History of The NCHWA, 1998-Present

A brief history of the North Carolina Hot Wheels Association: Back in 1996, a humble website called Giordano's Hot Wheels was started. It was a very lame and meager collaboration of pics, articles...whatever was on my mind, and it was hosted for free at Geocities. My webmaster skills were pretty feeble, but it was still fun. Then, it caught interest...enough to where 7 of us met in a K-Mart parking lot on a frigid February afternoon in 1998. It was the first-ever NCHWA Tailgater, and it gave me the thought to change the name of the site to the "North Carolina Hot Wheels Association", as we all felt the club would grow as such. The website itself soon expanded into a HUGE database of pictures, price guides, articles, forums and several other features that have long since slipped my mind. When the site went over a million hits, I was astounded. Below is one of the original banners that I designed for the site in 1998:

Long story short...those 7 collectors soon turned into a hundred or more, from all over the United States. We started the dot com URL in 2000, and membership swelled. We introduced downhill racing, custom contests and a lot of other interesting events. It was about Hot Wheels....but, also about the fellowship of collectors. Many friendships were forged back in those days. Soon, a meager wooden track that we built became an electronic wonder when some members pitched in to build what I believed to be the best track in the country, and the show crowds got bigger. After several successful shows, the NCHWA hit its peak on August 2, 2003, when it hosted Summerfest 2003. We enjoyed the company of Hot Wheels designers that we flew in from California, limited editions directly from Mattel, club cars, races, contests, hotel trading, dinner with the designers...you name it. It was the biggest show on the East Coast at that time by a non-Mattel-sanctioned Hot Wheels club. We rented out the ENTIRE WING of a mall in Morrisville, North Carolina just to host the event!

So, what happened? Well, when anything grows, it has differing opinions on the direction it should take. I was admittedly overwhelmed by events in my life at that time, and made some poor decisions for the club. It was directly after that show in 2003 that I decided the NCHWA had run its course, and made the very difficult decision to walk away. It was a helluva 5-year run, and I enjoyed every second of it. How something so big could be borne from a tiny website on Geocities was baffling to me...yet, I felt an extreme sense of accomplishment when it was all said and done. I sat back and just watched the big crowds at that last show, and I knew that while I'd made many mistakes...that this had been a GOOD thing. And, I was ok to walk away at that point. It was then that I made the gut-wrenching decision to shut down the NCHWA. The nchwa.com URL went under control to someone else (who shall go un-named, since the sole purpose of retaining it was purely due to wanting the traffic to re-direct to a new site), and it eventually became some kind of insurance portal, or a "placeholder" website of sorts. I'd type it in over the years, just to see it...and decided a long time ago that if it ever became available, I'd snatch it up. And, I did. On March 27, 2009...almost exactly 11 years since the first tailgater, the NCHWA was brought up from the ashes. The re-designed NCHWA logo is of a phoenix, indicating a rebirth of sorts. Countless hundreds of hours were invested in re-establishing the database, and it involved many long hours of typing through the night to get it done. It was worth it!

Where does it go from here? The NCHWA will evolve as it sees fit. Mainly, wherever those who contribute to it want it to go. We may not know what that entails until down the road. But, for now, the goal is to enjoy the hobby by sharing price guides, photo galleries, opinions, articles, collections...you name it. A website devoted to the hobby...just like it was back in 1998.

I thought about changing the name, and dropping the "North Carolina" and "Association," but...I decided against it, since I wanted to retain the tradition established all those years ago. I'm too attached to it! The site may be based in North Carolina, but it's now utilized by collectors all over the globe. That's such an honor, in my eyes! Also, if you type "Hot Wheels Price Guide" into Google, the NCHWA is the FIRST website to appear, out of over 14 million returned results! It's truly been a a fantastic comeback, and it's been a blast being part of the Hot Wheels community again.

I feel like I've got an old friend back. Enjoy the changes to come...and thanks for visiting.

~Neal Giordano, 27 March 2009

UPDATE: As of 2014, NCHWA.com now has a complete Lesney Matchbox price guide from 1953-1982, as well as a Corgi Price Guide, which is well underway. This makes the NCHWA one of the most diverse diecast price guide websites on the Internet today! (And, one of the oldest!) And, in 2015, I became an author by releasing the "Hot Wheels Treasure Hunt Price Guide," and the "Hot Wheels VW Bus Price Guide," which have both enjoyed unexpected success with sales world-wide. You can grab a copy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or many other online retailers. Thanks for supporting the website, and thanks for being one of the most amazing group of hobbyists a guy could want to be a part of! You guys are the BEST!