February 2010
News Archive




2/27/10 - Mater Just Keeps Getting Greater
I popped into a Toys R Us this Saturday afternoon and was surprised to find a couple of new Mater the Greater boxed sets.  I only bought one set, pictured above, that includes Rocket Mater and Mia & Tia.  The second set, which I passed on, includes Buck the Tooth Vendor and yet another version of Daredevil McQueen.  I did, however, find an image on eBay so you can see it for yourself (right.)




2/26/10 - Oh Happy Days!
I spent the entire day at the 2010 Detroit Autorama and I had a great time.  The highlight of my day is pictured above.  I had the chance to meet Henry Winkler, one of my boyhood idols.  The Fonz never sat down and greeted each of his fans with a handshake and said, "Hi, I'm Henry."  I had him sign Johnny Lightning's Fonzie Motorcycle which I can now add to my "Auto-Graph" collection.  I gotta tell you, he was polite and courteous to every single person in line.  I was very impressed. 



Earlier in the day, I wandered around the floor shooting video and interviews.  One of the cars I stumbled across was the very same Batmobile replica I saw getting restored back in January.  It looked absolutely fantastic with flashing lights and working dashboard displays.  It got an awful lot of attention.  I talked to the owner who told me he hopes to have it on the road for the Woodward Dream Cruise in August. 


I also saw a beautiful replica of the Batmobile as seen in Batman Forever (above, left.)  I was told it was lovingly handcrafted from the ground up.  This was a thing of beauty.  When I asked to see the interior, a guy said, "Canopy Open" and the canopy opened.  Yes.  It was voice-activated!  Incredible.    I also had a nice chat with a father/son team who created a beautiful replica of Herbie the Love Bug (above, center.)   It was awesome to see a father and son bond working on such a project and the father told me it was worth it just to see the reactions from Herbie fans.   And finally, I also got to see the unveiling of the Fire Breather, a custom car to be featured in the upcoming movie Jinn.  The movie will be filmed here in Michigan and will star Ray Park (who played Darth Maul in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.)  Ray was on hand to unveil the custom car which began its life as a Camaro (above, right.)  I shot video of the unveiling and got to interview Ray Park.  I'll post the video in a week or so. 


Oh, and one more thing.  The Autorama also features a HUGE area of die-cast car vendors.  I didn't buy much, but my jaw hung open when I saw these Corgi Jr. cars pictured below.  I'm glad I didn't bring more money or I would've spent WAY too much on some of the things I saw.  Check it out:




2/22/10 - There's Gold in Them Thar Wheels
Having no luck finding this in stores, I went the eBay route and got this Chase Bling Bling McQueen.  Not only does it come with the Piston Cup, but it also has gold rims unlike the previous releases.  The only downside is that it has lenticular eyes, but oh well.



2/22/10 - Batman Returns Batmissile
Christian Bale has his Bat-Pod, Michael Keaton had his Batmissile.  In Batman Returns, when Batman approaches a narrow alley, he sheds parts of his Batmobile so the Batmissile can squeeze through.  This 1:50 scale version is the latest release in Mattel's Bat-Vehicles line.  I found it hanging on a peg at a Meijer store today.  Oddly, it was the only Bat-Vehicle on the pegs.



2/20/10 - "Drives a $5000 car and wears a $100 suit!"
Late last year a little-known independent movie was in theaters and got great reviews, but because of its limited distribution, I couldn't find a theater near me that was showing it.  So I had to wait for it to arrive on DVD, which it did last Tuesday.  I picked up a copy of Black Dynamite and watched it, hoping it would live up to its hype.  About 5 minutes into the movie, I proclaimed Black Dynamite one of my favorite movies EVER!   The movie is a loving, faithful and AUTHENTIC recreation of the blaxploitation films of the 70's with so many quotable lines I wouldn't even know where to start.  Michael Jai White doesn't so much portray Black Dynamite as much as he portrays the ACTOR playing Black Dynamite.  As a matter of fact, the movie's trailer mentions that he's "Baltimore Colts All-Star Running Back Ferrante Jones."  The character comes across as a man who's given an opportunity to star in this message film and tries SO hard to deliver the biggest, baddest, coolest character EVER seen on screen, but unfortunately for him, he's working with a script full of clichès & stereotypes, lousy production values, jarring jump cuts, and lots and lots of stock footage.  The "director" of Black Dynamite has an almost Ed Wood-type quality, with boom mics getting into frame and actors dropping out of character at the end of scenes.  You can almost hear the director saying, "CUT.. good enough!"   Of course, this is all done deliberately to deliver some of the biggest laughs I've had watching a movie in a long time.  Michael Jai White is so incredibly good in this role.  He delivers his lines and kicks butt with such intensity it's easy to forget the movie is a comedy and completely buy into the character.  He's also surrounded by a cast that seems to be having an absolute blast, including Arsenio Hall and Tommy Davidson (and a cameo by an unrecognizable John Salley.) 


