13 Things To Do In Las Vegas Before You Diecast

If you’re planning to come to Las Vegas for the Diecast Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, you’re probably going to stay an extra day or two, right? The event is November 2, a Thursday night, so you might as well stick around for the weekend. Hey, why not come early and make it a long week?

So what’s there to do for a diecast collector on those other days? (Things that don’t involve gambling or burlesque shows, that is…) Turns out there are plenty of activities and attractions for anyone interested in car culture, museums, and good old family fun.

 

linq auto collections
Just a few of the cars at the LINQ.

For many years, there’s been a huge automotive museum at the Imperial Palace. We’re happy to report that after remodeling and rebranding, it’s still there in what is now called The LINQ Hotel. Situated in the upper levels of the parking garage, the museum contains race cars, rare classics, and other vehicles of historical significance. The Auto Collections at the LINQ is at 3535 S Las Vegas Blvd., in the heart of the Strip.

 

liberace museum
Liberace’s tastefully modified rides.

Ever seen that classic photo of young Elvis Presley in the gold jacket? Did you know he borrowed it from Liberace? There are two museums of Liberace’s memorablia in Las Vegas. The Liberace Garage (115 Dean Martin Drive, Suite 905, Las Vegas) focuses on his cars and automobilia, as well as other larger items, such as his pianos, and is located not too far from the action in Vegas.

Or for a more complete expierience, you can tour The Liberace Museum Collection, located in Michael Jackson’s former home. Items include outfits, jewelry and other shiny things. That location is only available for small private tours, so book well in advance. The full tour package includes shuttle service from the Strip, a stop at the Garage, and a champagne lunch.

 

Bonnie and Clyde
Bonnie and Clyde Movie car at the Hollywood Cars Museum.

As long as you’re visiting the Liberace Garage, there are other automotive attractions close by. The Hollywood Cars Museum features James Bond’s Lotus submarine, Herbie the Love Bug, and various Fast and Furious cars. It’s at 5115 Dean Martin Drive #905, just around the corner from Liberace’s place.

Shelby CGT40
Instead of a T-shirt, order a Continuation GT40 at the Shelby Heritage Center.

You could also visit the Shelby Heritage Center, 6405 Ensworth St., a museum of some vintage and a lot of modern Shelby tuned cars. While you’re shopping there, you can order a “Continuation” series GT40, because of course you want one.

neon museum2
Elegant junk at the Neon Museum.

For a different kind of collection, visit the Neon Museum. Originally, it was just a junkyard for the signs that were torn down to make way for bigger, glitzier ones. Luckily, the proprietors realized they had some amazing history on their hands and turned it into a museum. The outdoor space, known as the Boneyard, shows off strategically piled, unrestored signage, while the indoor visitor center has additional restored examples. Nighttime tours are available as well. It’s not too far from the main Strip at 770 N Las Vegas Blvd.

Mob Museum
The Mob Museum is always a hit.

It’s no secret that Las Vegas was built in part on some “extra-legal” activities, so the Mob Museum celebrates the rich, unsavory history of organized crime in America. If you’re into that sort of thing. No one’s asking. But it’s located at 300 Stewart Ave., just in case.

avengers station
The evolution of Iron Man.

You like comic books and action figures too, don’t you? The Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. is an interactive exhibit of costumes, props, sets, and other goodies from the world of Marvel Comics. This should keep the kids occupied for a few hours. And yourself too, right? It’s inside the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, at 3300 S Las Vegas Blvd., on the Strip.

(Exhibit items and schedules at museums may change, so make sure you check ahead for all of these attractions.)

 

Speedvegas
Fast Times at SpeedVegas.

If you want to do more than just look at cars, you can take a Ferrari, Lamborghini or other exotic car for spin on the race track at SpeedVegas. It’s not too far out of town, and they’re open seven days a week. Some age restrictions apply, so check for details if you have kids with you.

Maybe you’d rather watch fast cars in action instead of getting behind the wheel. The NHRA Toyota Nationals will be taking place at the Las Vegas Speedway Oct 26-29. That’s the weekend before the Diecast Hall of Fame event, Thursday through Sunday! Sunday! SUNDAY!

 

pbr bull riding
Yeeeeeeeeeeeeha! It’s rodeo time!

Speaking of spectator sports, the new Vegas Golden Kinghts hockey team will unfortunately be on a road trip around the time of the event. Instead, their arena will be the home of the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour of the PBR – That’s Professional Bull Riders – October 28-30 at the T-Mobile Arena. There might even be some mutton bustin’!

Finally, since you’re in town for diecast related purposes, you could always shop for some in person… The Toy Shack (450 Fremont St.) is located on Fremont, aka the original strip, and there’s also Rogue Toys & Collectibles, located just nort of the end of the modern strip at 616 S Las Vegas Blvd. Both shops offer a mix of new and vintage collectibles. You can also shop at Brad’s Toys and Collectibles in Henderson, just little further from the Strip, at 1433 N. Boulder Hwy.

