Avila is best known as a model car customizer, creating wild, often strange 3D modifications to his vehicles. He often works under his online handle "Kool51Designs.' He was awarded the Model Car Hall of Fame Designers Award when he was inducted into our 2014 class.
As head of Electric Dreams, Scott has turned the site into one of the premier resources for slot car enthusiasts around the world, providing news, sales, and tons of detail about all sorts of vintage and modern slot cars. Scott also founded the Los Angeles Slot Car Museum, home to his vast personal collection of rare vintage slot cars and a must-visit for any fan of the hobby.
Andreas Berse has been the Chief Editor for Modellfahrzeug, the largest German language publication on model cars of all scales for the last 22 years. He also wrote model car and automotive books and is a volunteer for the Nuremberg Toy Museum.
Matt Boyd is the cofounder and editor of DieCast X Magazine, which he helped found in 2005, and where he served as its editor until 2009. In 2014, he returned to DCX as Executive Editor. Matt has written extensively on collectible scale modeling, design and industry trends, and reviewed hundreds of models for every major brand in the diecast industry. In addition, he has published a number of articles on full-scale motorsports, automotive history and a handful of other non-automotive genres.
Matthias Braun led the E-Business division at Audi and later was made responsible for operations of Audi of America by the Ingolstadt Car manufacturer. He held this position until 2008. Since then he has been the General Secretary of the AvD, the most traditional automobile club in Germany. He is also on the board of the German American Automobile Club. He has a significant model car collection and wrote a number of books on cars and model cars.
A prolific and innovative diecast customizer, Chavez is perhaps best known for the his packaging that incorporates the vehicle’s design theme into the graphics, card shape and even 3D blister form. In addition to numerous awards and honors for his work, his work has been shown at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. He was inducted into the Model Car Hall of Fame in 2009.
Fireball Tim Lawrence has had a decades long career spanning the automotive industry. Fireball started as a designer, eventually working in Hollywood to design cars for more than 400 movies. He then graduated to automotive TV show host for networks like Speed and TLC, before becoming a popular Youtuber in conjunction with his blog, Fireball Malibu Vlog. Fireball maintains a personal diecast collection, continued from when he was a child. Through all these pursuits, Fireball spreads an infectious love for all things automotive to the community.
Philippe de Lespinay has traversed the automotive world, from slot cars to race cars to diecast. Beginning as a model kit designer at Heller in France, he moved to the states and began working on slot cars in the 60's and 70's, designing for Innova and later Cox Hobbies, where his idea for traction magnets achieved mass-production. He also successfully raced slot cars for many years, winning a championship in 1972. Beyond racing and designing, he has written a book on slot cars, with another on the way. He maintains a collection of 1:1 scale cars and diecast ranging from prewar Tootsietoys to Dinky's and tinplates and plans another few books on slot cars and Tootsietoys to serve the enthusiast community.
Carson Lev is design executive who worked for Mattel for a decade, as Director of Engineering, Director of Hot Wheels Design and Director of Hot Wheels Licensing. Lev left Mattel for a pit stop at licensing giant Equity Management before starting his own licensing company, Redphin Productions, LLC. Lev frequently works closely with client and close friend Chip Foose, host of Overhaulin' on Velocity, Chris Jacobs of Overhaulin’, NBC/Universal for Fast and Furious Licensing, Mecum Auctions, West Coast Customs and consults for many OEM’s and Automotive Aftermarket Manufacturers. Lev was inducted in the Inaugural Model Car Hall of Fame Class of 2009 for his lifelong contributions to the diecast and automotive culture and was further recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
Nigel began playing with model cars at an early age and still has some of those very same matchbox and corgi cars in his collection, now 60 years later. For the past 43 years, Nigel has been living in Vancouver, BC, working as a red-seal designation licensed automotive technician and member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen, a speciality vehicle damage appraiser and underwriter, as well as most recently working as Administrator of the British Columbia provincial government collector and vintage vehicle licensing and insurance programs. Nigel is currently the Global Director of Client Services for Hagerty Insurance and the Historic Vehicle Association Manager for Canada and F.I.V.A. Scrutineer. Another of Nigel’s Major roles is in judging concourse events. He is a charter member and director of the International Chief Judge Advisory Group and has judged at Pebble Beach and most of the major concourse events throughout North America since 2005, plus assignments in Australia, Belgium, England, Germany, India and Italy. Throughout the last 14 years, he has also authored a weekly classic car column in the Canadian press and written for several international magazines.
