Motor Trend and Hot Wheels

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Recently, Hot Wheels and Motor Trend teamed up and created an exclusive pair of diecast cars if you signed up for a new account of Motor Trend On Demand. New account users would receive the Datsun 240Z made famous by the show Road Kill. On the show, the hosts modified the car with a massive turbo charger and exhaust pipe and named it “The Rotsun.” Hot Wheels made that car so subscribers could have both the before and after version of the car. The photo above is the after version. I am still hunting down the before version.

With Hot wheels and Motor Trend collaborating on projects now, and Hot Wheels now experimenting with cars coming already crushed, could we see more cars from Roadkill and other Motor Trend shows? I’m sure all of us what like to see Blasphemi as an official Hot Wheel. But there are so many more that could be done. The Draguar, the Mazdarati, Stubby Bob, General Mayhem and General Maintenance, and those are just from Roadkill. Dirt Every Day has fantastic examples of vehicles as well. Tube Sock and the Alabama Army Truck come to mind.

I’m curious to see how this partnership continues into the future though. Because, the problem with the above mentioned promotion was that the account MUST be a new account. Current subscribers would have had to create an entirely new account in order to take advantage of getting the cars. That to me seemed like a terrible idea. Hot Wheels already has the Red Line Club where members pay a yearly membership fee to have access to cars only available to the RLC. They come at a cost, normally around $30 a car. I don’t know why Motor Trend doesn’t do the same thing? I am a faithful subscriber to Motor Trend On Demand, and WOULD HAVE BOUHGHT the set of cars from Motor Trend if given the option. Merchandise is supposedly a profitable source of income from what I know about business. Hopefully Motor Trend and Hot Wheels have learned from this situation. Hopefully there are more car choices soon and available to all subscribers. And if they could still keep them somewhat exclusive and limited, that actually might be cool too.

Hunting on the Range

Electric vehicles have created a new problem for commuting. That issue is called range anxiety. Essentially, it is the worry that the cars battery will die before a charging station is able to be found. While Tesla is the most well known electric vehicle, this blog is about is the Porsche Taycan.

A video on YouTube by Shmee150 shows his journey of taking his Taycan from London to Birmingham, which is roughly a 250 mile round trip. In the video, he says that the charging is not always the most quick thing to do. Not only did he wait over an hour, but he said it is a very social event. Part of that hour wait was waiting for the charger to become available. So, that is something to consider if you are going to drive an electric vehicle. The other part of the hour was trying to get the charger to work. Once it was working, it was not able to fast charge, so he spent over a half an hour to gain only 15 miles of range. In my eyes, that sounds like a waste of time. In regard to the social event, he said while charging his car other EV owners or just people in general come up to talk about their vehicles or experiences, or want to ask him about the Porsche. This does not sound like a car for people in a hurry or those who are introverts.

The other big story about the Taycan was published in Road & Track magazine. There, they took a cross country trip of the US from New York to California, and stopped 19 times to accomplish the trip. What most surprised me is that the chargers they preferred to use and the ones most accessible, were located at Walmart. While they were struggling to kill time at all the Walmarts they stopped at, because face it, we are not used to the idea yet that road tripping involves stopping for 30 minutes or far more at a time and gas station atmosphere is far more convenient in terms of travel foods, beverages, and accessories. The Road & Track drivers made it sound like the Walmarts became monotonous and boring after the first few.

This comes to my main point. As a Hot Wheel hunter, it sounds like a Taycan in the US would be the ultimate Hot Wheel hunting vehicle. You have more than one reason to stop at every Walmart now! Not only do you get to look for Hot Wheels, but you can charge your car as well! That is a win win situation! Although, paying the base model price of $103,800 for a Taycan can buy a lot of Hot Wheels and the waiting time to charge is still too much when on the hunt for the little cars. I like to get in and get out as fast as possible. As cool as the Taycan and the social event of charging sounds (I’m an extrovert), I think I’ll stick to Hot Wheel hunting in my Buick Rendezvous.

Can it be done better?