That’s a lot to squeeze in, so don’t forget to leave time for the Diecast Hall of Fame Ceremony. Tickets are on sale now, and limited seating is still available for the event. And remember, all net proceeds will go to There With Care, a charity that helps families who have children with critical illnesses.

Diecast Hall of Fame Presents the Limited Edition Econoline Variant

As the Diecast Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony gets closer, we want to share another great detail about the event.

diecast hall of fame m2 econoline vanA few weeks ago, we presented images of the promotional model for the The Diecast Hall of Fame Ceremony, a blue 1963 Ford Econoline Van decked out in honor of S&S Speed Shop. Today, we’re excited to show you the limited version of the van!

Instead of the blue metallic scheme announced previously, the limited variant will feature a flat black finish. As before, the graphics for 1/64 M2 “Auto-Thentics” van were designed by our Class of 2011 Inductee Sean Taylor. There will only be 250 of this alternate variant made, and it will be for sale exclusively at the event.

Diecast Hall of Fame 2017 Chase car
The flat black chase version will be available for purchase in limited quantities during the event.

One blue van will be included as part of the “goody bag” handed out to all registered attendees. Additional blue and black vans will also be on sale at the ceremony in Las Vegas.

The casting combines parts from different versions of the M2 Econoline. It features the lowered chassis comes from the “Van Go” version, but the body uses the “stock” Econoline casting that has details that are normally smoothed out for the Van Go. The interior is the basic cargo version with front seats.

S&S Speed Shop has been in business since 1946. They have been at the same location in Rochester, New York, since the late ’50s. The company was started by John Stampfl and passed onto his sons, Richard, John, and Robert. In its early days George Hurst would personally visit to sell his shifters, and Joe Hrudka, aka Mr. Gasket, also dropped by to sell parts in his ’59 Thunderbird.

diecast hall of fame m2 econoline van
The metallic blue version will be given to all ticketholders at the event.

From 9 pm to midnight, ticketholders at the event will have first rights to purchase additional copies of the blue version for $25.00 (12 piece maximum) and the black version for $50 (6 piece maximum). When the event opens to the public after the induction ceremony, the same purchasing structure will be maintained from 11 pm till midnight. If there are any left after the event, they will be available on the Diecast Hall of Fame website, but at a higher price ($35 and $60, respectively) plus shipping.

The Diecast Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place at the Mandaly Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, November 2, 2017. Tickets are on sale now, and limited seating is still available for the event. And remember, all net proceeds will be going to There With Care, a charity that helps families who have children with critical illness.

2017 Diecast Hall of Fame Voting Now Closed

We want to say HUGE thank you to everyone who cast their votes for their favorite Diecast Hall of Fame inductees! We had an extremely competitive 2017 class, so your input could not have been more essential to this process.

So you may be wondering, what happens next? We’re compiling the public votes and check in with the Selection Committee as Inductees to the Hall will be selected based on a combination of Selection Committee and public votes.  Announcements of who won which category will be done at the Annual Ceremony in November. If you haven’t yet, check out the details of the upcoming event! It’s THE model car event of the year! Get your tickets today!

 

Here are the Nominees for The Diecast Hall of Fame Collector of the Year

As the Diecast Hall of Fame induction ceremony approaches, excitement is building among the diecast industry and collectors. The nominees to be inducted as our Collector of the Year do more than just acquire and display their diecast. Each of them gives back to the collecting communtiy as a mentor, expert, or forum leader online or in person..

And you can help decide who will be inducted… After you read about these talented individuals, head over to the Diecast Hall of Fame ballot and vote!

Here are the nominees in the Collector category, listed in alphabetical order.


Paul DavidPaul David

Paul David has one of (if not the biggest) diecast Ferrari collections in the world, with over 300 prototype models. His extensive knowledge and passion for Ferrari collecting has led him to serve a kind of Ferrari guru to fellow collectors.


JAmes ElliottJames Elliott

James Elliot has been collecting and displaying model cars since the early ’70s. He still has quite a few of his favorite diecast cars from his childhood.

 

 


Gabriel GomezGabriel Gomez

Gabriel Gomez is great collector with some very rare Redlines and other Hot Wheels. He loves to race them, too… no matter if the casting may be worth thousands of dollars, it will still go down the orange track, and he keeps his entire family involved in the hobby.  Gomez has always gone above and beyond to help others with answers when asked about particular diecast and colors and readability into diecast. He also has an extensive collection of Cispa castings from Mexico.

gomez cispas collection


Woody ItsonWoody Itson

Itson has more than 30 years experience when it comes to collecting original  Redline Hot Wheels. His Facebook page the Redline Trading Company is a go-to place for collectors to research, learn, share, and just chat about early Hot Wheels as well as Johnny Lightning models. He also has an extensive history as a BMX rider.

woody itson bmx


Timothy JackTimothy Jack

Tim has exemplified the meaning of collecting Diecast cars. His specialty is collecting all types of diecast Batmobiles which includes models from Corgi, Ertl, Kenner and Mattel. He has well over 200 different types of Batmobiles and variants, from the Barris TV car to the Tumbler, including loose and carded pieces. His instagram page has over 1,000 followers.