There wasn't much in the realm of car chases, since the movie uses mostly rear screen projection and archival stock footage in many of the action scenes, such as a car going over a cliff and exploding into flames, but the 70's era cars featured in the film were great.  I loved this movie so much, I can only hope and pray that Michael Jai White returns for a sequel. In the meantime, I think I'll watch the movie again!  Visit the official website by clicking HERE.




2/19/10 - Easter Egg Hunt!
Over the past few days I noticed Target stores were in the process of setting up their Easter displays.  Today I strolled down the aisle and discovered this set of Cars Easter Eggs.  This is the third time in four years Mattel has released Cars eggs.  Lightning McQueen has been included in every release, so that's no surprise, but this year you'll find a pretty random selection of characters.  Pictured above with Lightning are Fillmore, Axle Accelerator and Snot Rod.  I have no idea what criteria is used when selecting characters for these special releases. 


Also, while at the same store, I found a new addition to the Cars Toon line.   Buck the Tooth Vendor (right) was hanging on a peg in Mega Size packaging.  Buck was featured in the Cars animated short Mater the Greater.  Daredevil Lightning McQueen has also been released as a single, but I already have that one in a boxed set.  You can see Mater's Tall Tales at




2/17/10 - My Holy Grail!
A couple of weeks ago, someone started a thread in the HobbyTalk Forums asking collectors to list their "Holy Grails."  My definition of a Holy Grail is that rare piece that continues to elude you.  Either it consistently sells beyond your price range, or you rarely, if ever, see it up for sale.  Well, I decided to list Susie the Little Blue Coupe as my Holy Grail.  Back in 2006, fellow collector Jason sent me pics of a die-cast car from Tomy.  He told me he found it at a nearby hobby shop.  Susie the Little Blue Coupe is a Disney animated short that was released theatrically in 1952.  I've read that Susie was the inspiration for the look of the characters in the Disney/Pixar movie Cars.  Ever since getting that e-mail from Jason, I've desperately searched for this die-cast version of Susie with no luck.  Over the past three years, I have not been able to locate one... until now.  After my post in the HobbyTalk Forums, I got a quick reply from Pat in Canada.  He told me he had the piece I was looking for.  I sent him a couple of bucks via PayPal... and Susie finally arrived in the mail today!  I can't tell you how excited I am to finally add this piece to my collection.  The quest has finally come to an end, even though I would love to see this piece mint in its original packaging someday.  Thanks so much Pat.  I guess it's on to my next Holy Grail, if it's possible to have more than one Holy Grail!


If you'd like to see Susie the Little Blue Coupe, it's been released on The Love Bug DVD and The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad DVD. 



2/16/10 - Chasing Cars
Popping into a Target store later in the day I found the pegs restocked.  It looks like the stores in my area are finally restocking after a period of slim-pickins!  I found the three newest releases from the Cars Final Lap Collection.  Pictured above, from left, are Donna Pits, Nick Stickers and One Eye Mater.  This get me a little closer to getting caught up.  I'm still missing a couple of chase cars, including Bling Bling McQueen with Piston Cup Trophy.


2/17 UPDATE:  I found a Chase Red Ramone at WalMart today (left.)  Honestly, despite its claim of a "Metallic Finish" I really can't see a significant difference when I compare it side by side to a regular Hydraulic Ramone.  Nevertheless, it's one more Chase car I can add to my collection.



