Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hot Wheels Purple Passion In Silver Chrome

Hot Wheels

Purple Passion In Silver Chrome

Hot Wheels ‘Purple Passion’ resembles one of the great American cars of the 1950s; the 1951 Mercury. 'Purple Passion’ was designed by Larry Wood in 1990 based on the concept of the 1951 Mercury and was the first design that was not bound by Mattel's restrictions such as; it must perform well on the track and all wheels must be fully visible. It is said to be the first model that was aimed at the adult collector. It is true to say that Purple Passion resembles very much that of the 1951 Mercury, the only difference being the absence of the B- Pillar while the back portion of the car roof tapers at a steeper angle to the tail lights for the Purple Passion. The first Purple Passion released by Hot Wheels in 1990 is a mainline car #087 and is indeed purple in colour.

Over the years, many series of Purple Passion were released and purple color remains the most number of cars released. A quick check at revealed the number of cars released for different colors, in descending order as follows :-

Purple (16), Black (11), Red (11), White (8), Blue (7), Green (6), Yellow (5), Orange (5), Pink (5), Silver Chrome(5), Gold Chrome (4), Aqua (2), Grey (2), Silver (1), Plum (1)

A piece of Purple Passion in my collection in plain silver chrome has no tampos and a quick check with to identify it’s casting yielded no results. It is indeed a unique piece of Purple Passion with absolutely no tampos on the car surface and it remains a mystery to me which casting it belongs to.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels

’55 Chevy Panel

’55 Chevy Panel made its debut in the mainline series as First Editions (Old Card) and New Models (New Card) coming in at car #37 of 38 in 2006, in Metal flake Dark Blue color. It remains one of the heaviest cars ever produced by Hot Wheels and also remains one of the most sought after car that has prevented many collectors from completing their 2006 First Editions collection. This car is a must for completist collectors and it shall remain as one of the most sought after cars in years to come.

'55 Chevy Panel was subsequently released under different series such as :-

Hot Wheels (Error Cars)

Hot Wheels

Error Cars

There are a few hundreds of different cars produced by Mattel yearly, ranging from Red Lines, First Editions, Segment Series, T-Hunts, Mystery Cars, Mainline Special Series, Adult Collectibles, Other Special Series, Collectibles, Promos, Exclusives, Conventions etc.

At some point of time collectors will come across ‘error cars’ either by chance, unknowingly or set out on purpose to locate these rare pieces. Some are worth a few dollars extra while extremely rare ones can fetch as high as $1,000.00. Yes, $1,000.00 extra for a 1:64 scale car measuring no more than 8cm in length. Again it depends on how badly you wanted to own the car or how much the seller is willing to part with the piece.

There are 5-groups of errors, namely :-

1. Missing Parts (Engine, windshield, interior and wheels)
2. Wheel Error (Different rims & wheels of different sizes)
3. Tampo Error (Missing part or all of the tampo printed on the car)
4. Assembly Error (Rivets not installed & chassis/overturned and riveted)
5. Packaging Error (Vehicle upside down, car inside package different from the name of the car stated on the card, front of car facing left direction as opposed to the right as front of Hot Wheels cars are placed facing the right)

It is very difficult to put a price to a piece of error car, it varies from one collector to another and it depends on how badly a collector wants to possess the piece or at what price the collector in possession of such piece would like to let go. However, some errors are definitely rarer than others and thus fetch a much better price.

Most error cars are not “one of a kind” but it is true to say that there is a small quantity of it distributed all over the place. Even though there are several hundreds or thousands of error cars out there but it is still rare when we consider there are a few million pieces of the same car without error, produced and distributed worldwide. There are indeed very few pieces of “one of a kind” error cars out there and it is extremely difficult to locate and identify and some may have been lost forever when children unknowingly picked up these pieces, removed it from the blister pack, plays with it and eventually ends up as thrash.

In the course of collecting diecast toy cars, I’ve come to know of a few collectors who collects nothing else except error cars and they go hunting not for the T-Hunts but error cars and it takes hell lot of an effort to locate and identify it. Their collection is by no means big in quantity but each piece certainly does worth a lot.
It was never my intention to seek out these “error cars,’ however, by chance I’ve found one piece in the #133/166 (7/10 Faster Than Ever – ’66 Batmobile) where I picked up from a local departmental store and it was the last piece available and I was never given the chance to choose another piece as there was none left. I did not notice the front wheel error of white wall instead of gold rim after a few weeks when I wanted to store it away in a box. God knows how many of these are around and it will be interesting to find out how much it’s worth.