The 2017 Diecast Hall Of Fame induction ceremony will be held November 2, at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. For more details of to buy tickets, visit the DHOF event page.

Meet the Nominees for Entrepreneur of the Year!

As the Diecast Hall of Fame induction ceremony approaches, excitement is building within the diecast industry and collectors. The nominees to be inducted as our Entrepreneur of the Year all saw opportunities in the diecast collecting world and created their own businesses to fill those needs.

And you can help decide who will be inducted… After you read about these talented individuals, head over to the Diecast Hall of Fame ballot and vote!

Here are the nominees in the Entrepreneur category, listed in alphabetical order.


Lyndon Davies

Lyndon DaviesLyndon is the founder of the highly successful Oxford Diecast brand, a company famous for its variety of subject matter and scale. Lyndon started as an apprentice for Mettoy and worked with Marcel van Cleemput on Corgi Toys.  He joined Oxford Diecast Brand from the beginning and later became its owner.

Oxford Models adheres to scales that match the most popular model railroad sizes. As far as that being a marketing strategy, Lyndon says. “Oxford produces affordable diecast products – that is essentially it. I point you back to the roots of our company, Mettoy… we make what the customer is ordering.” The company has expanded in train models via Oxford Rail, as well as aircraft models.

The company takes pride in how quickly they can get a model into production. “We have a good team of people, but I don’t believe in drawn out processes. The engineering advances have meant that the time getting a product to market has decreased,” he said. “It took a year back in the 1970s. Today, give me a subject and the motivation and I could get it to market in 6 months.”

Oxford Diecast Mini


Paul Lang

Paul LangPaul is the founder of Minichamps, which was originally founded as Paul’s Model Art GmbH in 1990 in Aachen, Germany (the company officially changed its name to Minichamps in 1996).

His grandparents had owned a retail shop in Germany since 1921. “After World War II, the shop became more and more a toyshop,” he said. “I grew up in this toy shop and in the 60s, the assortment of model trains, hobby kits and Diecast model cars became bigger and bigger.”

In the early 70s, Paul started building models under the name “SD Models” exclusively for the Danhausen World Model Car Catalogue, a company he co-owned with his brother Hans-Peter Lang. His early models were 1/43 scale, and production eventually was outsourced to Western Models. He would also expand into other scales larger and smaller.

By the 1980s, European collectors were willing to pay premium prices for exquisitely detailed, limited edition finished models, so in 1990, he founded a new company under the name Paul’s Model Art, which led to Minichamps as you know it today. Because of their incredible attention to detail, Minichamps has produced official promotional replicas for the likes of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche.

minichamps porsche 904


Mark and Jennifer Millhollin

MArn and Jennifer MillhollinThe Millhollins are the owners and operators of Collectors Events Unlimited. If that company name doesn’t ring a bell, they’re they organizers of the Hot Wheels Annual Collectors Conventions and the Hot Wheels Annual Collectors Nationals.

2017 Hot Wheels Collectors Convention carTheir interest in Hot Wheels began in 1996. “We went to a toy show, and Mark purchased a 1995 Treasure Hunt Passion for $20,” said Jennifer. “I thought he had lost his mind, but then I absolutely fell in love with it. It blossomed from there.” They started collecting just the cars they liked, then went for complete series, and then they became hooked.

Jennifer eventually got a job at Full Grid, in Torrance, CA, and the two of them started working the conventions on the company’s behalf. From there, they started volunteering at conventions, and eventually became business partners for the Hot Wheels Conventions and Nationals (taking over from Mike Strauss, an Inductee from our 2014 Class).

They love real cars too… Mark likes the 1970 LS6 Chevelle, while Jennifer prefers the 1951 Mercury. The long time enthusiasts are also owners of the L.A. based Far Out Collectibles, a specialty diecast retailer and the Hot Rod Performance shop.


Steve Reddell

Steve ReddellSteve has been a diecast customizer since the mid ’90s and has managed to turn his passion into a thriving career. He has created numerous custom designs for Hot Wheels Annual Conventions and other national events as well as promotional pieces for corporate awards.

He played with toy cars as a kid, of course. “In 1994, I was in the auto body industry and as a hobby started customizing 1/64 scale cars and pedal cars,” he said. “People saw what I was doing, and suddenly there was a demand for projects like corporate advertising premiums, and specialty customs for automobile clubs around the country.”

His inspirations include customizers such as Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Tom Daniel, and Chip Foose, all of whom have had tremendous influence on full size and small scale custom culture.