2/16/10 - A Dynamic Duo!
It's one thing to find new stuff at the store, but it's another thing to find an employee opening cases!  Visiting Toys R Us at lunchtime I saw a bunch of unopened cartons in the die-cast aisle.  One of those cases was marked Monster Duo.  I asked an employee to open it up and I pulled out this cool Monster Duo, featuring a Monster Truck Batmobile packaged with the '89 Batmobile.  This particular version of the Batmobile is unique because it features the Bat Logo on its roof. 




2/14/10 - Vote for the Car You Love!
For years Ecto-1 was on the Wish Lists of many collectors.  Yeah, Johnny Lightning produced Ecto-1A from the SECOND movie, but fans had always wanted the car from the FIRST movie in 1:64 scale die-cast.  With Mattel FINALLY releasing the car as part of its basic Hot Wheels line (and possibly a more highly detailed version down the road) we can finally remove the car from our Wish Lists.  Now the question is, which car should replace it?  After gathering input from my fellow collectors, I created the poll below.  The Top 10 cars on the Hollywood Die-Cast Wish List will remain unchanged and that's why you don't see them listed below.  The top vote getters from the poll will make up #11 through #20 on the list.  So vote for as many cars as you like and I'll post the results in a week or so.  If you feel strongly about a car that's not in the poll you can submit a "write-in" vote by sending me an e-mail  There was only room for 20 cars.




Which of the following cars would you like to see produced in 1:64 scale?
Wayne's World - AMC Pacer "The Mirthmobile"
The Wraith - Dodge Turbo Interceptor
The Car - Custom Lincoln Mark III
Smokey & The Bandit - '79 Kenworth W-900
I, Robot - Concept Audi RSQ
Duel - '71 Plymouth Valiant & '55 Peterbilt 281
Corvette Summer - '73 Custom Corvette
Robocop - '86 Ford Taurus
Death Race 2000 - Various Custom Cars
Men in Black - '87 Ford LTD Crown Victoria
Role Models - '08 Ford F-250 Super Duty "Minotaur"
League of Extraordinary Gentleman - "Nemomobile"
Little Miss Sunshine - '73 VW Type 2 Bus
Dumb & Dumber - '84 Ford Econoline - "Mutt Cutts"
Death Race (2008) - Armored 2006 Mustang GT
Death Proof - '71 Chevy Nova
Columbo - Peugeot 403 Cabriolet
The Pink Panther Show - "Panthermobile"
Talladega Nights - '69 Chevelle Malibu
The Great Race - Hannibal 8 & Leslie Special


Free polls from




2/9/10 - The Danicar!
Danica Patrick has become the first celebrity to co-design a Hot Wheels vehicle. The Danicar is pictured above and will hit stores in October of 2010.  On the heels of that revelation, Danica announced she will indeed be racing this Saturday at Noon in Daytona.  Hot Wheels will be a sponsor of Danica's No. 7 Chevrolet (right) during the NASCAR Nationwide series, including primary sponsor placement in the August 14th race at Michigan International Speedway (at which I hope to be.)




2/9/10 - A Super Commercial!
One of my favorite commercials from Super Bowl Sunday featured Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo as they reprised their roles from the Vacation movies.  It was great to see the ol' Family Truckster again.  While looking for the commercial online, I discovered there is an even LONGER version of the commercial that's like a short film.  And it's actually pretty funny!  Check it out above.




2/8/10 - Pretty Sneaky Johnny Lighting!
You may remember back in October of 2009 I posted the images above.  A fellow collector brought to my attention that Johnny Lightning's '71 Chevelle bore a striking resemble to the Chevelle featured on the TV series Life on Mars.  Well, late last week I sent an e-mail to JL's Tom Z. asking him about the future of their popular Hollywood on Wheels series.  He responded saying there are no plans for a new HOW series this year.  He went on to say, however, that Johnny Lightning has been discreetly producing cars from TV and films and told me a package was on its way to me.  Well, the package arrived and I was a little confused.  Included in the package were three loose cars:  a yellow '71 Chevy Vega, a red & white '68 Plymouth Fury Cab and a brownish '59 Chevy Impala.  I didn't recognize any of them and wrote back to Tom, asking, "What gives?"  Here is his response:


'71 Chevy Vega featured in the 1999 Drew Barrymore movie Never Been Kissed.

