The Model Car Hall of Fame held its 2017 induction ceremonies in Las Vegas, Thursday, November 2. The awards honor not only the best model vehicles of the past year, but the people who made them as well as those who are inspirational to car culture and collecting in general. 70 awards were given to nominees and new inductees.
Here are the 2017 Model Car Hall of Fame Inductees:
Automotive Legend – Tim Allen
Best known for his starring role in “Home Improvement” and as Buzz Lightyear in the “Toy Story” movies, Tim has built an extensive collection of American classic cars. Inspired by the toys he played with as a child, his collection includes a mix of Detroit iron, European Sports cars, and classic customs.
Diecast Customizer – Joe Alvarado
Joe “LoRide57 began dabbling in custom models about 10 years ago and is willing to experiment with anything that inspires him. “Never stop learning and try anything,” he said. About 90 percent of his work is Hot Wheels. He has also been working with old Matchbox and new Jada models. “I’ve made the leap into 1/24 and 1/18 in the last few years. But my passion if the 1/64 Hot Wheels.”
Diecast Designer – Tony Karamitsos
Tony is known for his attention to detail having designed thousands of highly detailed die-cast replicas for numerous scales for Johnny Lightning, Auto World, Racing Champions, American Muscle, Legends of the Quarter Mile, Silver Screen Machines. He currently serves as Brand Manager and senior designer for Round2 as head of all of the die-cast and slot car brands.
Diecast Entrepreneur – Paul Lang
Paul is the founder of Minichamps, which was originally founded as Paul’s Model Art GmbH in 1990 in Aachen, Germany. With of their incredible attention to detail, Minichamps has produced official promotional replicas for the likes of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche.
Diecast Historian – Robert Fellows
Bob has pioneered the use of employing various social media platforms to research and share diecast history. He specializes in Auto Word and Johnny Lightning, creating widely followed Facebook pages for both brands. He is currently working with Playing Mantis era designers to document Johnny Lightning pre-production ad prototypes online at JLProto.com
Collector of the Year – Woody Itson
Itson has more than 30 years experience when it comes to collecting original Redline Hot Wheels. His Facebook page the Redline Trading Company is a go-to place for collectors to research, learn, share, and just chat about early Hot Wheels as well as Johnny Lightning models. He also has an extensive history as a BMX rider.
As a first, the Model Car Hall of Fame now also honors the best new models in the most popular scales. They can range from cars that only cost a few dollars at the toy store to limited editions that run hundreds of times those prices. Here are the 2017 winners.
Diecast Model of the Year, 1/64 Scale – Hot Wheels Fiat 500 Modificado
Diecast Model of the Year, 1/43 Scale – Schuco VW Beetle “Lil Bugger” Camper Van
Diecast Model of the Year, 1/24 Scale – Bburago 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia
Diecast Model of the Year, 1/18 and Larger Scales – AUTOart Mercedes-AMG GTS
New Model Maker of the Year – AutoCult
The Model Car Hall of Fame also recognizes companies and brands that serve and inspire the model vehicle community.
Automotive Brand of the Year – BMW
Supplier Brand of the Year – Falken Tires
Diecast Dealer of the Year – Diecast Models Wholesale
On a sad note, we recently said goodbye to one of our dear friends, Tiny Wonzniak (below), who died just as we were finalizing our nominations for the year. Wozniak was a Hot Wheels collector (he really loved the Heavyweights!) and enjoyed sharing his knowledge with other collectors. You can read a full tribute to him here.
Finally, the Model Car Hall of Fame would like to thank our sponsors and supporters for a great event. And congratulations to the inductees and winners! Watch for announcements regarding nominations and event details coming next year!