Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Summer of '69 Hot Wheels....The Final Chapter...

Well, as the year winds down, so does my series on the new Hot Wheels for 1969. In this edition we will look at the final eight cars, which probably include the most popular cars from that year. So hang on, here we go!

First, we have the Mercedes-Benz 280SL. Some of these have a black roof, but mine doesn't. Still, it's a fun car.

Who doesn't like a Rolls? This is the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. This car usually came in gray enamel (about twice as common as any other color), but I like the spectra-flame green. By the way, the mass of this car makes it pretty darn fast...

You might not know the name "Shelby Turbine," but you probably do know "Mario Andretti." This car is based on his turbine powered vehicle. 

One car that is surely in the Hot Wheels Hall of Fame is the Spittin' Image. This car strikes just the right balance between fantasy and muscle. It's also fairly heavy, which makes for a fast runner!

The Torero is reminds me a little bit of an Opal. This is one of the fantasy cars released that year. Purple is one of the more sought after colors for this car.

The Turbofire is another fantasy car. Red is a very common color for it, and it never caught on like some of the other cars, so the value is pretty reasonable.

Here we have another Hall of Famer. The car takes the Splittin' Image idea and reverses it. Instead of two cockpits and one engine, we get one cockpit and two engines! In the '90s, Hot Wheels built a real car based on this one... Very cool.

Finally, we have the Volkswagen Beach Bomb. This car would be worth tens of thousands of dollars (no kidding!) if it didn't have the side pods and the surf boards were sticking out of the back window. Alas, my example ain't that one. Still, it books in the triple digits, which isn't bad for a one inch long toy that originally retailed for under a buck...

So there you have it! By the way, I actually saw the most valuable Hot Wheel; the pink Rear Loader Beach Bomb, in person. It was at a toy show in Arlington. The car would later sell for over $125,000.00. I didn't pay that much for my house. Just sayin'...

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hanging Out at Santa's Place!

The year was 1967. It was June. I was but a lad of four when I found myself at the North Pole! With SANTA! How cool is that???

Ok, so this North Pole is a bit farther south; Colorado, to be exact. My family took a trip to Pikes Peak that year and my folks and grandparents decided to take me to The North Pole- Santa's Workshop for the day! Here is what our friends at Wikipedia have to say about the place:

Santa's Workshop is an amusement park that opened on June 16, 1956 in Cascade, Colorado, just west of Colorado Springs at the base of Pikes Peak. