Licsensed, Hot, & Furious

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While watching YouTube videos about Hot Wheels, it prompted me to make a few speculations. I am not entirely versed in how licensing diecast cars works, but I am aware that recently Mattel has lost the Ferrari license and gained the Mercedes license. They have also indicated that they will be producing a few particular older JDM Nissan models and they also have shown a mid 90’s Mazda RX-7.

My wife and I recently watched The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift. While watching the movie I realized that it would be completely possible for Hot Wheels to release yet another batch of Fast and Furious cars. This time, they could potentially gain a license to utilize VeilSide and make the RX-7 from either Tokyo Drift, or the original The Fast and The Furious. If they produced both of them in the same set, I think that would bring even more desirability to the bunch.

While they are at it, they should revive the Nissan Silva casting they have so they can make the “Mona Lisa” of Tokyo Drift. The stunning blue and orange S15 owned by Han that Sean destroys in his first attempt at drifting. That would be a stunning car to add to the collection. They should also make the Mitsubishi Lancer that Sean drives throughout the movie as well. My opinion is that particular installment of franchise had some of the best, most non time sensitive cars of all the movies. It doesn’t matter that the movie was out of order because those cars are still drifting to this day.

I would really like to see Hot Wheels produce these cars and add to the Fast and Furious collection of Hot Wheels. I will admit, I have very few of them. They have been hard to find, they have come out in times of my life where I was not as able to search for them, and they are a little too expensive for me to try to purchase on eBay right now. Regardless of that, the fact that these dreams could become a reality, is hope enough to remain steadfast in my desire to collect as many Hot Wheels as I can.

 

Collecting Influence

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Economics teaches us about the law of supply and demand and how they affect one another. I have found that to be true in the real life collector car world and it’s influence on diecast cars. Lately, I have been following the trend of the Ferrari F40 and the McLaren F1. These two cars in real life have skyrocketed in value, and that spike in popularity and prestige has carried over into the diecast collector world. It is hard to find a good Hot Wheels Ferrari F40 or McLaren F1 for a price below $10.

A few years ago I experienced the same thing with the Hot Wheels versions of the Tesla Roadster, Lamborghini Murcielago, and the Bugatti Veyron. I ended up spending far more than I care to admit to purchase a 2009 Dream Garage series Murcielago in green on eBay. Asking prices for that car are still quite high.

That situation plagues my mind while Hot Wheel hunting in stores now days. Often times when I find something on the pegs, I will tell myself, “It is only a dollar now. If you want it later, it is going to cost you.” Sometimes I still put it back on the shelf and walk out empty handed. I am trying to be a responsible adult. I am also hoping I’ll find it again to solidify that I should in fact purchase it.

One similarity between the two collector car markets is that the real life collector car world has concourse condition. Diecast car collecting conditions are in the package or not. This topic alone could lead to so many other discussion points. In real life, actual completely “original” vehicles are becoming very rare as age and limited replacement parts slowly take away from factory original condition. I think diecast has the same type of issue going on. The “DLM” or diecast liberation movement is a sweeping craze right now. That movement simply means that the cars are being opened and removed from their packaging. That might not be a big deal for diecast cars produced from 2000 on because of such a large number produced and records of those numbers. But, for cars produced in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, that can be alarming. The amount of still packaged cars from that time is dwindling and the unknown amount of produced versions is certainly going to factor in. The more cars that get opened from that time frame, the higher the demand and higher the price for an unopened original model will be.

A second similarity is that the real life collector car world has rare limited edition models and trims. Diecast has both limited edition production numbers in some cases as well as wheel and paint variations. Diecast has an advantage in this area because not only can they produce the real life car models with special trims, they can also customize them further. This can produce even greater demand for such limited models.

All collecting for both markets boils down to what are people willing to pay for what they want. Perception is important and closely following trends in both real life car collecting and diecast collecting will certainly be beneficial. With all this in mind, know what you want, know how much you want to pay for it, and go enjoy the things you purchase.

 

Oh, what a show!

Over the weekend my wife and I went to a car show hosted by ODMA at the Founders Inn in Virginia Beach. The weather was warm and comfortable. The overcast skies provided superior conditions for photo taking. The cars ranged greatly in make, model, and year, the oldest in attendance of which we believe was a 1909 Franklin.

