Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wal-Mart sale on Hot Wheels

This week Wal-Mart is having their anniversary sale. Hot Wheels are $0.68 and so its that time when I take inventory and decide to get some doubles of cars I picked up previously and maybe get a few I would otherwise leave behind. As a collector who likes to mostly keep them in their packages, I'm not a big fan of the "sale bin" and how they get dumped in 2 feet deep. Its hard enough going through them with people on either side throwing packages around but spotting one you like just to find it has a bent card is not ideal. And as usual, the stories are told of the guys who show up just as the doors open and fill shopping carts with all the prime picks - oh well, thats the price I pay for a day job.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Another recent article

I was featured in another newspaper article recently. Like a few weeks ago, this one is from a local paper based on an interview done at my home. They ran a fairly big picture of me too - here is the article:

Hot for Hot Wheels
A Ferrari five-pack ignited a life-long collecting passion
Shane Buckingham
Published on Aug 22, 2008

After a long day at work, Jason Norton sometimes finds himself uncontrollably drawn to a department store he hasn't visited in a while.

He'll pull over to a Wal-Mart, Zellers, Toys R Us or whatever store he's spotted that day, with one thing in mind - finding Hot Wheels to add to his collection.

Now, Norton is the first to admit he's not the biggest collector out there, and he hosts only a modest collection of about 6,000 cars in boxes stacked to the ceiling.

"I'm just your average collector. I couldn't afford to collect them all," the Smithville resident says.

While some people collect as an investment, he says he simply does it for fun. His collection is continually evolving, he says, because he tries to add each year's first addition cars to it, not to mention their variations, which are released by Mattel shortly after.

"They've got you. Mattel knows they have diehard fans out there that have to get every variation. That becomes an expensive prospect," he says, adding he doesn't take it to that level.

"There are people out there and give them credit they go that extra mile, but I've got a day job. To be honest, I don't know how they do it," the 32-year-old design draftsman says.

He admits his hobby quickly turned into a habit, but why not when a Hot Wheels car costs only about $1.

"Always in my mind they've seemed more valuable than that," he says. "So some people might get a daily coffee; I'll go grab a car."

Describing one of his many stops to a department store, he began to expand on what goes through the mind of a collector as he or she starts the "hunt."

For example, driving his Mazda Miata with Hot Wheels printed on the license plate, Norton spots a department store and pulls over.

Sometimes he's just stopping to browse around, but other times he's looking for what brought him to become an avid collector in the first place - red Ferraris.

Norton says he started out as a collector at a young age, but as time wore on he began to lose interest until one day when he was 17 he spotted a five-pack of red Ferraris.

"I picked up that five pack, and that's what reignited the passion," he says. "It got me back into it, and I haven't looked back since."

Returning to his stop, he walks down the aisle of the department store, and sees children run around the corner of a display. He looks directly above it, noticing he is now in the toy department.

As he proceeds toward the Hot Wheels rack, he sees another person rummaging through the toy cars. He soon realizes it's another collector. Norton feels there's no need to be pushy or horde, for he's only in this for the love of the hobby.

Still, he thinks there might be a Treasure Hunt addition car somewhere in the mix.

He knows Treasure Hunts are released sporadically by Mattel, and to find one is rarity occurring once or twice a year, but still he waits.

"Because of the rarity and the value, a lot of collectors will have somebody on the inside and basically (Treasure Hunts) don't even make it to the pegs," he says.

Once the other collector has finished looking, Norton moves forward scoping out what the store has to offer, and soon discovers what appears to be a Ferrari, not to mention it's red.

"That's the best, red Ferraris. They don't have to be red but that's the identity of the Ferrari."

He snatches it up as he carefully scans for other gems. Looking through the rows of first editions and special series cars he notices something special - a Treasure Hunt.

"There's a certain euphoria to it. Once you finally find that car, I can tell you any collector's heart will be going quickly because of that thrill of the hunt."

Getting over the surprise, he then proceeds to the checkout after a job well-done.

Once at home, he adds the one or two cars he's found to his collection with certain sense of pride and satisfaction.

On average he purchases one or two a week, he says.

Norton says his three-year-old son Bladen also loves Hot Wheels, almost as much as he does.

"You try not to steer your kid, and have them develop their own personality but it turns out he is naturally a car guy. Without the hot wheels influence he's a car guy regardless," Norton said with a smile.

So whether it's watching the Pixar movie Cars, playing with hot wheels or scouting out different vehicles that drive by on the road, the two have a lot of fun with their cars.

"It actually surprises me (Bladen) can spot cars, and he'll know what they are. He'll see a car and tell us there's a Corvette or a Mustang."

Just because Norton takes pride in his collection doesn't mean he doesn't like to share it with others.

Norton sometimes gives his cars away to inspire others to become collectors or simply to oblige a request to have a really cool car.

"Every once in a while somebody will remind me of something or somebody will say hey I really like that car so I'll slip them a Hot Wheels."

To see Norton's Hot Wheels, or to get tips on collecting, log on to or

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Ferrari 288 GTO is finally here!

Ferrari 288 GTOFerrari 288 GTOFerrari 288 GTO
I have been waiting for this one for months and I have to say I am not dissapointed! The detail is very nice and the colour/smoked glass and tampos are well done. Classic 5 spoke rims are a natural choice but I would like to see this model with a few of the other 5 spoke variants such as the PR5's. Of course red is the way to go with all Ferrari's, all other colours are tied for second place.

Monday, September 1, 2008

2008 First Editions

I thought I would share some of the First Editions from this year. It has been a great year for new castings, Mattel seems to have outdone itself regarding quality and detail. The variety of new cars for 2008 is quite good too. Exotics, muscle cars, tuners, fantasy cars, trucks and classics are well represented. And its always a great year when not one, but two new Ferrari's come around.