Michael has over 500 Hot Wheels™ cars. These aren't them.

Michael's "Show" Cars

My interest in Hot Wheels™ was renewed in 1994, but it was nearly three years before I found a local collector's club and went to my first Hot Wheels™ show. I took some pieces I thought intriguing, and after refusing a litany of buy-offers, quickly realized that these events were really Hot Wheels™ "sales," rather than "shows." The only way the term "show" applies is that people show up there, to show what they're trying to sell.

However, I happily attended these things. At the events held by the Heartland Hot Wheelers club, there would be a massive 4-lane race track set up. Amused, I'd get to play with Hot Wheels™ again. Adults and kids alike would bond in shared appreciation.

The Heartland Hot Wheelers club broke up right after I purchased one of their T-shirts, but for the next couple of years one man took it upon himself to hold quarterly shows at an American Legion hall.

In 2004, Michael turned one year old. As soon as he was able to walk, I started to take him with me. Some of the sellers would bring their children, so Michael always had some other kids to play with. He enjoys seeing a car torn out of the package and handed to him for destruction. It turns out that people with dozens of Hot Wheels™ on a table are usually nice enough to offer him one. So these are Michael's favorite gift-cars.

Bugatti Veyron

I'm calling this a gift-car: it's the first car I ever bought for my son. The real Bugatti has an 8-litre, thousand-horsepower engine and is one of the fastest (semi) production cars ever made.

The Hot Wheels™ Veyron debuted in the 2003 First Editions series. Michael was born about the same time. The next summer, I was at a Target store with my year-old baby when I saw this year-old Bugatti. Michael was wearing e-dorable Husker apparel, and the car matched his outfit perfectly.

Mod Bod™ Hummer®

Designed in the wake of the Desert Storm conflict, this plastic-bodied vehicle was first released in 1993 in a desert camoflage color scheme, complete with a gun turret affixed to the roof. The gun was left off of this 1996 release, the first of four cars in the Mod Bod™ Series.

Michael got this at his first show. Since he was less than two years old, I had to hold him up so he could see the rows upon rows of blister-cards laid out on this dealer's table. Out of all of them, for some reason this one caught his eye.

'32 Ford

This car was made in Malaysia as number seven of forty in the 1998 First Editions™ series. It was given to him by a pair of women who seemed overly familiar with each other. They may have just been close friends. Very close friends. I didn't ask.

The green color on the grille and blower is not a reflection, it's the color of the plastic, visible where the vacuum-plated chrome has worn off. Michael has also expressed a fondness for the directional "sawblade" wheels (first available in 1996). From the amount of play wear, it's obvious he enjoys this little Deuce coupe.

'67 Pontiac® GTO™

The '67 GTO casting was designed in 1997, to be used in assorted Limited Edition sets. Its first release as a mainline car was this one, Collector No. 226, in 2000.

I helped Michael tear this one open, but when he tried to roll it across the room, we immediately discovered it had a factory defect. The front axle wasn't affixed properly, so the wheels pushed up under the fenders and the chassis scraped the floor. Michael tried to have fun with it anyway.

After we got home, I was about to just throw it away, but first I used a Dremel tool to quickly grind away the "wheel tabs" (the portions of the chassis that rubbed), and to my surprise, the fix worked. So, the front end's been "lowered." This picture shows how close the tolerances are between the wheels and the body, but the car rolls extremely well.

The tattered tampo graphics and worn wheel chrome show that it's well-used. I thought about taking a few seconds with some lacquer thinner to remove the Arnie Beswick-inspired graphics, but you just can't separate the tiger from a Goat. Besides, Michael likes the stripes.

If you're interested, here's a link describing the history of the tiger/GTO relationship, and you might want to check out the 1966 GeeTO Tiger website.

'40 Ford

I swear I just wanted to see their Hot Wheels™... but this table was staffed by two smokin' hot chicks! I was pretty distracted and tried to pretend that I was examining their wares as they asked Michael which car he liked. They pointed out one after another, but Michael seemed disinterested. Finally, the blonde girl tore this one from its blister card and handed it to him. He took it and wandered off, while I assured them that he was trained to say "Thank you." Later, I went back to buy a couple of cars from that table, but the girls were gone.

Although the design was copyrighted two years earlier, the '40 Ford first appeared in the 1998 First Editions line. This silver version came out in 2000, both as mainline Collector No. 192, and in a Big City Trucks 5-pack.

"Mothers® Passion™"

This is definitely not one of Michael's free gifts, but I include it here because it's his favorite Hot Wheels™ car.

The car's design, based on a 1949 Mercury, was penned by long-time Hot Wheels™ designer Larry Wood in 1989 and released in 1990 as the "Purple Passion". It was a very popular casting, and became one of Hot Wheels'™ iconic vehicles. Over the next two decades, eighty-seven different versions were made.

The name seems to be official, but flexible. Within that first year, the car was simply renamed Passion™ for versions in colors other than purple. In 1994 and 1995, the car was released under various self-descriptive names: "Pink Passion", "Steel Passion", "Gold Passion", "Pearl Passion", and "Mean Green Passion". However, the name "Purple Passion™" has been used for every release since 1995, no matter what color it is.

In 2004, Mothers® Car Polish repeated a successful tie-in promotion from the year before, in which every 16 oz. bottle of Mothers® Hot Wheels™ Premium Wax was boxed with one of four Limited Edition (10,000 pieces) Hot Wheels™ cars. At some point, I found a package deal that included the Mothers® Mach 1 for me, and the Passion™, ostensibly for Michael.

Since he was just learning to talk at the time, he very creatively named it "Black".

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