It’s been a good summer so far and we’ve been working hard on some requested features and updates.
New Hot Wheels Marketplace
We have added a new STDC Hot Wheels Marketplace to the site, powered by hobbyDB. Users can search for specific Hot Wheels items and also filter by seller or shipping by countries. All hobbyDB exclusives are available in the STDC Marketplace.
Although most Hot Wheels cars have the casting name on the baseplate, there are a few exceptions when there is only a copyright date. For someone who is just starting to collect Hot Wheels, it can be difficult to know what you have and when it was actually released. The hobbyDB website now has a Baseplate (by year) information page that lists castings that have specific copyright years on the base. Click on the baseplate year, which is located on the left side, and it will display the castings that have that year on the base. By clicking on the casting and then clicking the blue xx variants button, the page will display all the versions of the casting. It’s simple to use and a very useful tool.
Treasure Hunt Pricing
Another new feature on the hobbyDB webpage that was released is a new pricing guide. We’ve started adding sales history and values to thousands of Hot Wheels items. The sales history feature was tested on all the Treasure Hunt entries with great success. While viewing an item, the value table shows the high and low sales prices, median, and average across several time periods.
The Casting Links have been updated to show all the versions instead of an example of the casting. A small percentage of the 2,500 + links still may have an issue. These will be corrected during the week of May 14-21. If a new casting has more than one release, it will be added this week as well.
In 1970, Sports Illustrated ran a lengthy article regarding Hot Wheels vs Johnny Lightning … not just about toy cars, but the two companies’ involvement in sponsoring real motorsports teams. This article appeared in the Dec. 7, 1970 issue.
For years, my site, South Texas Diecast, was one of the leading sources for Hot Wheels information on the internet. It catalogued thousands of Hot Wheels variations dating back 40 years – and I did all the cataloguing myself. It was a labor of love and I enjoyed every minute – but it was also exhausting and I started to wonder what would happen to the site in the future.
Like thousands of other collectors who build catalogs of their favorite collectibles online, I’d spent 16 years on STDC and because it was all me, I dreaded the thought that in the future it might become a similar “ghost site”, falling into neglect before ultimately disappearing when the hosting ran out.
That was when hobbyDB stepped in and introduced me to the concept of crowd-sourced data. Of course, I was familiar with Wikipedia (who isn’t?) and it’s community-created information repository. But I hadn’t previously considered using the same model for STDC – which is just what hobbyDB was proposing.
The much wider mandate, documenting every collectible ever made excited me as I also collect records, my wife is a collector of Supernatural Collectibles and I have many more interests besides Hot Wheels. Wikipedia has nine pages on Hot Wheels, hobbyDB already has more than 31,500 pages on Hot Wheels related collectibles! I was also attracted by the fact that like Wikipedia hobbyDB has vowed in its Manifesto to be free forever.
Naturally, I had some questions and skepticism at first. After all, if STDC was a Wiki-type site, wouldn’t it be open to vandalism and manipulation? And even if incorrect data wasn’t maliciously-intended, how would we make sure that all the data entered by users was to my exacting standards?
Of course, these are all the same questions leveled at Wikipedia when it began. And as I researched, I realized that all of them had been answered. In 2005, a blind study was completed by the journal Nature that compared 42 science subjects and biographies between Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica (here a write up about that study on the BBC site and here much more background on that subject). They concluded that “Wikipedia comes close to Britannica in terms of the accuracy of its science entries”. And by that time Wikipedia was only four years old! From everything I could find Wikipedia not only got better over time but also more and more trusted.
A combination of a passionate userbase and the right amount of oversight ensures that data is exactly what it needs to be. Of course, that doesn’t happen overnight, as contributors need to find the project (whether that’s through their own efforts or marketing outreach), become familiar with the site and learn to work together. Given that hobbyDB is not a pure wiki either, time and effort has to be expended on developing proper tools too. hobbyDB is only 18 months old, so we still have a long way to go!
Just as Wikipedia introduced its famous “Talk” pages, at hobbyDB we take care of all of this in a similar way with a team forum. There, Curators (all our official data gatherers/editors get this title), Champions (Curators with enhanced on-site features and powers), the hobbyDB Advisory Board members and Admins can converge to discuss cataloging conventions, site improvements that would help their job and which bad data to weed out.
Many hands make light work, the saying goes, and that’s certainly proving to be true here. We’re far from being the only entertainment/research site in this space to follow the model either. IMdB and Bricklink are just two of the diverse examples of sites which have made this model work in spectacular ways.
Moving STDC to hobbyDB and starting to work in this way has certainly taken the pressure off of me and ensured the longevity of the data I spent so long putting together. I have seen others making the same move with the same feelings – worried before the transfer, relief afterwards.
In 2013, Mattel/Hot Wheels introduced a new series called Retro-Entertainment (and has recently been shorten to just Entertainment) with model vehicles that were represented in major Television and Motion Picture franchises. However, this isn’t the first time Hot Wheels has had a series called Entertainment.
One of the most popular series that Hot Wheels released was the 1998-1999 Long Haulers and the 2000-2003 Pavement Pounders . These are sets with a Truck/Trailer combo and a Hot Wheels vehicle. This series used popular castings including the ’57 Chevy, Scorchin’ Scooter, and the Dodge Viper. These are now set up on hobbyDB as separate items (truck/trailer combo and the vehicle) and as sets. This will allow you to add these to your collection whether you have them loose or in package. In 2004, the series name changed to Truckin’ Transporters which is the next section that will have this feature soon.
The Dairy Delivery, designed by Phil Riehlman, debuted in the 1998 First Editions series. It is loosely based on the Divco Dairy Truck which was produced from 1926 to 1986.
The first release was White with Light Blue, Dark Blue, and Pink decoration. It has “Got Milk” on the sides which was a famous advertising campaign at the time. This first release was manufactured in Malaysia and China and has been found on Red or Blue cards.
In 2008 the Dairy Delivery was voted as number 22 into the Top 40 Hot Wheels of all time, today it might rank even higher (there are now more than 150 variants!).
This casting is very popular with customizers due to the large surface areas to apply their graphics/designs.
So you’ve found an old Hot Wheels car at a garage sale. You tried to find out more information but nothing matches the year on the base. This is a very common issue with all Hot Wheels.
The year is not an indication of when it was manufactured. It is the year that the casting design was copyrighted.
In the example, the ’57 Chevy has 1976 on the base. The first Hot Wheels ’57 Chevy wasn’t released until 1977. Most ’57 Chevys, regardless of when they were made, have 1976 on the base. In most instances, the date is one year before it’s initial release. The example above wasn’t produced until 2009 and was part of a 10 pack release.
A ZAMAC car is basically an unpainted car. ZAMAC is the material that Hot Wheels are casted from.
The term ZAMAC car was first used in 1998. There were 25 carded versions available at the ’98 convention along with a baggy Zamac and a 4 ZAMAC car set. Kay-Bee Toys also had some 2 car sets (Same casting, one painted, one unpainted or ‘ZAMAC’). In 2004, Mattel released some of the First Editions in ZAMAC. These were a Toys ‘R Us Exclusive but were later found at Target stores as well. In 2013, Walmart issued 18 unpainted mainlines for their exclusive ZAMAC series. These have a ZAMAC logo on the cards and are numbered 001 to 018. Walmart continued these releases in 2014 and 2015 (18 cars each year). Walmart also issued a premium ZAMAC exclusive car for their Rewards program in 2013, 2014, and 2015.