A Huge Thank You from the Diecast Hall of Fame Team!

It’s been five days since the big event in Las Vegas and we are still beaming 🙂 We could not be more grateful for the outpouring of support from the diecast community. Folks from all around the world came to celebrate their fellow nominees on Thursday night, which helped make the evening even more special.

Proudly displayed at the front of the House of Blues were the 20 models nominated as Model of the Year for the different scales  –


As well as work by the nominated customizers  –

From the top John Cobb’s Railton Special by Bannarit, middle row on the left the Next Project by Steve Hamm and on the right Bobba Fett by Kraut Custom and on the bottom The Lunch Box by =Joe Alvarado (2017 Inductee)

And design sheets from the nominated diecast designers –

Design Sheet by 2017 Diecast Designer Inductee Tony Karamitsos


And don’t forget the awesome M2 Machines that were part of the attendee goody bag –


If you didn’t get one, there are still a few left for sale at the new Diecast Hall of Fame store.

At a little past 10pm, Christian Braun (DHOF Chairman) kicked off the ceremony by explaining the exciting changes that the Diecast Hall of Fame underwent this year including –

  • The addition of three new scales –  1:43, 1:24, and 1:18
  • New groups of awards – Models of the Year and Brands of the Year
  • Greater international presence – 1/3 of the selection committee and 20% of the nominees were from outside of the United States
  • More community support – the event now has 65 new community supporters including Diecast Society, Diecast X, HobbyTalk, Scale143.com and Scale18.com
  • The largest voter turnout yet – With 2,381 votes in 2017, the Diecast Hall of Fame vote count grew by 150% percent over 2016

Christian then handed the mic off to event MC Andy Goodman, who announced the official inductees to this year’s Diecast Hall of Fame. See the 2017 Class list here.

Andy Goodman announcing the 2017 Class

The rest of the evening was spent toasting and celebrating another exciting and successful year of the DHOF.

It was awesome to see industry people from both the hobby and full scale automotive at this year’s event!
Event MC Andy Goodman talking with fellow Diecast Hall of Fame inductee Albert Avila
M2 Machines designer Sean Taylor with fellow Diecast Hall of Fame inductee, Hot Wheels Collector Bruce Pascal
Diecast Hall of Fame Inductee Tony Karamitsos with Selection Committee member (and Inductee) Mac Ragan

We couldn’t have done this event without the support of our amazing sponsors –

 

Until next time, cheers to a fabulous event and thank you again to everyone for all the love! We hope to see you next year.

2017 Diecast Hall of Fame Inductees Announced in Las Vegas

Diecast Hall of Famediecast hall of fame awardThe Diecast Hall of Fame held its 2017 induction ceremonies in Las Vegas, Thursday, November 2. The awards honor not only the best model vehicles of the past year, but the people who made them as well as those who are inspirational to car culture and collecting in general. 70 awards were given to nominees and new inductees.

Here are the 2017 Diecast Hall of Fame Inductees:

tim allen carsAutomotive Legend – Tim Allen

Best known for his starring role in “Home Improvement” and as Buzz Lightyear in the “Toy Story” movies, Tim has built an extensive collection of American classic cars. Inspired by the toys he played with as a child, his collection includes a mix of Detroit iron, European Sports cars, and classic customs.

Joe Alvorado Diecast Hall of FameDiecast Customizer – Joe Alvarado

Joe “LoRide57 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.”

Tony KaramitsosDiecast Designer – Tony Karamitsos

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. He currently serves as Brand Manager and senior designer for Round2 as head of all of the die-cast and slot car brands.

Paul LangDiecast Entrepreneur – Paul Lang

Paul is the founder of Minichamps, which was originally founded as Paul’s Model Art GmbH in 1990 in Aachen, Germany. With of their incredible attention to detail, Minichamps has produced official promotional replicas for the likes of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche.

Bob FellowsDiecast Historian – Robert Fellows

Bob has pioneered the use of employing various social media platforms to research and share diecast history. He specializes in Auto Word and Johnny Lightning, creating widely followed Facebook pages for both brands. He is currently working with Playing Mantis era designers to document Johnny Lightning pre-production ad prototypes online at  JLProto.com

Woody ItsonCollector of the Year – Woody 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.


As a first, the Diecast Hall of Fame now also honors the best new models in the most popular scales. They can range from cars that only cost a few dollars at the toy store to limited editions that run hundreds of times those prices. Here are the 2017 winners.