The newest Hot Wheels Legends tour winner was announced on Monday November 17th 2020. It has been met with very distinctly opposite reactions. There is not much of a middle ground.

What I would most like to express is difference between what is an amazing build in person and what is an amazing build that is a 1/64 scale model. Sometimes, things do not translate very well to being a small scale toy. The most frustrating part is that it does not really matter what engine is in the real life car, or how much horsepower it has, or any other mechanical statistic. When becoming a toy, it looses every single statistical aspect in that regard, and thus, that detracts from the ability to make a cool toy car. A few designers were on the panel to judge for the car to be a model and they say it can be done. But I do somewhat question that. Hot Wheels has been making stunning models as of late.

Even so, I still think there are some limitations. If you look at Hot Wheels designer Brendon Vetuskeys personal Firebird that was made into a Hot Wheel. It has some aspects that are perplexing when translated into a toy. The model in the mainline does not have a hood, which I believe is because when they started the process of making the car into a model, it did not have one. The car in real life now has a hood. So, there is an exposed engine bay on the model. That is both good and bad. The engine bay is a highly detailed area, so capturing it in scale is tough, but I do think they did a good job. Still, it is pretty simple car overall, and the paint job is very basic. I am not even sure if the original mainline model actually had paint. I think it was clear coated ZAMAC, which is the raw metal used to create the little cars.


So, for the 2020 Hot Wheels Legends Tour winner to be a white, 1970 Pontiac Trans Am is…incredibly disappointing. You can watch the whole judging process here. The build in real life is amazing don’t get me wrong, but as adults, we get caught up in the fact that the car is a stunning machine in real life. Yet, this is supposed to be a toy. While as a kid, I did like real life, licensed models, this is actually a chance to take a somewhat unrealistic car in real life, and make it a realistic toy. I know that sounds ironic, but it is true. Having some more outside of the box design and creation and wild colors would be a much more fun car to find on the pegs. Overall, I think that there could have been a better winner.

Yet, I wonder if this is more of a financial move. More can be done with a firebird in terms of recolors in the future. It is also more desirable among adult collectors and so it could eventually become a premium model, especially if they try to get very detailed with it. We will have to wait until December 2021 to see this car in the package on the pegs. Hopefully it will warm up to me more as time passes and hopefully 2021 will bring even more amazing cars to the Legends Tour to potentially become a Hot Wheels car.

What is up with the RLC?

RLC stands for Red Line Club, which is the Hot Wheels Collectors exclusive group that has limited members where one can attempt to join once a year. Many members are able to renew each year, while on occasion some cannot, or some do not, and the club grows by small amounts each year to facilitate new members.

One of the perks to being a member is the ability to purchase Hot Wheels cars made exclusively for the club. In the past, those cars were only able to be purchased through the RLC. Once the sale of the car happened, only then were cars able to be purchased or won on the secondary market, like eBay, company promotions, etc.

The RLC has always had problems with their website crashing on car sales days. Sales get postponed or delayed often. When this happened for the sale of the 1969 Dodge Charger R/T, no one was really that surprised. Mattel said they were going to postpone the sale another week and I just accepted that.

What I didn’t expect, was that Hagerty would be promoting a give away of 25 RLC 1969 Dodge Charger R/T cars for new users to their platform. I am all for promoting the love of Hot Wheels to others, and promoting automotive culture. But, it is unsettling to me that Hot Wheels is letting their RLC cars be accessed, even through a give away, through something other than the RLC. What then is the point of the RLC? If there is the possibility of getting access to the cars elsewhere, that devalues being part of the club.

They should have done a similar promotion to the Road Kill partnership. Hot Wheels created two separate cars for Motor Trend’s Road Kill show that could be obtained by being a new subscriber to Motor Trend On Demand. While I do have a minor beef with that, because they didn’t offer it to current subscribers (which I am) only new, the car can only be obtained in that manner and it was not a RLC exclusive car.

All that needs to happen is the RLC cars should only be available to RLC members, especially if an RLC sale got postponed. Once the sale happens, maybe then the car can be used as a marketing tool. But, it would be best if RLC cars stay exclusive to the RLC.