The car in my collection that I can recall having "Packaging Error" is the 2003 Treasure Hunt 12/12 - Plymouth Barracuda which was wrongly labeled as 1971 Plymouth GTX on the card. I then clarified with the seller whom I got the car from whether is it a Barracuda or a GTX and I was given a good volley ........ " don't you know what car you are buying? It's a 1971 Plymouth GTX'. Till this day, I believe the seller may not have noticed that he has sold me an "Error Car"? Well, worth all the walloping when you get a rare piece. This piece does not fetch a very high price as it is a printing error on all the cards, but it still remain as a rare piece as I haven't found another piece of T-Hunt with an error card hitherto.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Many Disguises Of "Letter Getter"


'Letter Getter" is a Hot Wheels diecast car with many disguises of different names over the years but it's the same car. It made its debut in 1977 (Card #9643) (Series Name : 1977 Hot Wheels) under the name "Letter Getter" by Hot Wheels, designed by Larry Wood and subsequently took on many other names, but yet it's a similar car. Last check with reliable sources suggests that if you still hold the same piece in LOOSE, yes loose, it would most probably fetch something between USD 400 to USD 600, depends on the condition of the car. 'Letter Getter' appeared another 4-more times over the years, also in 1977 (Series Name : Flying Colors #20), 1979 (Series Name : The Heavies), 1979 (Series Name : Hot Wheels) and 1982 (Series Name : Hot Wheels). Since then, we have not seen another piece of 'Letter Getter'. One just can't tell the difference between the 5-different castings as they look alike. However, the 1977 and 1979 models are Hong Kong castings while the 1982 model is of Malaysia casting. Below is a loose piece of "Letter Getter" - 1982 Malaysia casting :-

The same car also took on other names such as; Incredible Hulk, S.W.A.T. Van, Racing Team, Delivery Van, Combat Medic, Delivery Truck, Simpson's Nuclear Waste Van, Delivery Truck, Pit Crew Truck and Combat Ambulance. The picture below shows the same car with a different body tampoo; eg. 2006 Hot Wheels - Combat Ambulance (#079- Spyforce Series).

The "Grumman Long Life Vehicle" or LLV is a light transport truck designed for and used by the United States Postal Service. It entered service in 1987 and the last of it in 1994. Notable points of the vehicle were: serviceability, handling in confined areas, and overall economical operation. The LLV is capable of 20 years of operation where the original design lifespan of the LLV specified by the US Postal Service was 24 years, but was extended to 30 years in 2009. The body and final assembly is by Grumman, and the chassis is made by General Motors.

It has been something a long while since the last we saw 'Letter Getter' in Hot Wheels and we most probably may or may not see another similar piece again as the latest US Postal vans promotes the use of hybrid electric power to reduce fuel consumption and is poised to usher in a new era of US postal delivery. The US Postal Service has some 30,000 strong fleet of delivery van undergoing conversion to electric powered vehicles. Below is a typical "US Postal Service Electric Powered Chrysler Minivan".

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Fifteen Millionth Ford

The Fifteen Millionth Ford

A fellow collector of diecast cars was gracious enough to hand me a piece of the 1925-Model-T-Tourer-Convertible (1983 Lledo - Models of Days Gone). What caught my attention was the phrase imprinted on the side of the car which said "The Fifteen Millionth Ford". So I ask, what is so special about this car? This is the very car that was driven by Edsel Ford, son of one of the great guru of modern car producer - Henry Ford. What I know of this great man is little, but what I do know of him is that had it not because of him we would not be driving the car or cars hitherto.

Henry Ford was borned in 1863 and had said in 1909; "when I'm through with the design of the car, everybody will be able to afford one, and about everybody will have one, which effectively means a continuous reduction in price by improving the assembly line so that the Model T (colloquially known as the Tin Lizzie and Flivver) could be produced inexpensively. The car was sold to the first customer on October 1, 1908 and he transformed the automobile itself from a luxury to a necessity. In 1914, the Model T dominated the world's leading market and on May 26, 1927, Henry Ford watched the fifteen millionth Model T Ford roll off the assembly line at his factory in Highland Park, Michigan. The Model A which is sporty, attractive, well-built, and smooth-running replaced the Model T in 1928.

