Monday, July 6, 2015

Your chance to acquire a one-of-a-kind Hot Wheels Datsun Wagon Super Treasure Hunt, and all for charity...

It is Matchbox Gathering Month!

We are less than two weeks away from my favorite July tradition, the Matchbox Collectors Gathering of Friends in New Mexico.  If you read Lamley, you know this is the one diecast-related event I look forward to more than any every year.  It is low-key, full of cool people, littered with unique stuff to acquire, and always interesting.

But why am I talking about this when there are two Hot Wheels cars pictured above?

There is a good reason.  One of the biggest highlights of the Gathering is the Charity Auction held after the Saturday night dinner.  A plethora of items are donated, including some fantastic prepros by Mattel, and all are auctioned off.  All the money raised in the auction is donated to Rachel's Courtyard at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Rachel's Courtyard is an outdoor area at the hospital where severely ill children and their families can go to get fresh air, hang out, and play, all while staying close to the care they need.  Knowing how tough hospitals can be, especially on children, this is a fantastic service the hospital provides.

Richard Borkovetz Landscape Architects
I have donated a decent amount through auction wins in the past, but this year I thought it was appropriate to donate items as well.  As I went through my stuff, these two Hot Wheels Datsun Wagons stuck out:

These two Datsuns, one a Super TH and one basic, were donated by Eric Bizek at JDM Legends to Lamley for any future charitable effort, and Rachel's Courtyard most certainly qualifies.  I had Eric, whose logo dons the side of the model, sign the card, along with others whose logos are there: Ben Hsu of Japanese Nostalgic Car, and Terry Yamaguchi of the world-famous JCCS, the Japanese Classic Car Show.  Lastly, the model's designer, Jun Imai, was gracious enough to sign as well.

It is now time to put these two models to good use, so we decided to use them to help raise funds for Rachel's Courtyard.  The one problem?  How well would these do at an auction where most attendees are more interested in classic Matchbox?  Not well.

So we decided to make these available to all of our Lamley readers instead.  Both are up on eBay right now, open for bidding, and they are available to all, no matter where you live.  You can find the two listings here:

Lamley Charities Datsun 510 Wagon Super TH Auction

The auction started yesterday (there has already been a good deal of action on the Super), and expires next Sunday.  Every penny will be added to the total raised at the Saturday night auction at the Gathering.  I will make sure the winners get documentation for their records, and that there is complete transparency in regards to the full donation.

We hope you all participate.  The winners will get very unique versions of an immensely popular model, but most importantly, we will be able to help enhance the lives of some children that really need it.  Lamley readers have come through time and time again, and now is our chance to do it again.  Let's raise a few dollars...

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Last Golden Age of Matchbox: '68 Mercury Cougar...

To our US readers, Happy 4th of July!

It is obviously appropriate today to go American, but from what angle?  I have given it a lot of thought, probably more than needed to, and considered a lot of models to feature, but it was Bring a Trailer that gave me the spectacular option:

My goodness that is a beauty.  The Mercury Cougar doesn't get the love that some other cars do, but it is most surely a looker.  Seeing this one-owner beauty in such pristine condition definitely makes one appreciate it a little more.  Half sport, half boat.

When I saw the pics, being a diecast nerd I instantly remembered this:

Sure, the real one is a '67, and this is a replica of a '68, but they are both pretty darn nice.  So I dug through the Lamley collection and pulled the Matchbox Cougars I had, and I was pleasantly surprised to see I had a few:

We have seven.  There are more out there, but I kept these over the years because of their plain street colors and decos.  So into the Lamley Studio they go.

The Mercury is a valid 4th of the July celebratory casting, and it is also very deserving to be a part of our Last Golden Age of Matchbox series.  So here it is.

The Matchbox Cougar was born at the same time as the Matchbox '69 Camaro.  Both were originally slated for a Matchbox Premium line, but that fell through, so they both debuted in the 2004 Superfast line.  Since then the Cougar has been a Superfast staple, as well as a mainline favorite. 

But we haven't seen it a lot lately, and I wonder if we will see it again at all.  The model might be too long.  Big models at Matchbox usually come now in plastic, or much smaller.  The recently-released Lamborghini LM002, for example, is much smaller than it needs to be, and maybe that was done so it doesn't overwhelm the actual blister, or because more metal would not be cost effective.  

And that might be the same here.  Or it might not.  Maybe we will see another version soon.  Whether we do or not really doesn't matter, because these seven are fantastic.  The brown and orange versions are the highlight for me, with their "vinyl" tops, but the others are great too.  Most notable is the light green, which hearkens back to the original Lesney Cougar.

So take a few seconds to look at the pics, hopefully you will enjoy them, give the USA a little chant for their classic cars, grab a couple if you want, and then go back to the family and grill something.

Happy 4th...

Matchbox '68 Mercury Cougar

Friday, July 3, 2015

Hot Wheels Heritage: A return to form?

So have we made it?

We have talked a lot here on Lamley about how Hot Wheels figured out the Boulevard line a little too late, and since then we have been waiting for something similar to return.  Hot Ones and Flying Customs were too "Hot Wheels Nostalgic" for newer collectors, and the Cool Classics looked nice, but lacked realistic liveries and colors.

So when Heritage was announced, many collectors started licking their chops.  Something tasty might be on its way.  The caveat?  The batches would alternate between real riders and nostalgic redlines, so theoretically one batch would be realistic, and the other nostalgic.

Well, the first batch is out, with six models sitting on real riders.  And after one batch, what do you think?  Are we back?  Would you put these on par with models like the Boulevard 510 Wagon, Porsche 993, and Jeep Wagoneer?  Not yet.  This batch is nice, although a tad underwhelming.

Two Datsuns will, at least at this point, get the masses going, so kudos to Mattel for starting off strong.  The 240Z wins from our perspective, with a simple, retro racing style that would do very well down the street here at the Bonneville Salt Flats.  The 510 is ok, but doesn't pop.  The VW is too Cool Classics-like, and we have no opinion on the two unlicensed models.

The most interesting model is the Greenbrier.  Would we have preferred it stock?  Of course, but you can't expect that from Hot Wheels.  Instead it should be super creative, and it most certainly is.  This one is definitely a must have, even if it gets some grief form those who would have preferred stock.

There is still a lot to see from Heritage, so the jury is still out.  We still miss Boulevard...

Hot Wheels Heritage Batch A: