Selection Committee

Meet the Diecast Hall of Fame Selection Committee!

Albert "Kool51" Avila

Avila is best known as a model car customizer, creating wild, often strange 3D modifications to his vehicles. He often works under his online handle "Kool51Designs.' He was awarded the Diecast Hall of Fame Diecast Designers Award when he was inducted into our 2014 class.

Andreas Berse

Andreas Berse has been the Chief Editor for Modellfahrzeug, the largest German language publication on model cars of all scales for the last 22 years. He also wrote model car and automotive books and is a volunteer for the Nuremberg Toy Museum.

Matt Boyd

Matt Boyd is the cofounder and editor of DieCast X Magazine, which he helped found in 2005, and where he served as its editor until 2009. In 2014, he returned to DCX as Executive Editor. Matt has written extensively on collectible scale modeling, design and industry trends, and reviewed hundreds of models for every major brand in the diecast industry. In addition, he has published a number of articles on full-scale motorsports, automotive history and a handful of other non-automotive genres.

Matthias Braun

Matthias Braun led the E-Business division at Audi and later was made responsible for operations of Audi of America by the Ingolstadt Car manufacturer. He held this position until 2008.  Since then he has been the General Secretary of the AvD, the most traditional automobile club in Germany. He is also on the board of the German American Automobile Club. He has a significant model car collection and wrote a number of books on cars and model cars.

Jimmy "Boxman" Chavez

A prolific and innovative diecast customizer, Chavez is perhaps best known for the his packaging that incorporates the vehicle’s design theme into the graphics, card shape and even 3D blister form. In addition to numerous awards and honors for his work, his work has been shown at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. He was inducted into the Diecast Hall of Fame in 2009.

Carson Lev

Carson Lev is design executive who worked for Mattel for a decade, as Director of Engineering, Director of Hot Wheels Design and Director of Hot Wheels Licensing. Lev left Mattel for a pit stop at licensing giant Equity Management before starting his own licensing company, Redphin Productions, LLC. Lev frequently works closely with client and close friend Chip Foose, host of Overhaulin' on Velocity, Chris Jacobs of Overhaulin’, NBC/Universal for Fast and Furious Licensing, Mecum Auctions, West Coast Customs and consults for many OEM’s and Automotive Aftermarket Manufacturers. Lev was inducted in the Inaugural Diecast Hall of Fame Class of 2009 for his lifelong contributions to the diecast and automotive culture and was further recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

Mac Ragan

Mac Ragan designed Playing Mantis Johnny Lightning models for four years, was a brand manager at RC2 and Greenlight Toys and then moved to Round2 where he was responsible for Auto World, Johnny Lightning and Racing Champions. He is also an esteemed book author who specializes in writing 1/64 Scale focused books such as Tomart's Price Guide to Johnny Lightning Vehicles and Matchbox Cars: The First 50 Years. Ragan was inducted into the Diecast Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2010.

Karl Schnelle

Karl is the US Editor for Model Auto Review, a frequent contributor on many diecast forums and also a Curator and Champion on hobbyDB. Over the years, Karl has written articles on European diecast such as Märklin, Tekno, and Vilmer for Model Auto Review and Model Collector. He has been collecting models in 1/43 scale since he was a boy and now concentrates on Alfa Romeo models and some obsolete European brands.

Luis Tanahara

Luis worked for Boyd Coddington Garage, Hot Wheels, Jada, Motormax and other diecast brands designing both models and packaging. At Jada he was designing a vast majorith of the Dub City models. He later created the Sledster. Luis is an inductee in the Diecast Hall of Fame. He is currently collaborating on various themes with Chris Stangler.

Ben van Roode

Ben van Roode is a lifelong diecast car collector and author of automotive and collectible articles and books, including time spent with Model Auto Review (MAR). In 2004, van Roode wrote a book entitled Big Boys Don't Play with Dinky Toys, a celebration of 40 years of the Netherlands Association of Model Auto Collectors, or NAMAC. Even into his seventies van Roode is still an active writer in the diecast community, writing for the online diecast blog Modelauto Krant.

Chris Walker

Chris Walker "Night Stalker" burst onto the die-cast car scene customizing cars for competition.  After winning multiple awards, he focused his attention towards high-end custom pieces for celebrities and famous designers with his work appearing in the hot Wheels exhibit in the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, CA. It was then that he got noticed by a few of the larger companies and started doing freelance work in packaging, graphics, and event cars for U.S. and Internationals conventions. He was inducted into the Diecast Hall of Fame in 2009.

Michael Zarnock

Michael (or Mike) Zarnock has written a number of books on Hot Wheels.  Mike has also opened his very own Hot Wheels museum that showcases his record-setting collection from 1968 to the present. Zarnock's collection has held two Guinness World Records and earned him an induction into the Diecast Hall of Fame in 2009.