The True Cost of Hot Wheel Hunting

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Face it, hunting for Hot Wheels, as addicting and as much of a rush as it can be, takes a lot of time. As the saying goes, time is money. You might be wondering, how much money does the Hot Wheel hobby cost? Time to do that math!

Let’s keep everything well rounded and easy for this example. If you have a job, you get paid for your time to do the work.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. So, at minimum, your time hunting costs at least that, even if it is your hobby. You have to approach it from this angle because if you aren’t earning money, you need to know how much your time would be worth if you were earning money.

Next, according to AAA, the average annual cost of owning a vehicle in 2019 was $9,282 a year, or $773.50 a month. That is $25.78 a day and $1.07 an hour. If you consider Hot Wheel hunting as a job of sorts, you might also want to consider the federal cost per mile rate, which is currently 57.5 cents per mile. That would be money you could be getting if you were not working for yourself. Otherwise, this doesn’t exactly fit into the equation because if one is using their own car, I believe the AAA rate accounts for the cost per mile in the ownership.

Hot Wheels cars can range in price. But, lets just take the mainline cars, and give them a rounded price of exactly $1.00. This example will be for just a single car

The equation is this: cost of time + cost of Hot Wheels + cost of car ownership = true cost to hunt Hot Wheels

If you spent 1 hour hunting for 1 Hot Wheel, the true cost of that car to you would be $7.25 + $1.00 + $1.07 = $9.32

Clearly those numbers can be adjusted accordingly. If the time is less or greater, if the amount of cars are more, and if you go to out to hunt multiple times a week. Even though you are paying a somewhat fixed price for the cost of ownership for your vehicle, the example is only using the average. That cost can technically be higher or lower as well.

So, that means you have to sell your $1 car for $9.32 and that still won’t get you to the break even point. Then there there is the second part of the equation.

The second part is selling and shipping and supplies.

Fees to post on eBay, use Paypal, and have shipping supplies can sometimes run up to 50% of the total cost. So, to sell that $1 car, to break even just from hunting for it, you have to sell it at $9.32. But if you don’t want to take a loss with fees and shipping and supplies, you would have to put the price up to about $15 dollars. That begins to make it a hard buy for someone who might hunt these cars themselves, and doesn’t make $15 an hour at a job. If you make more than $15 an hour, it still is hard buy when you only get 1 car. You might as well go spend an hour hunting and find 15 cars.

It is very hard to make money from buying mainline Hot Wheels on the pegs and reselling them online. There is money to be made, but you have to hunt, you have to hustle, and you have to work very, very hard. You also have to get a hold of cars that can turn higher profits, such as Super Treasure Hunts, or joining the Red Line Club and buy and flip those cars. I will say though, 100% profit is 100% profit, whether you make a dollar profit off a dollar car, or a $30 profit off a $30 dollar car, math is math. You just have to decide what is worth while to you.

Scalpers: Those Pesky People who get to the Pegs First

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The word scalper according to Google is defined as “a person who resell shares or tickets at a large or quick profit” If you are familiar with the Hot Wheels hobby, you have no doubt heard this word used often. It is not a word or person that someone wants to be…or is it?

I think the true issue people have is this. They are mad at “scalpers” which really means anyone who finds cars on the pegs at a store before they do. I saw a post on social media the other day about how crappy a person’s day was because they walked into a store just to have someone pull a super treasure hunt out of a case right in front of their eyes. When it is all about the super treasure hunts, there really isn’t a lot of depth to the hunt or hobby at that point. Especially if you consider yourself to have the rest of your day deemed bad because of it. This is silly to me. Pallet raiders and door warmers and the over used term “scalper” are just ways to blame others for something you can’t control.

Hot Wheel hunting is a very time consuming, expensive, repetitive, tedious, and patience practicing hobby. I’ve seen so many people get into the hobby at full throttle only to get worn out, frustrated, and low on funds in a matter of 6 to 9 months because they did not understand what they were about to get themselves into. Many people are considering this an investment hobby as well. Now days there are so many stories of childhood toys worth thousands of dollars tucked away in closets and attics. People create value and things get expensive for a time, but everything is cyclical. Those of us who have been in the hobby for more that a few years, in many cases, decades, just learn to be patient.