Steve has worked in the automotive industry his entire career. He is the owner of Auto Body Specialist & ABS Metal Fabrication specializing in vintage Porsche and race car restorations. “I also have started a new hobby in public art, creating sculptures with recycled metal, including automotive or motorcycle materials.”

Hot Wheels 1967 Camaro


Jimmy Yee

JiJimmy Yeemmy is the founder of AUTOart, a global leader in model car manufacturing. In addition to designing well-detailed models of interesting vehicles, the company’s large manufacturing plants, competitive labor rates, and skills of their laborers have contributed to AUTOart becoming the world’s largest producers of 1/18 scale diecast models.

In addition to diecast model cars, AUTOart makes slot racing cars, and diecast motorcycles. It was established in 1998 and has since produced vehicles under additional brands including Gateway, Gate and UT Models. AEROart is another division producing aircraft models.

As for his favorite model, Jimmy says, “My favorite model is always my next model.”

AUTOart BMW_328_Streamline_Coupe


The 2017 Diecast Hall Of Fame induction ceremony will be held November 2, at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. For more details of to buy tickets, visit the DHOF event page. 

Here are the Nominees for the Diecast Historian Honor

As the Diecast Hall of Fame induction ceremony approaches, excitement is building among the diecast industry and collectors. The nominees to be inducted as our Historian of the Year have spent countless hours over many years researching, documenting, and publishing guides for diecast enthusiasts of all stripes..

And you can help decide who will be inducted… After you read about these talented individuals, head over to the Diecast Hall of Fame ballot and vote!

Here are the nominees in the Diecast Historian category, listed in alphabetical order.


Bill Bennett

Bill BennettBill has written a large body of articles for DiecastX Magazine (one of the Hall’s Community Supporter) over 8 years, generally contributing 1-4 articles per edition. He also wrote for Diecast DownUnder and Diecast Zone (Scale 18). Bill wrote box art histories for most of Precision Miniatures Altered Series and all of their 1933 Willys Gasser Series.

His focus is primarily 1:18 scale models, but he also collect 1:12th cars, 1:6th, engines, 1:43rd and 1:64th models. He started collecting Dinky Toys when he was 9 years old and still has his complete collection of Dinkys. He then moved on to Bburago and eventually moved into the high-end of 1:18 scale: AutoArt, CMC, Exoto, GMP, Kyosho, Minichamps and others.

Besides writing, Bill has also been a consultant with CMC, Kyosho, Precision Miniatures and Replicarz on project selection and histories. He estimates his diecast collection to include between 500 and 550 vehicles.

bob bennett diecastx


Jack Clark

Jack ClarkJack is a Hot Wheels expert, historian and author of several comprehensive collectors’ guides dedicated to the early days of the hobby. Over a 20 year span, he tapped into his expertise of 1966 through 1977 Mattel products with the “Ultimate Redline Guide” and the “Elite Redline Guideline” series.

He collects the Redlines from that era, as you would imagine, as well as the other offshoots from Mattel. “ I also collect all the other related cool vehicles that Mattel produced during the Redline Era,” he sais, “such as Chopcycles, EarthShakers, Sizzlers, Farbs, Revvers, Hot birds, Hot line, Hot Shots, Gran Toros, Small Shots, Zowees and RRRumblers.”

jack clark hot wheels bookIn fact, he’s a fan of toys from the ’60s and ’70s in general. “the very first die-cast cars that I collected were Corgi. I particularly liked the character cars from the TV shows with my favorite being the Gren Hornet Black Beauty.”

His favorite Hot Wheels car of all time is the Olds 442 in purple, which, to no surprise, he would like to own as a real car too.

Clark also lent his knowledge of Redline-era diecasts to websites such as Chickluu’s Fabulous Redlines (another one of the Hall’s Community Supporters) and the now-defunct website redlinesonline.com. “I love that we’re all always learning in this crazy but fun hobby, which enables us to share the knowledge we all have with each other.”


Robert Fellows

bob fellowsFellows uses the most modeern methods to docment diecast history, employing varoius social media platforms to research and share his findings. He specializes in Auto Word and Johnny Lightning, creating widely followed Facebook pages for both brands. His currently working  Playing Mantis era designers to document Johnny Lightning pre-production ad prototypes onlline.

His earliest favorite diecst car was the Hot Wheels Formula 5000 from 1976. “It’s long gone in someone’s sand box but I did buy a mint example several years ago. Super cool casting.”

He started collecting Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars in the early ’90s, and was really struck by the new Johnny Lightning brand a couple years later. “In 1998 I slowed down on the 1/64 cars,” he said. “I started collecting 1/24 and 1/18 NASCAR die cast. I had a lot of fun in the NASCAR hobby, but I was always drawn to the smaller scale and real cars. So back I went.” If space and budget weren’t concerns, he would own a real 1969 Camaro RS/SS.

In addition to social media, he started AWCollector.net, a site documenting all 1/64 Auto World Die cast including their chase programs. He works with Wyatt Davis who owns JLCollector.net.  Additional sites including  JLProto.com (the aforementioned JL prototype project) and RCMCollector.net (coming soon) for documenting Racing Champions Mint issued by Round 2.

