The Hot Wheels Garage: 8 May 2009
8 May 2009: Getting Back Into the Hot Wheels Game (sort of)--- Welcome to the first column for! Starting next month, you'll find more informative articles and opinions on the hobby itself, but I wanted to use this first column to convey my thoughts on getting back into the hobby.

So, why did I get out back in 2003? As far as collecting goes, I just became dissatisfied (sorry, disrespect intended) with the new designs that were being issued. I was completely NOT into the "Tooned" look, as this had already been pounded into the sand by Muscle Machines (which, ironically, I don't see any more of those around...hmmm....) during that same period. Up to that point, I was a completist; I had to have every car and series that came out. But, times changed.
I stopped collecting that year. And, it was an odd feeling, because from 1995 to 2003, I'd been chasing Hot Wheels. Any store that had 'em...I was looking. Up early. In late. Trying to beat the Treasure Hunters and scalpers for 8 years straight. But, no more. When I gave it up, I gave it up completely. And, honestly, it was almost a relief in some ways. I could actually (true story!) go into a Target or Wal*Mart without even glancing at the pegs. It was like...the pressure had been released. I wasn't up against all the other collectors anymore, and I was totally at peace with it.

Fast forward to 2009. I stumbled upon my cases of old Blackwalls and Redlines, and something....sparked. I unwrapped each one from its plastic baggie, and held them up to the light. It was right about then that it hit me; these are the cars that I played with as a kid; the cars that left indelible memories on me that still carry over into today. That was when I realized that I missed the hobby and the old NCHWA website. I mean, THIS is what it's all about; collecting to make your own mark on your hobby. Not to go with the flow of what everyone else is doing.

1969 Splittin' Image

Hence, the reason the NCHWA website is being brought back to life. And, I'm back into collecting...but doing it MUCH more differently than before. Now, I just take a quick look at the pegs, and if I see something that catches my eye, I'll snag it. I'm not collecting all of the 2009 New Models (just like they were called back in '95) but, I definitely like the muscle cars that have been released, and I'll make a few customs from them. No, my priority now isn't Mainline; it's Redline. I've hit eBay hard and heavy, trying to snag some deals on some good Redlines, and I've done really well. I'm putting together a heckuva Redline collection. Give me ANY Redline over a stinkin' Treasure Hunt...ANY DAY.

That being said, will NOT be biased toward Redlines only. It's going to cover everything, with a little somethin' thrown in between. I think it'll be a good tool for collectors to reference, and contribute to. And, that leads me into the present "mission" for the NCHWA: It's going to be something for everyone, and it's going to be run by those who want to contribute to it. You'll find different columnists and opinions, features, news, galleries, price guides and more here. It's just going to take me some time to get the site back to it's old glory, when it went well over 1 million hits back in the day (I'd completely forgotten how much work a Hot Wheels website entails! Yikes!) But, hey...with different folks writing and contributing to the NCHWA, you won't have to listen to just me droning on and on, right? And, that's going to be the strength of this site...the differing points of view, and the talents of many bringing one website together for an entertaining view of the diecast hobby.

So, check in at "The Garage" next month. I'll definitely be putting out something more relevant to the hobby itself, versus all the mumbo-jumbo you've read here. As always, thanks for stopping by!

~Neal Giordano

Coming in June, 2009: "The VW Bus Casting...Tired or True?"