about the cars. We heard from Hot Wheels designers and collectors like Phil Riehlman, Larry Wood, Brendon Vetuskey and many others. More than 1700 Hot Wheels fans came out to buy, sell and trade tens of thousands of cars across 6 floors of the hotel while celebrating our favorite scale cars.

To get a sense of what is was like, check out our recap video below, and subscribe to our Youtube for more!

 

 

 


0 to 50 at 1/64 Scale: A Commemorative Hot Wheels Book

Don’t want to wait? Click here to Check it out right now in our Store!

You’ve collected the cars, but do you know the whole story? Kris Palmer, Inductee Larry Wood and the team behind Hot Wheels: From 0 to 50 at 1/64 Scale are here with a new Hot Wheels book to bring you up to speed.

Hot Wheels Book

Through the book, you’ll ride along the journey from the earliest days of Mattel up to the creation of the cars on your shelf. Author Kris Palmer, a lifelong Hot Wheels Enthusiast and author of six other automotive books, has stuffed this Hot Wheels book’s 160 pages with the secrets to Hot Wheels legendary speed, rare design photos, promotional images and more. Outside, the book is housed in a specially designed carrying case, just like the ones you used to house your own Hot Wheels in.

Hot Wheels Book

Check out our video review below, and pre-order now on our marketplace!

 


Voting is open for the 2018 Model Car Hall of Fame!

 

A bunch more to see

It’s an exciting year at the Hall. With our new name, new categories and new Selection Committee members, we’ve got a bigger field of nominees than ever!

Our nominees represent every corner of the diecast, model car and automotive worlds, from famous shows to new players to awesome collectors in your community.

Here’s where you vote

Now’s the time to give your favorites a spot in the Hall. You can vote on who gets inducted right here on our voting page (to vote on each click on the link, vote and close the window which will bring you back here)  –



 

There, you’ll also find information and links to learn as much as you can about our nominees and what makes them great. Voting is open all the way until October, so tell your friends! Let’s make sure we recognize the best in the hobby. While you’re at it, become a Community Supporter and help spread the word even more!


A New Selection Committee Member and his Amazing Automotive Books

One of the best things about racing is its ability to make what otherwise appears as a collection of metal, rubber and oil into legend, and few have earned that legend as well as Lotus. It’s through the publishing company of our newest Selection Committee member, William Taylor’s Coterie Press, that some of the best of these stories get told through great automotive books.

William Taylor Automotive Books
William Taylor and a few of his books.

William started Coterie in 1996, shortly releasing its first work, “The Lotus Book“, documenting the automakers storied history with a huge array of photographs. In subsequent years, Coterie has released works covering vintage racing, famous drivers, and other storied automakers, but Lotus remains a favorite, with William owning and racing a few himself. Another of his ventures, Auto Archives, based for now primarily in his own home, seeks to document every piece of automotive literature, automotive books and other memorabilia ever (you should go and see their model racing car collection!). We’re happy to welcome such talented and passionate publisher into our ranks.

John Player Special Automotive BooksCoterie’s latest work demonstrates William’s commitment to great automotive literature and examines what’s probably the most famous Lotus-engineered racer: The John Player Specials. Solid black with delicate gold accents and understated script, the cars exuded an unmistakable sense of class. Once the national flag of the host country dropped at the start of a Grand Prix, these Lotus-engineered cars performed in historic fashion as well. 

John Player Special Automotive Books“Black & Gold: The Story of the John Player Specials,” features storytelling straight from the source: prolific automotive journalist and writer Johnny Tipler. Tipler spent time as the team’s own Press Officer in the 1970’s and has written 15 books on Lotus cars so far. New and vintage images come from Ian Catt, the team’s official photographer. 

John Player Special Automotive BooksBeyond Formula 1 fans, there’s something for everybody here. Though best known for their Formula 1 cars from 1972 to 1986, JPS also sponsored Trans Am Mustangs, Formula 3 cars, and even powerboat racing. All of these are covered. Fans of a few particular racing drivers will also find something special. 

John Player Special Automotive BooksTwo different limited, leather-bound “Special” editions of the book have been autographed by one of two racing legends. You can get one of 72 copies autographed by Emerson Fittipaldi, who won the Formula 1 title in 1972, the first year of the JPS program. (His version of the car was the Lotus 72.) Or you can order one of 79 copies signed by Mario Andretti, who won the F1 title in the Lotus 79 in 1978. The “Special” Edition comes in a clamshell case with JPS badging on the front.

John Player Special Automotive BooksIn addition to Fittipaldi and Andretti, the book features interviews from JPS drivers such as Nigel Mansell and Johnny Dumfries. Several of the original engineers and mechanics offer up their recollections, as does JPS Project Manager George Hadfield.

John Player Special Automotive BooksThe Standard edition will sell for $64.95, and the Special Editions will be $250.00. The book will be available in September, but you can preorder it at www.coteriepress.com. While you’re at it, check out the rest of Coterie’s work. If you’re a car person, there’s definitely something there for you. 


Endless Road: Building A Social Network for Automotive Art

When did you last draw a car? It may have been age 5, or, if you’re like some of our inducted designers it may have been the other day, but you’re not alone. Automobiles and art have always been intertwined. Designs for many of today’s automobiles still often start with a pen and paper. Plus, the shape and look of the best automobiles have always inspired artists to break out the easel and recreate the metal and plastic designs in paint or pencil.

