August 2008

Occasionally I go through the most recent e-mails I've received and pick a few to share with you.  I try to personally respond to every e-mail I receive, but I also post a few here in my Q&A column.

Hello Joe !
Just finished reading your latest posting, glad you did enjoy DEATH RACE.  I have yet to see this movie as many scenes were shot next door , here , in Montreal... I'll try & guess the shooting locations as the movie will play! But from the trailer, I can already say that the old port was used as a shooting location.

About the movie SEX DRIVE , it reminds me of an old 80's movie by Rob Reiner called THE SURE THING starring John Cusack, is it a re-make  ? (It seems to be a common thing nowadays....)

Bye for now !

Eric :o)

Hi Eric,
The story of a geek in search of his dream girl probably goes back to Biblical days.  It's not a very original concept but we'll see if they pull it off.  At least it has a very cool car in it.

Hi there.  I'm Adam from England.  I was wondering if you could help me.  I am trying to find a die-cast model of the Smokey and the Bandit 2 truck, a die-cast model of the Rubber Duck Convoy Mack truck and a die-cast model of the BJ and the Bear truck.  I can find some of them on eBay but the sellers are in the USA and don't want to ship to England.  Please, please help me in my quest.

Adam (aka bambam) 

Hi Adam,
You mentioned three trucks that have SKYROCKETED in value over the past few years. 
A few years ago, I bought my Smokey & The Bandit II semi for around $35.  Now it's worth over $150.  The Convoy Rubber Duck semi and the BJ & The Bear semi have both gone up in value too.
The only possible solution would be that if you won the auction, you could give them my mailing address, and then I could forward the package to you if you reimbursed me for postage. 
Although it could be expensive.  I recently mailed a package to the UK and it cost me $40.
Let me know if you want to try that.

Clément Lagrange, from Limoges, FRANCE. I'd want to congrat you for your marvelous website which made me start my die-cast collection about 3 years ago...I didn't know there was so much TV & Movie die-cast vehicles from my childhood's favorite TV shows and movies!!!  I had some vehicles from my childhood but I started search more with the help of your website...for that THANK YOU !
I'm collecting toys from 70's, 80's, 90's and modern Wrestlers, Star Wars, Big Jim, Marvel, GI JOE, etc... Also, I attach you a zipped file with some of my 1/64 die-cast vehicles.  I have made also 3 customs cards (with 2 customs cars) : TJ Hooker (only custom card, because I don't like the Mercedes like of the original Fleetwood version, I prefer the good old Dodge), Mad Max (car + card) and Le Marginal (card + car, this a famous French action movie from the 80's with actor Jean-Paul Belmondo).
Hope you'll like it !
Greetings from France. 
PS : Sorry for my unperfect English !

Hi Clement.  Your collection is coming along nicely.  I love the custom work.  I've added your photos to the Collectors' Collection portion of my website. 

My father (Dave Alcorn) is a big fan of your website and a huge collector of the Disney Pixar Cars die-cast collectibles. He found some collectibles today at his local Target store and wanted me to take some pictures and send them in to you for your website. The pics are attached to this email.

Thank you,
Darren Alcorn
Atlanta, GA

Thanks for the pics Darren & Dave.  I've already found and posted images of the Race & Chase gift pack, but thanks for pics of the two other gift sets.  I saw the Leak Less set today, but couldn't bring myself to pay 12 bucks for one new car.  I'm sure I'll reconsider.  I haven't seen the No Stall Gift Set yet.  Thanks again.

I have to say your site is the best!!!   It's extremely informative, to the point with opinion, and has, on more than one occasion, swayed me away from a purchase I would have regretted.

My collection is/was mainly Johnny Lightning 1/64 scale. I started it 6 years ago and was pleased to see a strong variety of good looking cars to purchase at any TRU, Target, etc. Most of the time, I would come home with a White Lightning. Boy, have things changed. I guess you can blame EBay.  Finding a WL is almost impossible, unless you are at the store before it opens or know someone who works there. Not to sound hypocritical, but I've sold almost all of my WL's on EBay and, now, just enjoy the regular cars; most of which are better detailed than the WL version.

The cost has skyrocketed and JL distribution has been totally screwed up. They must have internal problems. Actually, I was getting tired of the same old castings repainted and repackaged into another series. You would think with the talent they have over there, that each series would always be new cars. Anyhow, I've switched to good, old Matchbox and Hot Wheels, with an occasional Greenlight purchase. Even Maisto has some nice 1/64 scale cars.

I just read your blog about the new Pixar cars; even a chase car. Come on, how long do they think they can pump the well. I have started collecting those; I have probably 20. Just the ones I like, otherwise I'd be broke.