Bob Fellows cars


Theodore (Ted) Gray

Ted GrayTed is the owner, developer and custodian of the Online Redline Guide. For over 10 years, the OLRG has provided detailed information on the Hot Wheels product line from the redline era, from 1968 to ’77. In addition to the cars themselves. his site features  associated track sets, promotions and merchandising materials.

Despite his passion for the early Hot Wheels, he has an unusual theme for his personal collection. He focuses on the Hot Wheels castings which feature turbine engines such as the Superfine Turbine.

The OLRG is the only comprehensive on-line resource for information on the rare Mexican redlines made under license by CIPSA. Needless to say, Ted also has assembled the most complete collection of CIPSA diecast cars to date.

online redline guide page


Paolo Rampini

Paolo RampiniPaolo has been writing and publishing books about cars and vintage toys since 1965. Clear photography and accurate information are hallmarks of his work, even if you have to translate them from Italian to understand every word.

By 2007, he had published 17 books, between including the Golden Book of Model Cars as well as volumes on Bburago and Brumm. In 2003 his book on slot cars book became the standard by which all such books are measured. That most recent book, “Model Cars in the World 1900-1985,” features photos of approximately 16,000 model cars, considered a record for a single volume.

Since then, Paolo has only become more prolific. His most recent guides, from 2016, include Mercury (the Italian diecast company, not the division of Ford Motor Company), multiple volumes on Politoys/Polistil, and Mebetoys, broken into books on different scales.

In addition to collecting and writing about model cars, Paolo has tried his hand at marketing his own brand of resin model kits, but publising has remained his primary passion. A lifelong collector, he now has a collection of approximately 12,000 pieces, made up of mostly diecast cars.

Paolo Rampini book


The 2017 Diecast Hall Of Fame induction ceremony will be held November 2, at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. For more details of to buy tickets, visit the DHOF event page. 

Meet the Nominees for the Diecast Hall of Fame’s Automotive Legend

As the Diecast Hall of Fame induction ceremony approaches, excitement is building among the diecast industry and collectors. The nominees to be inducted as our Automotive Legend are a diverse group whose enjoyment and contributions to car culture, small-scale as well as full-sized, have made diecast collecting more rewarding and fun.

And you can help decide who will be inducted… After you read about these talented individuals, head over to the Diecast Hall of Fame ballot and vote!

Here are the nominees in the Automotive Legend category, listed in alphabetical order.


Tim Allen

Allen continues the tradition of comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno as connoisseurs of fine automobiles. Not just collecting them, but driving them, working on them, and modifying them.

tim allen carsBest known for his starring role in “Home Improvement” and as Buzz Lightyear in the “Toy Story Movies”, he has built an extensive collection of American classic cars. Inspired by the toys he played with as a child, his collection includes a 1933 Ford Roadster, 1986 Ford RS200, 1962 Chevrolet 409 Bel Air, and a 2004 Porsche Carrera GT, of which only 1,270 were built with only 604 sold in the U.S.

In the Pixar movie “Cars,” he voiced a cameo of a car-based version of Buzz Lightyear. It was eventually made into a toy, so he has provided the voice for at least one diecast vehicle in his career.


Ray Evernham

Evernham’s career in racing got off to a rocky start when he wrecked his modified racer hard enough to permanently impair his depth perception enough to end his driving days. As a chassis setup specialist with IROC, he gained enough attention to get the call to NASCAR. His days there were almost short-lived as well, with his tenure on Alan Kulwicki’s crew ending over personality conflicts.

Ray EvernhamBut there was no denying his talent and passion, however, and he was quickly hired to foster the career of a young driver named Jeff Gordon. He worked his way up to the top circuit, winning three championships with Gordon.  He revolutionized the pit stop by introducing athletic training to pit members and having them act as specialists to do separate jobs instead of full-time mechanics.

Along the way, he has also worked as the auto racing crew chief for Bill Davis Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, and was the owner of Evernham Motorsports from 2001-2010. In 1999, Evernham won the NASCAR Winston Cup Illustrated “Person of the Year”. Prior to his career as a crew chief, Evernham was a modified racer until he crashed in 1993, damaging his brain stem and impairing his depth perception.

Evernham currently works as a NASCAR analyst for ESPN and a consultant for Hendrick Motorsports.


Ralph Gilles

As CEO for all of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Design, Gilles has been instrumental in creating numerous vehicles that have led to classic die-cast vehicles.

Ralph GillesHe started drawing concepts cars when he was eight years old. When was fourteen, his aunt sent one of his sketches to then Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca. It caught the attention of K. Neil Walling, Chrysler’s design chief at the time, who suggesting Gilles attend design school. He did, and not long after, he was working for Chrysler.

