I have a modest collection of Hot Wheels. Still in the package. I also have a few Ertl Tractors from the same Hot Wheels sized to a few Percesion Classics. I have some Consumers Energy Trucks too (our local electric and natural gas utility) I have collected over the years made by DG Productions.
I like Hot Wheels the best. I had a few as a kid. I spent 2-3 visits a week to the doctors office or hospital before I was five. I wasn't expected to make it to five years old. If I behaved at the regular visits with a guaranteed shot and blood work each time I might get to pick a new Hot Wheels out. So I never had too many Hot Wheels. My mom loved me dearly and prayed I would survive but she still tanned my backside regularly and I had them coming too.
Along the line I gave away all my little cars when my 1976 Olds 442 was my real 'Hot Wheels'. The queen, what I call my wife, started doing those Samaritan's Purse Shoe Box Ministry about 8-10 years ago and I slowly started collecting Hot Wheels again. If I found a car that I wanted which is almost exclusively Camaro's and Cadillacs, I would buy her two cars for her boxes. She prefers to give trucks away so I look for those.
Not big fans of Wal Mart but we hit the clearance stuff for toys, games, school supplies, underwear and socks etc she packs in the boxes. So month or so ago I found these large dump bin of these Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Camaro's. An eight car collection. I found seven, but could not find the first in the series, a '67 Camaro with opening hood. Over the next month I hunted every darn near every Wally World in lower Michigan for this one car. They are exclusive to the asterisk blue vested folks. While in Jackson MI one night I met an old guy in his seventies looking through the dump bin of Camaro's. I asked if he found the '67. He had not. I guess eBay is where I need to go.
He asked if I was going to the event. Event? I asked. Yeah, the KMart event. Happens once a year. It is tomarrow morning. Huh? He explained that he had been collecting Hot Wheels all his life. He was from Kalamazoo which is at least an hour away from Jackson, but would be going probably to Hastings because Battle Creek is a blood bath riot he said. I chuckled. Yep. It's in the hood. He said I should go to Marshall MI and asked if I knew of it. I nodded. I did not tell him I lived about 20 minutes from that KMart.
That next day was the Saturday it was like 70 decrees which is nice for mid February in Michigan. Extremely nice. Despite having tons of things I needed to do with a rare day off I choose to drive to that KMart to see if the old guy was pulling my leg or not. Sitting in my Duramax Yoder-Toter I watched about five people gather at the front doors at eight am. Store doesn't open til nine so must be it is on. Yep. The store manager let us in and gave a raffle ticket to each of us. Clueless to what to do next I followed these other folks to the toy area and waited. Soon, the general manager appeared with a folding table then a cart with six master cases of new Hot Wheels. By now, it is nine am and people are wondering what we where gathered for. Hot Wheels. Rolling their eyes and muttering get a life, the other shoppers went about their business. 24 tickets was handed out. Each master case contained four cases. So everyone gets to be the first to open a case of brand new Hot Wheels and take thier pick of the litter. I was drawn out fifth so I picked my case and opened it. I scored some very cool cars. No Camaro's but I did get a Gas Monkey Corvette, a '55 Chevy Gaser, and two other '55 Chevy's. I only collect GM cars with the focus on Camaro's and Cadillacs. Although I do make one exception, Super Bees. Love the Super Bees.
While I was waiting an hour for the cases to be handed out, I watched and listened. It was like a living episode of Storage Wars. Guys drove as far as a hour and a half for this event. All sorts of characters. All ages. Even a couple of females. They knew of each other and knew I was not part of the collecting culture. Even one asked who I was and why I was there. They all groaned and a few even said the universal adjective under thier breath when they seen this senior coming at us. This guy and his wife, easily in thier 80's was pushing a shopping cart towards us. Equally hated by all the others, this guy is a hoarder and purposely gets in the way with the cart to get as many cars as possible that are collected. Some people just wanted the Gas Monkey car left, leaving the rest of the case intact. Which is what this old dude was waiting for. Everyone was hoping for a Treasure Hunt or Super Treasure Hunt Hot Wheels that are very rare. There is a 1995 released Super Treasure Hunt '67 Camaro on eBay asking north of $2400 bucks. Not bad for a buck investment. I heard of stories how they get the inside track on when the stores will restock the cars, what the odds are of these rare cars based on the serial number on the cases, and other dirty tricks and secretes of this new world I stumbled upon.
I learned also why I could not find any '67 Wal Mart Camaro's is because of the opening hood, some of the chrome engines would accidentally get painted by overspray in some decree. Which I guess makes them more valuable hence more desirable.
Taking my new cars home along with some trucks for the queen I was pleased with this otherwise colossal waste of my Saturday morning.