Hot Wheels

Reflections on why I collect diecast cars.


I have never studied psychology, so I don’t know how psychologically valid my reflections are.

I came to Tbilisi (Georgia) in 2009 with just two suitcases of my worldly possessions, in which I had just five diecast cars. Before moving I had sold or given away most of my possessions (including a couple of dozen diecast vehicles). Since arriving in Tbilisi my collection has grown considerably to around 500 vehicles with 15 to 20 being added each month.

The seeds of my current collection brought over from England in 2009.

The seeds of my current collection brought over from England in 2009.

I have had small diecast cars for as long as I can remember.  On my first birthday cake was a Matchbox racing car, so I’m told. Then there was a Matchbox Pickford’s Removal Van with sweets in the back, occasionally restocked by my mother.

Express Delivery Van (Matchbox)

Express Delivery Van (Matchbox)

The Express Delivery Van, I picked up recently has an opening rear hatch (unusual for recent Matchbox models to have any opening parts), which reminds me of that Pickford Removal Van. My earliest actual memory is being on a train holding a Matchbox Racing Car Transporter, I would have been three at the time. Collecting model cars…toy cars…is fine as a child but as an adult?

I don’t have any of the models I actually played with in my childhood. But I do have some of the same models picked up more recently at Car Boot Sales and markets.

The value of my collection is not monetary, but it is emotionally valuable—I’m not looking to profit from the sale of the cars. I usually take the cars out of their blister packs, which would reduce their value if I was looking to resell, but I want to hold the car to feel it in my hand and look at it from different angles. I do look for  bargains at boot sales also at Drybridge Market, I tend to know when something is way overpriced and when it is a good deal. One of the rules for investing in antiques is to stick to what you know.


Three Corgi cars from the sixties.

Two of these Corgis were bought at Drybridge Market the Renault 16TS cost  20 lari ($11.46) and the Jaguar E Type 22 lari ($12.60). The Ghia 6.4L at the back is my most expensive model to date, it cost me £25 ($41.82) from a collectors’ shop in York. The Ghia is one of the most common Corgi models of the sixties around 1.7 million were produced, it interested me because  I like the shape also the model has many features: opening doors, boot, bonnet, tipping seats, jewelled headlights and even a dog on the parcel shelf.

Collections allow people to relive their childhood, connect themselves to a period in history or time they feel strongly about, to ease insecurity and anxiety about losing a part of themselves, and to keep the past present.

The Thrill of the Hunt

Collecting is much like a quest, a lifelong pursuit which can never be complete. Hot Wheels have cashed in on the hunting nature with special “Treasure Hunt” cars, which are supposedly harder to find than the regular Hot Wheels. I have found only one Treasure Hunt vehicle, the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, THREE TIMES!

Ferrari Scuderia Treasure Hunt

Ferrari Scuderia Treasure Hunt

Recently I’ve been looking out for Japanese models in the Hot Wheels line up like the Honda Civic EF, Toyota 2000GT and Mazda RX7. Rummaging through boxes of Matchbox and Hot Wheels in toyshops there is always a thrill, when I spot a model I’ve been looking for. I have a long wants’ list.

Collecting may provide psychological security by filling a part of the self one feels is missing or void of meaning. When one collects, one experiments with arranging, organizing, and presenting a part of the world which may serve to provide a safety zone, a place of refuge where fears are calmed and insecurity is managed. My father died in 2011, and part of my collecting might be a way of connecting to my childhood, when I still had my Dad.

Also I came to live in Tbilisi because in this city I had found a wonderful wife. Now I no longer needed to search for a soul mate, there was maybe  a void to search for something else.  My wife tolerates my collecting but has no real understanding of my interest in diecast cars, she has given me a couple as gifts in the past a 1:32 Lamborghini Gallardo and a 1:32 BMW X5 (the first was fine but the latter is a car I loathe).

The amount of cars I have amassed here is like a kind of ballast holding me here.  I’m not attached to every single model and have given a few away. I have two grand daughters, the elder of whom is five and  might occasionally race the cars across the floor, but has no real interest in toy cars.

Social Media

Also fuelling my interest are the social media. On Facebook I am in a few groups of like-minded enthusiasts, who collect diecast cars:

  1. Pinoy Hot Wheels Collectors Club (PHWCC). This is a Filipino group with over 1000 members dedicated to collecting Hot Wheels. I often post pictures of my new acquisitions, and am inspired to look for what other members post.
  2. Hot Wheels Club (Philippines). Very similar to Pinoy group.
  3. Diecast Collectors Forum. A group of hardcore diecast collectors, who delight in showing photos of exquisite models in 1:18, often by AutoArt or Kyosho, where any model found under $100 is considered a bargain, as often they spend a lot more. My presence in the group posting much smaller cheaper models seems to be tolerated….update got kicked out of the group for posting a link to my blog… :/
  4. Matchbox e Majorette. Portuguese group for Matchbox and Majorette. Two of my favourite maunfacturers of diecast cars.
  5. MCCH-The Matchbox Collectors’ Community Hall. A group for collectors of old pre-Superfast (1970) Matchbox cars.
  6. Diecast Model Cars, Dinky, Corgi, Matchbox and More. Focusing on the British manufacturers of diecast models.
  7. Diecast Autoworld
  8. Diecast Collectors
  9. Matchbox Toys
  11. vintage automobile models ( diecast, plastic, tin and more…) for models made before 1985