To call him a “designer” doesn’t encompass all of his contributions, however. As head of the SRT division at Chrysler, his cars had to be as much about performance as they were looking stylish, brutish and fast. He is partly responsible for the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Generation Viper, the retro-muscle Dodge Charger, Challenger, and Magnum, the Chrysler 300, and many present day Ram and Jeep models.

He is also a top-notch race driver, pure car guy and the ultimate ambassador for both FCA and the car culture in general.


Rick Hendrick

Hendrick is the owner of the NASCAR team Hendrick Motorsports, one of the most consistently competitive entities the sport has ever seen. Hendrick Motorsports has won 12 NASCAR Cups and he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2017.
Before his NASCAR days, he even founded a drag boat racing team in the late 1970s, winning three consecutive championships and setting a world record of 222.2 mph.  He is also the founder of the Hendrick Automotive Group and Hendrick Marrow Program.

Rick hendrick jeff gordonIn total, Hendrick’s foray into automotive racing has won 12 Spring Cup Series titles, one Xfinity Series title, and three Camping World Truck Series titles. As the owner of cars driven by Jeff Gordon (above left), Dale Earnhardt (Senior and Junior), Jimmy Johnson and others, it’s safe to say he’s helped sell a lot of diecast race cars over the years.


Danica Patrick

Patrick is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing. She won the 2008 Indy Japan 300, the first and only woman so far to win an IndyCar race. The next year, she placed third in the Indianapolis 500, the highest finish by a female driver.

Danica PatrickIn 2010, she decided to try her hand at NASCAR, racing part time in the Nationwide Series. She moved up permanently to the top level (now the Monster Energy Cup Series).

In 2013, Patrick became the first female NASCAR driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole after running the fastest qualifying lap since 1990. Her eight place finish in the 2013 Daytona 500 is the highest finish for any woman.

In addition to the many diecast replicas of her cars that have been sold, also designed two Hot Wheel models including the Danicar, a futuristic six-wheeled race car.

Danica Patrick Hot Wheels


The 2017 Diecast Hall Of Fame induction ceremony will be held November 2, at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. For more details of to buy tickets, visit the DHOF event page. 

Here’s A Sneak Peek at the First Diecast Hall of Fame Promo Car

diecast hall of fame promo vehicleThe Diecast Hall of Fame is excited to share some details about the frist of two promotional models for the upcoming induction ceremonies. Andy Goodman, one of the most prominent diecast collectors in the world, has provided a sneak peek at Sean Taylor’s exclusive graphics for a 1963 Ford Econoline van for the event. The 1/64 M2 “Autothentics” van will come in two variants, both honoring S&S Speed Shop of Richmond Hills, in Queens, New York.

S&S Speed Shop Pickup
S&S Speed Shop has a tradition of cool delivery trucks.

S&S has been in business since 1946, and at the same location since the late ’50s. The company was started by John Stampfl and passed onto his sons, Richard, John, and Robert. In its early days George Hurst would personally drop by to sell his shifters, and Joe Hrudka, aka Mr. Gasket, also popped in to sell parts in his ’59 Thunderbird. Robert’s sons are being groomed to take over for another generation, so the company will remain independent and family owned for the forseeable future.

The casting from M2 is a unique combination of parts from different versions of their Econoline. The lowered chassis comes from the “Van Go” version of the van, but the body uses the “stock” Econoline version with door lines, hinges and other details that are normally smoothed out for the Van Go. The interior is the basic cargo version with front seats and nothing but storage behind them.

Diecast Hall of Fame 2017 Promotional car
The blue version will be given to all ticketholders at the event.

There will be 750 of this blue version made, which will have a “heavy metallic” finish to the paint. These will be part of the “goody bag” handed out to all registered attendees. There will also be an even more limited edition“chase” version, which will be revealed later.

At the event between 9PM and midnight, ticketholders will have first rights to purchase additional pieces of the blue version for $25.00 each, with a maximum of 12 per person. When the event opens to the public after the Induction ceremony, the same purchasing structure will be maintained from 11pm till midnight. If there are any left after the show, they will be available on the Diecast Hall of Fame website, but at a higher price ($35) plus shipping.

Tickets are on sale now to attend the Diecast Hall of Fame induction event at the Mandaly Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, November 2, 2017. And remember, all net proceeds will be going to There With Care, a charity that helps families who have children with critical illness. And voting is still open for nominees to be inducted.

Meet the Nominees for Diecast Customizer of the Year

As the Diecast Hall of Fame induction ceremony approaches, excitement is building among the diecast industry and collectors. We marvel at the models they created, but often have no idea of who the people are behind those wonderful creations. Over the next few weeks, we’re giving you a chance to meet some of the nominees.

And you can help decide who will be inducted… After you read about these talented individuals, head over to the Diecast Hall of Fame ballot and vote!

In this installment, meet the nominees in the Diecast Customizer category, listed in alphabetical order.