Henry Ford died on April 7, 1947, at the age of eighty-three, 20 years after the first Model T rolled out of the production plant.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Le Mans - Ford GT 40

Le Mans - Ford GT 40

Mere mention of Ferrari would automatically evoke a feeling of class and elegance and we are talking about one of the many top of the range sports cars ever built in this century. Ferrari won the Le mans 24 hours endurance race a total of nine times from 1923 to 2009, those victories came in 1949, 1954, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1965. Ferrari appeared to be invisible from 1960 to 1965 until Ford GT 40 came along to break the stranglehold and won its first Le Mans endurance race in 1966 and continued through to 1969.

The car was named the GT (for Grand Tourisme) with the 40 representing its overall height of 40 inches (1.02 m, measured at the windshield) as required by the rules.

The Ford GT 40s that won the Le Mans from 1966 to 1969 were :-

1966 - Ford GT 40 MK II

1967 - Ford GT 40 MK IV

1968 - Ford GT 40

1969 - Ford GT 40

The 1968 and 1969 Le Mans Series were won by the same car Ford GT 40.

The first Ford GT 40 diecast car that I've ever held in my palm is the black 1966 Ford GT 40; produced by Hot Wheels under the "Hall Of Fame" Milestone Moment series. It is truly one of the most beautiful diecast car that I've ever seen.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Le Mans 24 Hours

Le Mans 24 Hours

1. Introduction

For many car owners, it has always been a case of "speed" against "endurance". There is no clear indication as to which is the preferred option among car owners. However, "endurance" has always been my choice as many would agree that you would rather own a car that you can rely on to take you far away and back to exactly where you started from, without the car breaking down, instead of a car that is able to travel at breakneck speed but that you would eventually require to tow the car back to the starting point.


The 24 Hours of Le Mans (24 Heures du Mans) is the world's oldest sports car race in endurance racing, held annually since 1923 near the town of Le Mans, Sarthe, France. Commonly known as the Grand Prix of Endurance, it is organised by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) and runs on a circuit containing closed public roads that are meant not only to test a car and driver's ability to be quick, but also to last over a 24 hour period.

Instead of focusing on the ability of a car company to build the fastest machines of the time, the 24 Hours of Le Mans would instead concentrate on the ability of manufacturers to build sporty yet reliable cars and yet fuel-efficient vehicles, since the nature of endurance racing requires as little time to be spent in the pits as possible. The "Le Mans start" takes its name from the way racers lined up across the street from their cars and ran across the street and jumped into their cars to begin.

2. Le Mans Circuit (Circuit de la Sarthe)

Total length per lap is 13.629 km. There are two separate racing tracks at Le Mans, though they share certain portions. The smaller is the Bugatti Circuit (named after Ettore Bugatti, founder of the car company bearing his name), a relatively short permanent circuit which is used for racing throughout the year. The longer and more famous “Circuit de la Sarthe” is composed partly of public roads, which are closed to the public when the track is in use for racing.

FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) decreed that it would no longer sanction any circuit which had a straight longer than 2 km which led to the addition of two “chicanes” (A “chicane” is an artificial feature creating extra turns in a roadway, used in motor racing and on city streets after long straightaways, to slow cars, making them a prime location for overtaking) in 1990 along Mulsanne Straight (5km). The roads are closed only within a few hours of the practice sessions and the race, before being opened again almost as soon as the race is finished. Workers have to assemble and dismantle safety barriers every year for the public sections.

3. Notable Features of Le Mans

The circuit on which the 24 Hours of Le Mans is run is named the Circuit de la Sarthe (Circuit of the Sarthe), after the Sarthe department that Le Mans is within. The first race was held on 26 and 27 May 1923 and has since been run annually in June and usually 50 cars at the start of different “classes” of cars. No less than 2 seats and 2 doors are allowed for open top cars, doors are exempted. An overall winner is awarded at the end of the event, while class prizes are given as well. Minimum 3-drivers are required and no one single driver can drive more than 4-consecutive hours and a total of 14-hours for safety reasons. Competing cars are required to run at least for one hour before refilling of fluid such as cooling and lubricant is allowed except fuel. Cars which could not last the first hours without having to replace lost fluids are disqualified, a real test of a car’s reliability. Cars to be shut off while being refueled in the pits for safety reasons and also a test on the ability and reliability of the cars to restart many times under race condition. While car being re-fueled, mechanics are not allowed to work on the car and the tyres. Winner of the race is based on the number of laps covered within a period of 24 hours. To be classified in the race results, a car is required to cross the finishing line after 24 hours covering 70% of the distance covered by the winner. A car failing to complete this number of laps, even if it finished the race, was not deemed worthy of classification due to poor reliability or speed. Rolling start, sometimes known as an “Indianapolis start” was introduced, which has been used ever since. Race cars of the time were still mostly based on production road cars, but by the end of the 1960s, the Ford Motor Company would enter the picture with their GT40s, taking four straight wins before the era of production-based wins would come to a close.