That was the particularly interesting part to me. It is nice attending car shows with such a variance in age of vehicles. There were many pre-war cars in attendance. They are always a pleasure to see.

Not only was the large attendance of pre-war cars interesting to me, but also the incredible kindness by the owners of the vehicles. Never have I been to a show where people have been so friendly and enthusiastic about sharing their car. My wife, beautiful as always, looked like a southern belle and was offered many times to sit in vehicles to get her picture taken. She basked in the attention and experience and I was one incredibly proud husband.

We enjoyed ourselves very much at the show. It was a unique and rare experience and I am so glad that people in the car culture world have such warm welcomes to strangers. My wife and I are looking forward to more car shows this year, and certainly for the return of this show next year!

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My wife in what we believe was the oldest car at the show, a 1909 Franklin.

 

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My wife in her favorite car at the show, a 1966 Ford Mustang convertible.

The Lamborghini Lament

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When Lamborghini first rumored they were going to be building a new SUV, I was super excited. I remembered the first one they made, the LM002, and what an outlandish, absurd, and over the top vehicle it was. It was a brutish vehicle that looked like it was in the military reserves one weekend a month, two weeks out of the year. It then would practice law by day, and shuffle the family from horse riding lessons and ballet at night. It was amazing. At least, it has become that iconic to me. I have never driven it but, I guess, I just have this perception, this expectation of what it is.

So when they released the Urus, I was a bit taken aback. That was not the SUV I was envisioning. Now, I know it has not been tested yet. I know that when they conceived this vehicle, they did not know that Ford would be rumoring the return of the Bronco, or that Jeep would be rumoring the return of the Grand Wagoneer. All the big players in the off road game, like Hummer, Land Rover, Jeep, Mercedes G Class, Lexus, and the Ford Raptor should have been worried. The more luxurious ones and soon to be ones, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Maserati should have taken note. Instead, they made something that looks like “an urban mom” would drive, as my wife described.

Harken back farther than the 80s and you’ll remember that Lamborghini made tractors before it made sports cars. Yes, that’s right tractors. In fact, they still make tractors. With all those years of agricultural earth crawling and hauling knowledge, why could they not have applied that to a new SUV? They could have made it rugged, rambunctious, and ridiculous. They have all the right ingredients to make something fast, powerful, and luxurious. It would have been beyond capable, practically at home, off road, to outperform the competition in every conceivable way.

I really wanted the Lamborghini SUV to be a gorilla in a tuxedo. A big, bulky, but surprisingly good looking sight that you can’t take your eyes off of because it is just…bewildering. Its performance would be as obnoxious as expected, but with enough charm that you can’t blame it. These are all qualities that I think are in the lineage of the company and were expressed in the LM002.

Maybe I will put a poster up on my wall like many kids did back in the day with their dream cars. This time, the poster will just be filled with words. Words about a car, because it only exists in my dreams.

Nothing gets passed

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Latelty I have read a few articles about laws to prevent left lane driving; using it only for passing. Links to some of those articles are listed below.

One of determining factors, I think, contributes to this topic is the definition of passing. I listed the link to the definition below. Then, how is that interpreted and applied to the combination of road rules.

There were a few scenarios that I thought would would be open to interpretation for a law enfotcement officer to pull over a drivwr.

1.) If a driver is angry that a person in the left lane is going slow, then the slow driver gets over, that angry driver can now execute a pass. A proper pass as defined. Let’s say they never go over the speed limit. Then, the next car to pass is beyond site from where this current pass took place. What now? The pass is complete, the angry driver should now get into the right hand lane in front of the slow driver, and carry on until the next car to pass is approached. If the angry driver does not get into the right hand lane, then technically, they are now driving in the left lane and not executing a pass.

2.) Let’s toss in a slow grade hill with trees in the median. After cresting the hill in the left lane, angry driver sees a law enforcement officer sitting in the median. They are confident that they are in the clear as they are going the speed limit. But, I really don’t think that to be the case. I think, even if they are going the speed limit, they could in theory, still be pulled over for driving in the left lane without passing.

3.) Let’s toss in more than two lanes going in one direction. A three lane road, what about driving in the middle? Is that just a constant passing lane?

That is simply based on how I read these articles and particular language of bills in states where inhibiting the flow of traffic in the left lane is illegal. All of this applies to congested roads too.