Joe “LoRide57” Alvarado

Joe Alvorado Diecast Hall of FameJoe is a self-taught artist who started out with his airbrush skill and has since branched into heavily modifying diecast vehicles. Over the past year, he did about 50 original creations as well as 100 custom decorated cars to distribute at the Hot Wheels Nationals.

If that sounds like a lot, it isn’t according to him. “2017 has been a little slow for me,” he says. “I have a few new ones on the bench I need to finish soon. But work and family come first and then customs have to wait.”

The “57” in his name comes from his favorite car, the  1957 Chevy Bel Air tw0-door post model. “Take the Original Project X car, add some HOK Tru Blue and flames… I fell in love with that ’57 trim when I was a kid, and my mom would take me to the State Fair grounds for the car shows. It was cheep and she was a single mom of two boys. I’ll never forget it.”

Joe began dabbling in custom models about 10 years ago and is willing to experiment with anything that inspires him.  “Never stop learning and try anything,” he said. About 90 percent of his work is Hot Wheels. He has also been working with old Matchbox and new Jada models. “I’ve made the leap into 1/24 and 1/18 in the last few years. But my passion if the 1/64 Hot Wheels.”

joe alvorado custom


Steve Hamm

Steve HammSteve diecast best known custom creations are a bit different from how we see most diecast customs. He creates exact scale models to match his customers’ vehicles, as well as creating new and unique customs. Hamm uses castings and will add details such as hood scoops or spoilers, or chopping them to add or take away items, such as fenders or bumpers.

As for diecast brand or scale, Steve will work with anything. “I use all scales, but it depends on the vehicle I may need to replicate. Not all vehicles are made in each scale.” His reputation got a boost in 2013 when after winning several amateur customizing contests, he had to move up the the professional classes.

Hamm and his wife Christine are also among the founders of the Rhode Island Hot Wheels Club. The pair have worked as staff members at the Summer Smash conventions. He estimates he created about 100 models last year as SRH Designs.

steve hamm custom


Brian Moffitt

Brian MoffittBrian has been stretchiing the limits of diecast customization quite literally.  Moffitt’s pieces will almost always feature at least one modification to the body, such as adding an extra axle, an extended cab, and removable pieces. In fact, some of his models are stretched to doulbe, even triple their original length. Add a matching trailer, in some cases, and his models reach epic proportions.

Some of them get stretched sideways too, such as adding dually wheels to a model in the process of creating a tow truck from a standar pickup. In most cases, enough of the vehicle remains intact so collectors can appreciate what castings he started from. He works mostly in 1/64, mostly Hot Wheels.

Brian is also a contributor to the Hot World Customs blog.

brian moffitt custom


Bannarit R.

Bannarit R Diecast Hall of FameBannarit is as much a scratchbuilder as he is a customizer. He creates extremely high-detail one-off handmade model vehicles in large scales, mostly around 1/18. He is also an accomplished painter of automotive and other subjects.

His models include everything from a recreation of a rusted barn find Bugatti to exotic concept or prototype designs to modern Pikes Peak Hill climb cars.

His models can take several months from start to finish, so he creates only 4 or 5 per year, all by special commission. The detail on the cars is astonishing, including delicate framework and interior details that can be viewed via removable panels. Since each one is a single one-off model, t’s hard to pick out his favorite creation. “It’s difficult for me to say which one since I made them all by myself and I love them!”

Although his models mostly evoke cars of decades ago. his dream car is a very modern one. “My real life favorite dream car?…guess what? It’s Bugatti Chiron!” Not only are those absurdly expensive, they aren’t even available yet. “That’s why it’s can only be a dream!”

bannarit r custom


Karli “Kraut Custom” Sanger

Karli SangerKarli Sanger is a well known German diecast customizer. Living on the east side of the Berlin wall, diecast cars were hard to come by when he was a child, which is partly why he has such a passion about them to this day.

His collection of Hot Wheels vehicles numbers in the thousands, but he is a “completist” for only a few castings. He was struck by the design of the Hot Wheels Dairy Delivery, and began collecting every version he could find. Then he started buying custom versions of it. And eventually, he decided to start making his own.

Karli’s work often features science fiction themed customizations, including Freddy Krueger, zombies, and, most commonly, Boba Fett. He is even known in the community as KMS KrautCustom-KarliFett, which refers to the Star Wars character. He was recognized as the “VIP Customizer” at the 2017 Hot Wheels convention held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was featured in Chris Walkers’ book The Ultimate Guide to the Hot Wheels Drag Bus.

kraut custom boba fett


The 2017 Diecast Hall Of Fame induction ceremony will be held November 2, at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. For more details of to buy tickets, visit the DHOF event page. 

Meet the 2017 Diecast Designer of the Year Nominees

As the Diecast Hall of Fame induction ceremony approaches, excitement is building among the diecast industry and collectors. We marvel at the models they created, but often have no idea of who the people are behind those wonderful creations. Over the next few weeks, we’re giving you a chance to meet some of the nominees.

