The Hot Wheels Garage: 12 March 2011

The History of Your Hot Wheels
March 12, 2011.--I'm a pretty active Redline and Blackwall buyer on eBay. I scour long and hard to find the best-priced deals, bid competitively (and reasonably!), and win my fair share of auctions. That being said, this means that my collection has been pretty much built from all over the United States. I used to keep track of each state they came from, but I lost track a long time ago. But, that's the beauty of eBay; it gives us advantages and opens up avenues that we'd never truly been able to access before the Internet Age.

But, buying cars from all over usually has me wondering about one thing: the history of the car you've just received in the mail. Did you ever stop to think about who owned the car, or the adventures it'd seen throughout the years? Can you picture the first kid opening it, back in the day, and rolling it for the first time? Yeah. These are the things that I wonder about, anyway. Unfortunately, we'll never know the history of most of our cars that we buy on the secondary. And I had stopped giving it any thought. Until just recently...

I won a couple of blackwalls in an auction. One was an absolutely pristine Stutz Blackhawk, and the other was a Jaguar XJS. The Jag had a little bit of tampo rub, but the Stutz? Mint as mint gets. I was blown away, to be honest. The pics in the auction did it no justice, and I got these cars for an absolute STEAL, at a couple of bucks apiece. But, as I was throwing out the box, I saw a typed note from the seller, and things got interesting from there.

We'll call the seller "Bob", in the spirit of keeping anonymity. Bob thanked me for the purchase, and then went on to give a little background on the cars I had just bought from him. Bob was down on his luck, having been in a car accident with a resulting loss of his job. Like many of us today, he was stuggling mightily to meet his bills. That's when he decided to pare off some of his Hot Wheels collection. He needed the money, and badly. Bob went on to say that he had bought these two particlar cars as a kid back in the day, and immediately preserved them in a storage display after opening them up. He never played with them; he just enjoyed looking at them. The letter went on to say that he hoped I would enjoy the cars as much as he had enjoyed them over the years, and that he hated to let them go. That's when it hit me...

I put the letter down, and immediately felt a twinge of guilt. I mean, yeah...I went through the auction and made a perfectly legitimate purchase, but at the expense of someone down on his luck. I started to wish that I could have bid the auction higher, just to help the guy out. I can't even imagine getting to the point in my adult life that I'd have to part with objects from my past that I hold close to my heart, but you do what you have to do to survive...especially in today's economy. Sure, stuff is material, and can be replaced. But, to still have toys from your childhood, well...I'm not sure those are so easily replaced. You only have ONE childhood, after all. It's always nice to have some physical connection to "back in the day." It's part of your life, and this guy was being forced through no fault of his own to practically give away that cherished part of his life for only a few bucks.

Anyway, this line of thinking segued into my next: My own collection as a whole. What's going to happen to it after my time here is done? Well, I do know that my youngest son is going to inherit it all, under the stipulation that I "highly recommend" that he not sell it. But, that'll be his choice, when the time comes. If he sells it, I'll be around somewhere to haunt him, and make his life miserable! *kidding* But, think about it for a second: Your collection is a small part of your legacy, to be quite honest. It's something that's going to be around, long, long after we are. Something your own kids could possibly look at and have fond memories that it was once yours, feeling some sense of connectivity or comfort that a part of you still remains in their lives. Now, whether it's parceled out, or kept as a whole is irrelevant, really. But, the fact remains that your cars might be around for HUNDREDS of years after you're gone. Think about that, for a minute. What does the future hold for them? Who knows. But, it's a strange thought process, once you get deeply into it. Let's face it; the cars are made of metal. We're not. We go, they live on. Your present will someday become your collection's past. I mean, I'm not trying to sound like Freud here, but it's almost mind-boggling to think about your stuff becoming someone else's, decades from now.

I guess I'm just coming to a point in my life where I realize that I'm not as indestructable as I once thought I was, and we just don't know what tomorrow brings. That uncertainty can lead you to think some really odd thoughts, as I've just shared with you here. But, instead of dwelling much on the future, I plan to enjoy the hobby NOW, and get as much out of it as I can. When I'm old and drooling on myself in the sunroom at the nursing home, I'll always be able to look back fondly on my collecting days, and take satisfaction that I was able to pass on that enjoyment to my youngest son. (Who, by the way, had better visit me in that damn home, or I'll take it all back and demand to be buried with it. You think I'm kidding? ;)

Until next month...

~Neal Giordano Founder/Editor

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