Bugatti Automotive Art
Bugatti Chiron by Roman Miah

This appreciation of automotive form was the ultimate starting point for Draw to Drive, Tomislav Palatinuš’ website that aims to be a social network for automotive artists and their fans. Tomislav started sketching cars himself at the age of 14. He said he was always interested in the wider world of Automotive art, searching it out on social media. “Every once in awhile I would stumble upon someone’s Facebook profile full of car drawings, sketch, designs. Then I would stumble upon another one, and another one.”

Automotive Art Ferrari F1
Damien Charles Ferrari F1 car

So it went for awhile, but Tomislav said all the searching got in the way of actually enjoying the work artists were producing. “Then it clicked. Why would I have to search every time I want to see what artists and designers are drawing, why would they have to be searched? Lets just gather together.”

So Tomislav started Draw to Drive as it’s own Facebook page, searching for artists one by one to add to his growing group. Then came Instagram, with a much more visual focus. “That was the most important thing. ‘Full screen’ automotive art, no distractions. Each day hundreds of new followers. People were actually interested in automotive art, and those were not just the artists.” Sure enough, eventually the Draw to Drive instagram had more than 50 thousand followers submitting, sharing and liking tons of Automotive art.

Automotive Art Porsche
Manu Campa Porsche Collection

Tomislav doesn’t see Draw to Drive as just a place to look at art, or even just as a social network. It has also become a way to promote and grow talented artists. “We have one rule: Quality has to be good. A lot of young artists want to be featured right away, but we would like to teach them to work hard to get to the top. That way they learn to respect professional artists and all the hard work they put in, and also improve themselves. And lot of them succeeded. There is no better feeling for me, then to see the improvement of beginners.”

Although cars and the social media we use to appreciate them are changing fast, it’s never been easier to find a group for your favorite automotive niche. Currently on Draw to Drive, you’ll find everything from artist profiles to featured art, to the week’s top picks, and Tomislav says they’re not finished yet. “We are still developing it, but its growing each day. [There are] more than 1000 artists and more than 4000 artworks. If you search for #drawtodrive on Instagram you will find more then 43,000 car drawings. Imagine the number of hours to create 43,000 drawings. We are giving our best to improve it, to help artists to be seen, and to help enthusiasts find artists.”

Draw To Drive is one of our more than 100 great Community Supporters. You can join us, too! Contact me and become a Supporter today

Automotive Art Porsche
Adam Ambro Porsche 911

Chris Walker’s Super Size Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels are 1/64 scale, right? Well, not always. Hot Wheels have always had such iconic models that collectors have often been inspired to scale up these souped up supercars, usually with 1:1 scale re-imaginings. If you’re like me, though, you might not have the shelf-space for 1:1 versions of all your favorite Hot Wheels. What if you could just zoom-in on your favorite Hot Wheels to create a larger, but still scale car so you could appreciate all that fine detail even more clearly?

Enter Chris Walker, a well known customizer and Model Car Hall of Fame Inductee. Chris has been customizing diecast and especially Hot Wheels for a long time as Night Stalker Customs. He was inspired by the same question, eventually using his skills to answer it with some award winning customs.

Chris pointing too…is that a large scale Silhouette?

It actually started with a bit of disappointment. Chris bought a model kit hoping to style it like the Hot Wheels Heavy Chevy, but he was in for a surprise:

“I opened the box to discover the red stripes were not on the tires. I was mad. So I thought maybe I could make my own Hot Wheels Redline tire. Make it look just like the actual tire, just a bit bigger. After that I figured why not make the engine look just like the Hot Wheels version too. And as long as I was headed that direction, I made my own chassis to match.”

Large Scale Hot Wheels Heavy Chevy
The First: Large Scale Heavy Chevy

Chris got a great response to this scaled up Heavy Chevy, so he made 15 cars using a similar method. He would simplify the outside details to look more small-scale, then match paint and other styling cues to the 1/64 version. Soon, Chris’ super-size Hot Wheels were picking up awards. His Light My Firebird took 2nd place at the 2003 Cincinnati Hot Wheels Nationals.

Light My Firebird Large Scale Hot Wheels
Light My Firebird – Cincinnati Hot Wheels Nationals 2nd place Winner

At this point, Chris was inspired all over again. It made sense to use model kits for transformation of Hot Wheels based on real cars, but some of the most cherished castings have been the wild, totally custom Hot Wheels. In Chris’ case, his favorite was the Mini Truck: That wildly turquoise, graphic covered, 90’s tuner-culture inspired creation with no roof and a giant set of speakers taking up the bed. Clearly, this wasn’t something something you’d find at your local model kit dealer.

It was here Chris went his own way and decided to build the whole thing from the ground up. The only thing he kept from previous techniques was scale: he wanted to keep it around 1/25. So he used a wheel from the 1/25 kit and images of the casting, enlarged until the wheels matched. Then Chris traced, cut, sanded, and added pieces until it was just right.

“The interior and chassis was made to fit into the body in much the same detail and fit that the actual 64th scale car had,” says Chris, “It’s time consuming, but a lot of fun. You really get up close and intimate with your favorite casting.”

Do you now find yourself imagining large scale versions of your favorite casting? Chris says you’re not alone. “People just love seeing anything different in the hobby,” he says, “We all love large scale cars. But these are large scale versions in the same exact detail of their counterparts. It adds to the enjoyment of just looking at it and talking about them. They are a true conversation piece.”

Chris' Hot Wheels Silhouette at the Petersen Museum
Chris’ Silhouette at the Petersen Museum

Clearly Chris is a really talented guy! We recently asked him to make a custom honoring a past inductee. His  Ed “Big Daddy” Roth custom is now in our store. Click here and check it out!