4. Classes of Cars

Classes of Cars (4 types), divided by speed, weight and power output, namely :-


- Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1)
- Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP 2)


- Grand Tourer 1 (GT1)
- Grand Tourer 2 (GT2)

5. Past Winners

2009 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP (382 laps)(5,206.82 km)
2008 Audi R10 TDI (381 laps) (5,192.65 km)
2007 Audi R10 TDI (369 laps) (5,036.85 km)
2006 Audi R10 TDI (380 laps)(5,187.00 km)
2005 Audi R8 (370 laps) (5,050.50 km)
2004 Audi R8 (379 laps) (5,169.90 km)
2003 Bentley Speed 8 (377 laps) (5,146.05 km)
2002 Audi R8 (375 laps) (5,118.75 km)
2001 Audi R8 (321 laps) (4,381.65 km)
2000 Audi R8 (368 laps) (5,007.99 km)
1999 BMW V12LMR (365 laps) (4,968.00 km)
1998 Porsche 911 GT1 (351 laps) (4,773.18 km)
1997 TWR Porsche WSC-95 (361 laps) (4,909.60 km)
1996 TWR Porsche WSC-95 (354 laps) (4,814.40 km)
1995 McLaren F1 GTR (298 laps) (4.055.80 km)
1994 Dauer 962 Le Mans (344 laps) (4,678.40 km)
1993 Peugeot 905 Evo 1B (375 laps) (5,100.00 km)
1992 Peugeot 905 Evo 1B (352 laps) (4,787.20 km)
1991 Mazda 787B (362 laps) (4,922.81 km)
1990 Jaguar XJR-12 (359 laps) (4,882.40 km)
1989 Sauber C9-Mercedes-Benz (389 laps) (5,265.12 km)
1988 Jaguar XJR-9LM (394 laps) (5,332.97 km)
1987 Porsche 962C (354 laps) (4,791.90 km)
1986 Porsche 962C (367 laps) (4,792.73 km)
1985 Porsche 956 (373 laps) (5,088.51 km)
1984 Porsche 956 (359 laps) (4,900.28 km)
1983 Porsche 956 (370 laps) (5,047.93 km)
1982 Porsche 956 (359 laps) (4,899.09 km)
1981 Porsche 936 (354 laps) (4,825.35 km)
1980 Rondeau M379B (338 laps) (4,608.02 km)
1979 Porsche 935 K3 (307 laps) (4,173.93 km)
1978 Renault Alpine A442B (369 laps) (5,044.53 km)
1977 Porsche 936 (342 laps) (4,671.83 km)
1976 Porsche 936 (349 laps) (4,769.92 km)
1975 Mirage GR8-Ford Cosworth (336 laps) (4,594.58 km)
1974 Matra Simca MS670C (337 laps) (4,606.57 km)
1973 Matra Simca MS670B (355 laps) (4,853.95 km)
1972 Matra Simca MS670 (344 laps) (4,691.34 km)
1971 Porsche 917K (397 laps) (5,335.31 km)
1970 Porsche 917K (343 laps) (4,607.81 km)
1969 Ford GT40 Mk. I (372 laps) (4,997.88 km)
1968 Ford GT40 Mk. I (331 laps) (4,452.88 km)
1967 Ford GT40 Mk. IV (388 laps) (5,232.90 km)
1966 Ford GT40 Mk. II (360 laps) (4,843.09 km)
1965 Ferrari 250LM (348 laps) (4,677.11 km)
1964 Ferrari 275P (349 laps) (4,695.31 km)
1963 Ferrari 250P (339 laps) (4.561.71 km)
1962 Ferrari 330 TRI/LM Spyder (331 laps) (4,451.26 km)
1961 Ferrari 250 TRI/61 (333 laps) (4,476.58 km)
1960 Ferrari 250 TR59/60 (314 laps) (4,217.53 km)
1959 Aston Martin DBR1 (323 laps) (4,347.90 km)
1958 Ferrari 250 TR58 (305 laps) (4,101.93 km)
1957 Jaguar D-Type (327 laps) (4,397.11 km)
1956 Jaguar D-Type (300 laps) (4,034.94 km)
1955 Jaguar D-Type (307 laps) (4,135.38 km)
1954 Ferrari 375 Plus (302 laps) (4,061.15 km)
1953 Jaguar C-Type (304 laps) (4,088.06 km)
1952 Mercedes-Benz 300SL (277 laps) (3,733.84 km)
1951 Jaguar XK-120C (267 laps) (3,611.19 km)
1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport (256 laps) (3,465.12 km)
1949 Ferrari 166MM (235 laps) (3,178.30 km)
1948 to 1940 - Races cancelled for World War II and
French reconstruction.
1939 Bugatti Type 57S Tank (248 laps) (3,354.76 km)
1938 Delahaye 135CS (235 laps) (3,180.94 km)
1937 Bugatti Type 57G Tank (243 laps) (3,287.94 km)
1936 Race cancelled due to workers strike
1935 Lagonda M45R Rapide (222 laps) (3,006.80 km)
1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 (213 laps ( 2,886.94 km)
1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 (233 laps) (3,144.04 km)
1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 (218 laps) (2,954.04 km)
1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 (184 laps) (3,017.65 km)
1930 Bentley Speed Six (179 laps) (2,930.66 km)
1929 Bentley Speed Six (174 laps) (2,843.83 km)
1928 Bentley 4½ Litre (154 laps) (2,669.27 km)
1927 Bentley 3 Litre Super Sport (137 laps) (2,369.81 km)
1926 Lorraine-Dietrich B3-6 (147 laps) (2,552.51 km)
1925 Lorraine-Dietrich B3-6 (129 laps) (2,233.98 km)
1924 Bentley 3 Litre Sport (120 laps) (2,077.34 km)
1923 Chenard et Walcker Sport (128 laps) (2,209.54 km)