I like cars and wish, as most guys do, that I didn't throw away the ones I had as a kid. My biggest collection was original Tonka trucks. The dump truck, crane, etc. That is what my relatives bought me back when I was young. All of them hit the dumpster when I was 9 and moved to another city. That would have made a nice display today; of course after my 2 sons got done playing with them!

One question  -  I usually buy from an OLD known as Milezone and sometimes from Diecastplus. Can you recommend any other sites that have good variety at a reasonable price?

Much appreciated,
John T. Moskal

Thanks for the terrific e-mail John.  To answer your question, I recommend my sponsors, whose links you'll find in the right column of this website. 

Hi Joe,
I just checked your site and read your review on your newly acquired Elite Batmobile.
I know I'm thrilled with mine!  I don't know if you're familiar with Joe Kelly's site, but if you're not, you'll love it.  He does a very nice review of this diecast here:

Enjoy.  Now...I'm waiting for my Super Elite!

Take care,
Joe in Baltimore

Thanks for the link to Joe Kelly's Site.  I loved his review of the Authentics version of the General Lee and his review of the Elite Batmobile is just as good.  He seems as excited about it as you and I are.

Can you tell me more about this car?  Does it have holes to accommodate the add on weapons from the plastic vehicles?

Brennan Penney

The Toy Fair Exclusive Mach 5 (above, left) is die-cast metal and not compatible with the plastic line of Mattel's Speed Racer cars.  I believe the die-cast version of the Mach 5 that is just now hitting stores (above, right) is almost identical to the Toy Fair version and finally completes the set of four.

Hi!  I've been collecting car movies (racing/chases/unusual/special/etc.)  for years and recently decided to expand my collection to die cast vehicles related to movies and TV.

I thought I was doing pretty good until I ran across your website this morning.  Great website and great collection.  I enjoyed browsing and I picked up some more ideas regarding missing vehicles for my collection.

George Johnson

Hi George,
I've been thinking of expanding my car-movies DVD collection myself. I'd love to see your list of Top 10 or Top 20 car movies. I do some work for the Motorsports Hall of Fame here in Michigan and they have the most amazing collection of DVDs and movies featuring cars/planes/boats, you name it.
I'm glad my website has helped you in your search for die-cast cars.

(George responded to my request.)

My collection of "Car" movies exceeds 700.  Many are real "stretches" to label them as car movies, but as you know, things can get out of hand when you're collecting stuff!!!  I haven't watched hundreds of them, but of the ones I've watched, following is my personal list of 20 favorites--so far. I've listed them alphabetically with some editorial comments.

1.  American Graffiti (1973)  Great cars during a great time in history
2.  Back To The Future (1985)  Great vehicle and fun movie
3.  Bullitt (1968)  I still love when Steve McQueen latches up his seatbelt.
4.  Cadillac Man (1990) Robin Williams and Tim Robbins at their best
5.  Days Of Thunder (1990)  Panned by the critics, but I liked it.
6.  Eddie & The Cruisers (1983) I like"Eddie & The Cruisers II"w/no car,too.
7.  Flywheel (2003)  My Dad was a used car dealer, so this movie got me!
8.  Fluke (1995) A strange little tale based on a car accident
9.  Freejack (1992)  A time travel tale with lots of action
10. Goldfinger (1964)  Still one of the best 007 flicks
11. Gone In 60 Seconds (2000)  Great remake of the original
12. Grand Prix (1966)  One of the best car racing movies ever made
13. Heart Like A Wheel (1983)  A movie that should have gotten more press
14. The Italian Job (2003)  A remake that was better than the original
15. Kid Speed (1924)  AKA:"The Four-Wheeled Terror"  Laurel & Hardy
16. Miracle In Lane 2 (2000)  A touching tale
17. Pinchcliffe Grand Prix (1975)  Strange but special
18. Race For a Life (1913) Couldn't leave out Barney Oldfield
19. Smokey & The Bandit (1977)  Simply a great, fun car movie
20. The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956)  The car is cool, but the tale is better.

There were numerous hot rod/car racing movies in the 50s and 60s, but most
of them had no plots and poor acting--even though some of the car footage
was great.

Thanks for asking!

Hey Joe, what's up? I am also a Michigander (Sterling Hts.) and have been wanting to say hey for a while now.  When I started to see the first wave of HW 1:64 batmobiles come out from Mattel I was hooked. I have always been a huge HUGE Batman fan so I knew I had to have them.  Eventually I was curious if there were more out there I hadn't found and when I started poking around on-line, that's when I discovered your site and Batmobile nirvana.
Your site really got me going and gave me heads-up as to what was out in the stores or were rare finds. I pretty much stick to 1:64 only but made an exception for the 1:50's that just came out. I have the Zamac and both Comic Con exclusives including the Batgirl cycle and again, thanks to you, I just scored the Hero Launcher with the RD-10 and should have it any day.
Anyway, sorry to be winded but just wanted to say thanks for a good site and the tips. 