And you can help decide who will be inducted… After you read about these talented individuals, head over to the Diecast Hall of Fame ballot and vote!

In this installment, meet the nominees in the Diecast Designer category, listed in alphabetical order.


Sei Cho

Sei Cho Diecast Hall of FameSei currently works for Jada Toys, designing about 50 or so models over the past year.

Those designs include everything from creating graphics for existing models as well as the 3D plans for new castings. If you saw their  Fast and Furious, Batmobiles or JDM Tuners series, he had a big hand in those. And he even stepped out of traditional car models with their Transformer series.

Prior to that, he worked for Hot Wheels. “One of my favorite is Hot Wheels Classic Customs 32 Ford,” he said. “It was my first model that I designed and 3D modeled in-house with software called Freeform.”

One of his design inspirations came from outside the automotive world when he worked for a couple of years in New York at a large design firm. “Watching World Trade Centers rebuild every day was really cool.”

Cho Chevy flatbed

cho datsun 240z


Kevin Geraldez

Kevin GeraldezKevin has worked for a couple of heavy hitters in the diecast world over the last 15 years. He was one of the driving forces at Jada, helping to pioneer the DUBCITY series of model vehicles. And more recently, he has been a photographer and video producer for Bburag and Maisto.

His interest in custom car culture dates back to the 1980s when he became proficient at airbrush art. Before working at toy companies, Kevin was designing shirts and logos for car shows and aftermarket automotive companies.

He joined Jada Toys in 2002 where he was the art director. In addition to DUBCITY, Kevin helped design and launch the Import Racers, Road Rats and other lines. Some of his graphics were so popular they were eventually used on 1/1 scale real cars as well. Kevin still designs but spends most of his time focused on photography and videos for Maisto Inc.’s Bburago and Bb Junior for marketing and tv usage.geraldez volkswagens geraldez street rods


Tony Karamitsos

Tony KaramitsosTony has worked with so many diecast brands in various scales over the years that it’s hard to keep track.

He began his diecast design careeer in 1999 at Playing Mantis. He was one of the four original  designers for the company, helping to propel the rebirth of the Johnny Lightning brand. He went on to work for RC2 when Playing Mantis was sold in 2004.

Tony is known for his attention to detail having designed thousands of highly detailed die-cast replicas for numerous scales for Johnny Lightning, Auto World, Racing Champions, American Muscle, Legends of the Quarter Mile, Silver Screen Machines. In addition to traditional diecast, his designs also include slot car replicas, resin models & model kits throughout the years.

Tony rejoined his former boss when Tom Lowe founded Round2. He currently serves as Brand Manager and senior designer for Round2 as head of all of the die-cast and slot car brands.

Karamitsos snake funny car Karamitsos barracuda


Brad Trimmer

Brad TrimmerBrad’s passion for automotive design  began with big rigs as a child. As a teenager, he took up airbrushing and sign design, and then went on to work for ad agencies and automotive publications.

His first job in toy vehicles is a bit unusual, but immensely successful, as the Senior Designer for X-Cocnepts Tech Deck toy skateboard line.

Since then he has been one of the principal designers at Maisto/Bburago. Over the last 12 years,  has been instrumental in helping the company branch into custom culture and model trucks, as well as expanding their reach into smaller scales. As for his favorite designs, he says “Tough to say, either the 1/64 C.O.E. Studebaker flatbed for Elite Transport or the 1/55 1972 Datsun 510 for the Fifty 5’s line.”

Brad was one of the main designers responsible for all of Maisto Custom Shop, G-Ridez, Players and Pro Rods.

trimmer flatbed

trimmer side by side


Brendon Vetuskey

Brendon Vetuskey Diecast Hall of FameBrendon started with Hot Wheels in 2007 on the Track & Play Sets team, eventually becoming design manager for Hot Wheels Entertainment track/play sets including Monster Jam, and Marvel, among others. After nearly three years with track sets, Brendon returned to a pure design role so he could “focus more on designing toys rather than attend meetings.” He has worked on around 20 models for Hot Wheels this past year, some so new, they aren’t even in stores yet.

His diecast career goes back to 2000. Prior to Hot Wheels, he worked for Jakks Pacific on Road Champs diecast vehicles.

His biggest inspiration was Viktor Schreckengost an industrial designer and artist. “He worked on the 1950’s Murray pedal cars, tractors, and planes.  He also came up with the overhead cab configuration for White Motor Company back in 1933 or so. At age 91, drive to our school in his ’62 Lincoln without even needing glasses.”

Brendon’s favorite recent casting is the Hot Wheels /67 Custom Firebird. “It’s my newest one at the time of this writing, and it’s particularly special to me since it’s modeled after my own real life customized 1967 Firebird.”

vetuskey firebird

vetuskey 55 Chevy gasser


The 2017 Diecast Hall Of Fame induction ceremony will be held November 2, at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. For more details of to buy tickets, visit the DHOF event page.