Rank Constructor Wins :-

1 Porsche (16)
2 Ferrari (9)
3 Audi (8)
4 Jaguar (7)
5 Bentley (6)
6 Alfa Romeo (4)
Ford (4)
8 Matra-Simca (3)
Peugeot (3)
Lorraine Dietrich (3)
11 Bugatti (2)
Mercedes Benz (2)
13 Aston Martin (1)
BMW (1)
Chenard & Walcker (1)
Delahaye (1)
Lagonda (1)
Mazda (1)
McLaren (1)
Mirage (1)
Renault-Alpine (1)
Rondeau (1)
Talbot Lago (1)


1927-30 Bentley domination

1951-53 Jaguar C-Type domination

1955-57 Jaguar D-Type domination

1960-65 Ferrari domination for 5-years

1966-69 Ford GT40

2000-05 Audi domination for 5-years

8. Le Mans 2009 Race Results – After 24 Hours
1. Peugeot Hdi-FAP (Class LMP1) (382 laps) (Av. 216.664 km/hr) (0-track gap)
2. Peugeot Hdi-FAP (Class LMP1) (381 laps) (Av. 216.095 km/hr) (1-track gap)
3. Audi R15 TDI (Class LMP1) (376 laps) (Av. 212.734 km/hr) (6-tracks gap)
4. Lola Aston Martin (Class LMP1) (373 laps) (Av. 211.435 km/hr) (9-tracks gap)
5. Oreca AIM (Class LMP1) (370 laps) (Av. 209.800 km/hr) (12-tracks gap)
6. Peugeot Hdi-FAP (Class LMP1) (369 laps) (Av. 209.286 km/hr) (13-tracks gap)
7. Audi R10TDI (Class LMP1) (369 laps) (Av. 209.125 km/hr) (1:06)
8. Pescarolo Judd (Class LMP1) (368 laps) (Av. 208.595 km/hr) (14-tracks gap)
9. Audi R10 TDI (Class LMP1) (360 laps) (Av. 204.024 km/hr) (22-tracks gap)
10. Oreca Judd (Class LMP1) (344 laps) (Av. 194.929 km/hr) (38-tracks gap)
11. Lola Aston Martin (Class LMP1) (342 laps) (Av. 193.860 km/hr) (40-tracks gap)
12. Lola Aston Martin (Class LMP1) (342 laps) Av. 193.794 km/hr) (0:29)
13. Audi R15 TDI (Class LMP1) (333 laps) (Av. 188.405 km/hr) (49-tracks gap)
14. Gynetta Zytek (Class LMP1) (325 laps) (Av. 183.873 km/hr) (57-tracks gap)
15. Creation Judd (Class LMP1) (319 km/hr) (Av. 180.806 km/hr) (319-tracks gap)