Then you could add in factors like going over the speed limit to pass, weaving in and out of traffic which would be wreckless driving, left exits, or most importantly, the flow of traffic. What exactly does a flow of traffic mean, when everyone is going 70 in a 55, should you get pulled over in any lane for not going 70?

That is the ultimate factor of ambiguous reasoning for enforcement of a law about vehicle passing.

Laws about vehicle passing seem very much open to interpretation. Without having specific reference to posted speed limits in them, or exactly how pass is defined, it makes it hard to say what and how one can get pulled over for passing, or lingerly driving in the left lane.

There is clearly more depth and detail that can be added to this blog. I could write a research paper on this topic. As time permits I might do just that. For right now, this satisfies the general ideas that I saught to share.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pass

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passing_lane

https://apwood.wordpress.com/2008/09/12/why-drive-in-the-right-pass-in-the-left-lane/

http://www.autotrader.com/car-news/virginia-is-about-to-make-it-illegal-to-hog-the-left-lane-261799

http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattle911/2014/10/10/can-i-speed-while-passing/

http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.61.425

http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title46.2/chapter8/section46.2-804/

Racing is Wonderful

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The other day I was reading an article about how dirt racing is becoming a threat to NASCAR.

Here is a link to that article. https://racingnews.co/2017/02/08/dirt-racing-threat-to-nascar/

I have gave this some thought and the following is what I concluded.

This industry, relies heavily on passion and funding. A home grown racer with a 9-5 who funds their own racing and has a few partnerships with friends businesses or family, is the passion that is so appealing. They prove that anyone can go racing if one has the passion and really tries. But just like anything else, when passion accelerates and confidence and greater funding are acquired, professionals are created. There are plenty of examples of this, and whether or not that person actually has talent, funding opens doors even if skill is not present. This shows that funding is the backbone of more structured, professional, and widely known racing.

Local racing will appeal to those looking to market to people in that target area. If a marketer is growing their business or wants a wider region to market to, they will likely increase funding and require more traveling to different localities. Those looking to market are looking for the most set of eyes, for a price worth while. Many drivers become ambassadors for the companies that fund their racing. Yet again, talent is not exactly needed to achieve this.

So, the largest funded driver, team, series, are going to be the most notable in the industry. Funds mean rules. If a small series grows in popularity, and more funds go into it, there will eventually be more rules, more dare I say, politics, that go into it. Then, all the things that are seen as frustrating and appalling about NASCAR, then grow in the series and events that were once appreciated.

Passion is still in those stages, whether it be driver, fan, engineer, crew, marketing partner, etc. What it really comes down to, is appreciation. Racing is racing. For me, I appreciate NASCAR and the professionalism, funding, passion, and structure the series has. If there is no NASCAR, what will drivers aspire to be?

At the same time, I appreciate dirt track racing, paved oval, karts, trophy trucks, rally, V8 Supercars, Monster Jam, drag, endurance racing, Indy, F1, and any other form of racing. There has to be aspirations and goals for a driver to achieve. There has to be large, traveling type series, so marketers can have the option to fund a marketing campaign. That in turn funds the drivers. These are all the things that make dreams possible. Things do change and go through highs and lows, but a little respect and appreciation will quickly help one see that racing, in any form, is wonderful.

Gift of the diecast cars

My, how time has passed since my last blog post. The most important event that has happened to me since that time is that I am now engaged. My beautiful fiance has been so loving and encouraging of my automotive passion and writing, that the positive influence has sparked me to put my thoughts back to the great world wide web.

Throughout the growing of our relationship, and even to this day, she has wonderfully purchased diecast cars for me. Particularly Hot Wheels, to which I am partial to, but also other toys such as the Fast and Furious cars. On Easter, she got me the mystery packs of Hot Wheels. I was absolutely delighted and couldn’t wait to tear into them to see which cars I got! I started opening them and one by one of the cars became known. That is when my fiance became a little bummed. You see, she had picked three of the same car and she was bummed that now I had multiple of the same car. It is always her worry that she would get me a duplicate of a car I already have.

I always want to make sure that she knows just how much her gifts mean to me. I love getting diecast cars as gifts, regardless if I do not have the car, or I have several. To me, the gift of the car is what matters. I remember the gifts given to me and the event they were given to me at. That is what I find so wonderful and I am always grateful for the cars she gives me!