Diecast Model of the Year, 1/64 Scale – Hot Wheels Fiat 500 Modificado

Hot Wheels Fiat

Diecast Model of the Year, 1/43 Scale – Schuco VW Beetle “Lil Bugger” Camper Van

Schuco VW Camper

Diecast Model of the Year, 1/24 Scale – Bburago 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia

Bburago Alfa Romeo

Diecast Model of the Year, 1/18 and Larger Scales –  AUTOart Mercedes-AMG GTS

 

New Model Maker of the Year – AutoCult

Autocult


The Diecast Hall of Fame also recognizes companies and brands that serve and inspire the model vehicle community.

Automotive Brand of the Year – BMW

bmw m series

Supplier Brand of the Year – Falken Tires

Falken Tire

Diecast Dealer of the Year – Diecast Models Wholesale

Diecast Models Wholesale


On a sad note, we recently said goodbye to one of our dear friends, Tiny Wonzniak (below), who died just as we were finalizing our nominations for the year. Wozniak was a Hot Wheels collector (he really loved the Heavyweights!) and enjoyed sharing his knowledge with other collectors. You can read a full tribute to him here.

Tiny WozniakFinally, the Diecast Hall of Fame would like to thank our sponsors and supporters for a great event. And congratulations to the inductees and winners! Watch for announcements regarding nominations and event details coming next year!

Jimmy “Boxman” Chavez Joins DHOF Selection Committee

Jimmy Boxman ChavezOne of the most prolific and innovative diecast customizers has joined the Diecast Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Jimmy “Boxman” Chavez has come on board to help make the Diecast Hall even more spectacular. Even though the 2017 Induction Ceremony is only weeks away, Chavez has an eye on ramping things up for 2018’s event.

Jimmy Boxman Chavez evel knievel drag bus
The graphics and shapes of the card and blister tie in perfectly with these Hot Wheels Drag Bus models.

The work Chavez performs on his vehicles is extraordinary, but he is perhaps best known for the his packaging that incorporates the design theme into the graphics, card shape and even 3D blister form. Standard blister packs simply won’t do for Chavez. His vehicle and card graphics are spot-on designs that look professionally produced. And then he takes things way further with innovative combinations of card shapes and blister forms that reflect the theme of the car.

Jimmy Boxman Chavez house of kolor drag bus
Chavez considers this House of Kolor package one of his most difficult.

Chavez has been at this game for about 20 years, he said. “I started out turning Hot Wheels Highway Haulers into beer trucks.”  All of this precision and creativity looks like it should take crazy amounts of time. Nope. He said his projects run “a couple days including design” in most cases. Even when the case itself might be the most ambitious part of the project.

Jimmy Boxman Chavez Energizer drag bus
Batteries are included on this Energizer Bunny design.

Chavez is quite familiar with the Diecast Hall of Fame, as he himself was inducted in 2009 for his custom work. In addition to numerous awards and honors for his work, his work has been shown at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

The Diecast Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is just around the corner, November 2, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. Tickets are on sale now, and limited seating is still available for the event. And all net proceeds will be donated to There With Care, a charity that helps families who have children battling critical illnesses.

Here’s A Better Look at the Diecast Hall of Fame Econoline Vans

Diecast Hall of Fame Econoline VansDiecast Hall of FameWe recently teased you with images of the designs for the two M2 Ford Econoline Vans being produced for the 2017 Diecast Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in November. The reaction from collectors has been nothing short of fantastic.

And those were just the drawings… now, we have the first photos of the models!

The blue van, you may recall, will be included in the goody bag given to every ticket holder at the event. It has a metallic blue body and silver rims along with colorful sponsor decals. (And the rear license plate is callout to the event, “reading DHOF.”) There will 750 produced in all.

Diecast Hall of Fame Econoline VanThen there’s the black version, an even more Limited Edition variant. It has a matte black body set off by gold rims, with identical graphics. There will only be 250 of this version.

Diecast Hall of Fame Econoline VanAs you can see, both will come attached to a base with a diamond tread surface. Of course, there’s more to the packaging… you’ll just have to wait to see what the rest of it looks like!

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 is rapidly approaching, November 2, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. Tickets are on sale now, and limited seating is still available for the event. And all net proceeds will be donated to There With Care, a charity that helps families who have children battling critical illnesses.

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 Mandalay 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 modern 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. He’s currently working with 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.