A number of months ago, a video was going around the internet showing the popular author, entrepreneur, and speaker Gary Vaynerchuk attending a garage sale. The part I am referencing starts at 11:54 and goes to 15:07. Here is a quick clip on Instagram if you don’t want to watch the whole thing linked above. In the video, he came across a tub full of diecast cars, haggled a bit with the sellers, and then purchased the lump sum. He then went back to his car and quickly Googled some of the cars in his recent purchase to find that some of them were worth already more than what he paid for the bunch.

At first I found myself very angry at that video. Now every person who owns any diecast car is going to think they have some gem worth something expensive and make the diecast hobby that much more expensive, cluttered, and inflated. Plus all these people are only doing it for the money. They aren’t into it for the collecting or the way the cars make them feel.

Then I started thinking about it more and realized it’s not a big deal. If you have a product that you can somehow find a buyer to buy it for more than you did, props to you. I do that. When I have found a fresh case on the pegs before anyone else, I will buy all the cars I want, and if I have extra, I will sell, trade, or give them away. I wouldn’t consider myself a “scalper.” It just comes with the hobby. The only issue it really creates is that now, if you are really into the hobby, the prices of things become incredibly inflated. But that is a cycle. Once people realize that it is not the most lucrative thing because you have to work hard and hustle, prices will get back to acceptable rates. You just have to be patient.

We watch people on TV flip all kinds of things. Between Flip or Flop on HGTV, Fast N’Loud on Discovery, or an old school favorite like Pawn Stars, all of these shows teach people how “lucrative” flipping or buying and reselling can be. But not everyone is cut out for that and not everyone has the skill, talent, work ethic, or patience to do that. In the end, if you really want something, you’ll have your own opinions on how to get it and at what price. When it comes to selling, it is the same thing. That cycle is what keeps the economy rolling along. For all of those people who have found their niche and are sticking with it, they will know how to be patient and play the long game. That is when the most work, the most fun, and the most profit all start to coincide and true enthusiast has been made.

Buffet of Topics for Today

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I didn’t get this post done ahead of time or scheduled on my regular Thursday at 10 time, but that is ok. There are a lot of topics I would like to cover quickly in the blog. Some are new thoughts and some are follow ups so hopefully you enjoy.

A week or so ago was Ford week on the blog, at least that is what each topic was about that week. Since the blog about the Ford Bronco, Ford has announced that they will not debut the Bronco until 2021. That is painful. I am tired of all these car companies “jumping the shark.” Make the car and we will give you money. That is not a hard equation. Side note to the Ford topic as well, my wife and I still haven’t filled out our paper work to get $20 for our Ford Focus issues. Maybe I should get on that.

Next up, NASCAR is BACK! It has been a little different than normal. No fans are in the stands, not even the announcers are present at the track. There is very limited crew and drivers must wear masks when not in the car. Last night Kyle Busch (my favorite driver) caused a bit of anger filled drama when he bumped Chase Elliott causing Chase to wreck. I am not going to defend Kyle, I am simply going to say, it really does look like he was driving by his mirror. Ryan Newman is back in the car after his crash at Daytona. Matt Kenseth has replaced Kyle Larson in the number 42 after Larson said a bad word during iRacing. I am excited for the next race at Charlotte this weekend.

I am finally getting back to Hot Wheel hunting and have been thrilled to find some really nice stuff on the pegs. I am hopefully going to be making videos of all the find that I have acquired, so keep tuned to the All Out Octane YouTube channel for the latest Hot Wheel and Matchbox finds! Both the blue and orange brands have some amazing cars coming out this year, along with great recolors of old cars, and it is nice to be able to share them with all of you!

 

*For fun- Comment below, would rather have a 2020 Chevy Camaro, a 2020 Ford Mustang, or a 2020 Dodge Challenger?

The Hardest Part about being a Hunter

Some cars I found before the quarantine.
I’m a quarantined car collector. These are some cars I found before everything went down.