I also have a blog devoted to diecast collecting aside from this main blog, as I realise my enthusiasm will only be of interest to a small niche of readers.

my diecast blog

I also use Twitter, Pinterest and Google + mostly for promoting my blogs.

Diecast cars

Diecast toys are tough they are made with an alloy called Zamak or Mazak, 96% zinc and smaller amounts of aluminium, copper and magnesium. Diecast cars to me are like miniature works of art, even if they are mass produced.

If you have any comments, I would love to hear from you.

Exploring the Red Planet

Exploring the Red Planet

I don’t use photoshop, but I do have some simple edit functions on my computer, here I increased the tint to make the picture more reddish. The model is the Mars Rover Curiosity, an interesting addition to the Hot Wheels Range. The Marsscape is the debris left on our balcony by the engineers who fitted our new Karma heater.

Hot Wheels Haul

hot wheels 002

I have had small diecast cars for as long as I can remember.  On my first birthday cake was a Matchbox racing car, so I’m told. Then there was a Matchbox Pickford’s Removal Van with sweets in the back, occasionally restocked by my mother. My earliest actual memory is being on a train holding a Matchbox Racing Car Transporter, I would have been three at the time.

I don’t have any of the models I actually played with in my childhood. But I do have some of the same models picked up more recently at Car Boot Sales and markets. When I came to Tbilisi, I only had two suitcases for all my worldly possessions including half a dozen diecasts which I hadn’t sold or given away before leaving UK. Now I have around 300 mostly bought in Tbilisi in markets and toy shops, supplemented by those found on trips to England found in Boot Sales and  Shops and a few found in a Paris fleamarket and even some bought at the Airport Shop in Istanbul.

Now in the era of social media I find myself in groups of fellow collectors on Facebook…a couple of Philippines Hot wheels‘ Clubs, a couple of Matchbox Groups  ….

My preferred brand is Matchbox but Hot Wheels are more readily available here and the two rivals are both now owned by Mattel. My preferred scale is 1:64 as they are relatively cheap and easier to store and display. I don’t have any 1:18 models, they look fantastic but can cost around $200 a time….I wouldn’t spend that much on one car. My largest model is a Maisto 1:24 Chevrolet Corvette (1970).

Yesterday I was excited to find the four Hot Wheels in the photo. I love the cars of the late sixties and early seventies. This maybe because I  was a child then and these were the first cars I recognised or it maybe that these are simply the most beautiful. Three of the cars yesterday were from the sixties:…

  1. A VW Beetle in the “Herbie” livery…one of the first films I saw was “The Love Bug” (“The Italian Job” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” were also among the first films I ever saw, my parents clearly recognised my love of cars).
  2. A Toyota 2000GT, I have been looking for this ever since I knew Hot Wheels made one. In James Bond’s “You Only Live Twice” there is a 2000GT driven by James’ girlfriend Aki, in the film it was made to look like a convertible, as Sean Connery was too tall for the roadster. Toyota never made a convertible of the 2000GT.
  3. An Aston Martin DB5. This should be a Matchbox model imho. A similar Aston Martin is associated with James Bond and also in the Italian Job an Aston Martin DB4 Convertible was pushed over the side of a mountain (a cruel film for car lovers a Lamborghini Miura and a Jaguar E-Type  were also destroyed in the film).
  4. Mars Curiosity Rover. In contrast to the others this is very twenty first century. The first “car” on Mars. Whilst it doesn’t look particularly beautiful, it is a fascinating vehicle and it is extending our knowledge of our neighbouring planet.

Top of my Hot Wheels‘ wants lists now are:

  1. Honda Civic EF ✓ (found in a three pack Feb 2014)
  2. Datsun Bluebird 160
  3. USS Enterprise ✓ (found in Kusadasi, Turkey Jan 2014)
  4. BMW 2002
  5. 1969 Ford Mustang
  6. Mystery Machine (Scooby Doo) ✓ (found in Smart, Nov 2013)

I’m sure in future blogs, I shall reflect on my collecting…I am 49 years old going on 8… yesterday finding these four, I felt the same excitement I did when I was eight years old finding a model I really, really wanted.

Reflections on why I collect diecast cars

Four months on from this original post and I now have doubles of all of these except for the VW “Herbie.”

Hot Wheels Haul update

Hot Wheels Haul update