'68 Plymouth Fury I featured in the TV series Mission Impossible (1966-73)
'59 Chevy Impala featured in an episode of the TV series Bewitched (1964-72)


I think it is so cool that Johnny Lightning is discreetly continuing to release cars from TV and movies as part of its regular lines.  Yes, they're a bit obscure, but I like knowing the folks at JL are TV and movie car buffs just like me!  If you spot any others hanging on the pegs of your local toy store, send me an e-mail.



2/7/10 - Bustin' Crime!
Over the past few days I've been following an eBay auction for the item pictured above.  Check it out.  This Crime Busters Gift Set from Corgi Juniors includes the Batmobile and Batboat, James Bond's Aston Martin and the Piranha from The Man from UNCLE.  What an awesome set.  I'm tempted to bid on it, but at the time of this post the bid is at $255 and climbing!  The auction ends in two days.  I'll post the final tally then.  Wow.


2/9 UPDATE:  I hope this doesn't turn out to be a hoax, but when I checked on the final total on this auction, my jaw hit my keyboard.  The winning bid was a whopping $896.  I'm stunned.




2/3/10 - Transformers:  New Wave?
I hit a couple of different stores today looking for the new Metal Heroes line of Transformers RPMs.  I didn't find any.  But, while visiting a Target store, I spotted some unfamiliar releases from the plastic-bodied RPMs line.  First, Mixmaster caught my eye.  I thought, "Is this new?"  Then I spotted the concept Corvette known as Sideswipe.  Wow, new stuff!  Looking at the back of the Sideswipe, I noticed Jolt was listed, as well, but somebody must've beaten me to it.  I found a picture of Jolt and posted it at left.  The hunt for Metal Heroes continues.




2/2/10 - The Bandit Awards
The 2010 Oscar nominations were announced today (TEN Best Picture nominations!) so it's time to get the ball rolling on the 2010 Bandit Awards.  The Bandit Awards are named in honor of the Patron Saint of Car Chase Movies, Mr. Burt Reynolds.  The first thing I need are YOUR nominations in the following categories:


Best Car Movie from 2009
Best Car Chase or Racing Scene from a 2009 Movie
Best Movie Car of 2009 (stock or slightly modified)
Best Movie Car of 2009 (original creation or heavily customized)
Best Actor/Actress from a 2009 Movie
Best Car from a 2009 Television Series or TV Movie
Best Individual Die-Cast Car from 2009 (any scale)
Best Die-Cast Line from 2009 (any scale)


Send me an e-mail with your nominations or post in the forum.  I'll create a poll in a week or so and announce the winners on March 7, 2010.  (Coincidentally, Oscar Night)




2/1/10 - No.1 with a Bullitt!
It's always fun to get a package in the mail, but it's even MORE fun when the package contains Greenlight's new Bullitt diorama.  In 1:64 scale, this diorama recreates what many consider to be one of the best car chases ever put to film.  Cars from the movie have been released before by Revell and RC2, but what sets this apart from the rest is the packaging.  The display is very dynamic and has Steve McQueen overseeing the scene.  The only gripe I have is that the Mustang should've been placed in the foreground since it's the star of the chase.  Nevertheless, this is such a great addition to my collection.  It comes from sponsor Movie Car Mania.  The above pics have been added to the Bullitt Gallery.




2/1/10 - 7th Anniversary!
Today marks the 7th anniversary of the launch of!  It all started with that little display case you see in the image above, filled with Johnny Lightnings, Matchbox, Corgi Jr. and ERTL cars.  My collection just kept growing and growing after that, going from a 24-car display case, to 70 cars, to HUNDREDS of cars.  My buddy Dennis was inspired by my display, and his collection now numbers in the THOUSANDS.  There have been so many highlights over the past seven years, I hardly know where to begin:  Visiting George Barris' shop in California, being interviewed for a television show that aired in the UK, Mattel getting the rights to produce the 1966 Batmobile, meeting celebrities, including every living cast member from The Dukes of Hazzard, receiving a hand-made metal replica of the Pink Panther-Mobile, all the e-mails from around the world and all the friendships I've made ... this website has literally changed my life.  Thanks so much for being a part of it, especially my sponsors who have stuck with me despite tough economic times.  It just keeps getting better and better!