A hobby that I have had my entire life is collecting Hot Wheels. It is something that I have always done and while at certain points of my life I collected less cars than at other points, I have never gotten out of the hobby. There have been times I’ve thought about it, but just can’t bring myself to. One of the most fulfilling thrills is going from store to store to hunt down those little 97 cent cars.

That has been the hardest part about this worldwide virus pandemic. I have not left my house in over 5 weeks. In order to hunt, one has to be able to go out and do it. Now, my self quarantine is exactly that. My wife and I have chosen not to go anywhere during this time. So, maybe those of you reading this might not have pity or empathy or sympathy for me. I understand and accept that. In some regard, I’m not seeking that.

While it is hard to watch fellow collectors out and about soaking up all the fresh cars off the pegs, I have to accept that I have not chosen to go out and hunt. I want to be safe and keep my wife safe. In the long run, I’d rather be alive to hunt another day than to risk getting sick. Plus, in this day and age, I can always have cars shipped right to my door. So once this subsides, maybe I’ll hunt online for all the cars I missed. It’s not as thrilling, but it keeps the collection complete.

What was Hot Wheels Nationals like?

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When the Hot Wheels Collectors Nationals was announced that it would be hosted in Charlotte, North Carolina, I was super excited. I would finally get a chance to go to one of the biggest gatherings regarding ever for my Hot Wheels collecting hobby! I had heard plenty of stories and watched many videos about the event and since joining the RLC club for the first time ever, I was interested in taking my hobby to the next level.

While Charlotte is only a few hours from where I live, I was hesitant to actually buy a ticket. I don’t know why, I just went back and forth about the price, logistics, and if it was an overall wise thing to do. I ended up missing the window to buy a ticket. While I was bummed, I accepted the fact that I was indecisive (I do that a lot). Yes, I was a bit sulky around the house but I thought it was for the best. Then, while at a local meet up with some other collectors, one of them told me they had a friend who had a ticket available. A few emails later and I was on the list to attend the 20th Annual Hot Wheels Collectors Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina on April 1st through 5th, 2020.

I still had no idea where I would stay, how long I would go, or what I was going to do. As the even came closer, about a month out, I started thinking I would do the room to room and hunt for cars, but I was also thinking about going to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and going to Joe Gibbs Racing, as well as any other automotive site I could find.

Then, a few weeks out, mid March, the virus struck. Cancelling event after event, isolating countries, cities, people into their homes and reducing any hope of large gatherings for the foreseeable future.

While I was not able to actually go to what would have been my first Hot Wheels Nationals, I hold out hope that someday, maybe I will be able to go to one. And even though it didn’t take place, the amazing hosts who organize the event still were able to mail out all the merchandise and cars associated with attending the event. I am very thankful for that.

The 411 of the 944

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Being an automotive enthusiast, I know I should have some crazy obsession with Porsche, but I have never found them to be appealing. It is not that I dislike them, and no, I have not driven one. Their styling has never caught my eye and I tend to like things that everyone else doesn’t. Porsche doesn’t fit that mold. I have sat in a few. My 6’4″ height makes the ergonomics of the ones I’ve sat in less comfortable than a shorter person might find.

However, there is one Porsche that I have always had a fascination with ever since high school, and that was back in 2007. That Porsche is a 944. It has not always had the love and admiration as other models. The front-engine layout does not give it the performance capabilities that the most iconic Porsche cars have either. Those are exactly the qualities that drew me to it. That and the price, especially over 13 years ago. Although, I couldn’t afford one then and sadly, I can’t yet now either, even though I  wish I could. It would be a good investment and a great car, especially and entry Porsche, to drive.

Now, in 2020, the 944 is becoming a star. The prices are going up, the popularity is increasing, and it is finally becoming a Porsche that people appreciate. One of the coolest ways to acquire one at the moment without breaking the bank is by buying the new casting for 2020 by Hot Wheels. I currently have one in red, which is the launch color for the casting and a gold one is on the way. While it would be nice to own one in real life, I can at least be satisfied in this one for the time being.