Dean Milano is a lifelong collector, model kit enthusiast and former employe at Revell, where he built and designed model kits, wrote ad copy and researched new model designs. He opened his own toy museum, which saw 4,000 visitors over 4 years. His personal collection stands at around 2,500 models, including model car kits, diecast and many other forms of transportation.
Raffi is a lifelong designer now working with Automodello. Beginning with a childhood love of model kits, he graduated from Art Center College of Design with a degree in Transportation Design, going on to work for major automakers like Toyota and Subaru, as well as many model makers like The Franklin Mint, Revell, Testors, Matchbox, GMP, Precision Miniatures, Highway 61, Motor City Originals, Real Art Replicas, GMP,
and Models 56. Raffi not only designed models, but pioneered whole new directions for models such as ClearCast and "Barn-find" finishes. His personal 1:1 collection includes two vintage Lancias and a mid-engined sports car of his own design.
Mac Ragan designed Playing Mantis Johnny Lightning models for four years, was a brand manager at RC2 and Greenlight Toys and then moved to Round2 where he was responsible for Auto World, Johnny Lightning and Racing Champions. He is also an esteemed book author who specializes in writing 1/64 Scale focused books such as Tomart's Price Guide to Johnny Lightning Vehicles and Matchbox Cars: The First 50 Years. Ragan was inducted into the Diecast Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2010.
Karl is the US Editor for Model Auto Review, a frequent contributor on many model car forums and also a Curator and Champion on hobbyDB. Over the years, Karl has written articles on European models such as Märklin, Tekno, and Vilmer for Model Auto Review and Model Collector. He has been collecting models in 1/43 scale since he was a boy and now concentrates on Alfa Romeo models and some obsolete European brands.
Alan Smith is a prolific slot car enthusiast. Beginning racing the cars in 1960, Alan has continued his lifelong relationship with scale racing. He is now running three big enterprises for the slot car enthusiast: Scale Racing, a wholesale and retail company for 1/24 and 1/32 slot cars and accessories, 132 Slot Cars, a brick-and-mortar gathering point for slot car racers in Tacoma, Washington, plus Slot Car Illustrated, one of the biggest online forums and gathering points for slot car enthusiasts on the web.
Luis worked for Boyd Coddington Garage, Hot Wheels, Jada, Motormax and other diecast brands designing both models and packaging. At Jada he was designing a vast majorith of the Dub City models. He later created the Sledster. Luis is an inductee in the Model Car Hall of Fame. He is currently collaborating on various themes with Chris Stangler.
Ben van Roode is a lifelong model car collector and author of automotive and collectible articles and books, including time spent with Model Auto Review (MAR). In 2004, van Roode wrote a book entitled Big Boys Don't Play with Dinky Toys, a celebration of 40 years of the Netherlands Association of Model Auto Collectors, or NAMAC. Even into his seventies van Roode is still an active writer in the diecast community, writing for the online diecast blog Modelauto Krant.
Chris Walker "Night Stalker" burst onto the die-cast car scene customizing cars for competition. After winning multiple awards, he focused his attention towards high-end custom pieces for celebrities and famous designers with his work appearing in the hot Wheels exhibit in the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, CA. It was then that he got noticed by a few of the larger companies and started doing freelance work in packaging, graphics, and event cars for U.S. and Internationals conventions. He was inducted into the Model Car Hall of Fame in 2009.
Michael (or Mike) Zarnock has written a number of books on Hot Wheels. Mike has also opened his very own Hot Wheels museum that showcases his record-setting collection from 1968 to the present. Zarnock's collection has held two Guinness World Records and earned him an induction into the Model Car Hall of Fame in 2009.