From one Michigander (and Batman afficianado) to another, I'm glad I could help with your collection.  That's the reason I started this site in the first place, to help fellow collectors learn what's out there.  I've posted pics of your Batmobile collection in the Collectors' Collections section of this site. 

Hey Joe, 
I see you won the car. Good for you! I know you were looking for it for a while, and when I saw it on eBay, I thought of you.
I enjoy seeing the "AUTO"graphed cars in your collection. You seem to have quite a few now. You should make a gallery in your "My Collection" page that has your autographed pieces. I think that would be cool.

Well, just thought I'd pop in and say "hi", and congrats on getting the GTX. Have a good day.

Hi Metro,
Thanks so much for the tip on the auction for the loose GTX.  I've been trying to get that car for years and almost shelled out big bucks for the 10-car boxed set.  I owe you one.

As for the "Auto-Graphs" (I love that name, by the way) right now I only have four signed cars:  George Barris, Erik Estrada, Mario Andretti and Mickey Dolenz, which doesn't quite make a collection yet, but I'm working on it.  Hopefully, I'll be able to add more soon.

Hi. Do you still have die cast Airwolf & How much & also s/h?  Do you accept debit cards?  Do you have Air Wolf 2 in die cast too? Santini Air Helicopter too? I just got Airwolf first 3 seasons in dvd. 
John W Thomas, JR
Hi John,
First of all let me apologize for any confusion, but if you look near the top of the home page of my website, in red, it says I'm not selling anything.  I'm just a collector who decided to create an informational website for other collectors. Your best bet is eBay or something similar. Sorry.

Here was John's response:

If you do not sell why a price guide? Let me know where I can buy die cast Airwolf. 

I created the price guide to give collectors an idea of what certain pieces may be worth.  Since the creation of this website, I've seen the values of certain pieces SKYROCKET.  As a matter of fact, I'll have to update it again soon with so many new pieces hitting stores in 2008.  I'm just doing my best to be a complete source of reference for collectors like myself.  Since die-cast Airwolf vehicles are considered vintage pieces, I would recommend eBay as your best option.  Thanks for writing.

Hi Joe,  

I haven't updated my collection for some time with your website but after looking at all the cool Batmobile collections that have been posted recently, I must admit I am VERY envious. Here are my pics of my modest collection of Batmobile toys. Keep up the great work on your website there are many of us here in the Bay Area that appreciate your comments and insights on our hobby !!
Eric L
San Mateo, CA

Hi Eric.  I hope all is well with you.  Thanks for the pics and I've updated your section in the Collectors' Collection gallery to include your Batman collection.

I've been visiting your site for years and have always admired your collection, but I never noticed if you had the fire trucks that were on the TV show "Emergency!". Code 3 collectibles did the two pumper's and the rescue truck and also the fire station several years ago in 1/64th scale. I know that another company in the 1970's, I think it was LJN, made some crude HO scale versions also. My main collection is fire and police vehicles, but I also collect the Batmobile and Green Hornet cars.
Anyway, keep up the great web site and happy collecting.
Mike Doll
Baltimore, MD

Hi Mike.  I have an entire page dedicated to the TV show Emergency!  It includes die-cast vehicles from LJN's Road Stars line, Mattel's Hot Wheels and Code 3.  Click HERE to see them all.

Hi there! Hope this finds you doing well!
While everyone and their uncle descended upon San Diego for the 2008 Comic Con. A few hundred folks here in he wonderful city of Pittsburgh attended the 2008 Steel City Con.  And guess what made an appearance at the con? Just a fine replica of the 1966 Batmobile.  I have enclosed a few pics for you. If you'd like more I have tons. I have also included the obligatory geek-out photo of me sitting in said pretty ride!

The best!

Even though nothing beats seeing the #1 Batmobile (which I believe is still housed in the Petersen Museum in LA) it's always cool to see a Batmobile replica up close, and even better to SIT IN ONE!  I haven't had that opportunity yet.  Great pics, Josh!

Even BATMAN is feeling the crunch!

Hi Joe,
Thought you might like!

Take care,

And finally, Michael Serrico heads up a group of TV & movie car replica owners here in the Metro Detroit area.  He sent me some pics from a recent photo shoot:

I really do enjoy getting your e-mails from all over the world and I'll do my best to respond to them as promptly as I can, but I strongly encourage you to join the FORUM.  Not only will you get an immediate response from me, but from other knowledgeable collectors, as well.

Q&A Archive: 
9/03 10/03 11/03 12/03  1/04 2/04 3/04 4/04 5/04
6/04 7/04 8/04 9/04 10/04 1/05 2/05 3/05 4/05
5&6/05 7/05 8/05 9/05 10/05 12/05 3/06 7/06 10/06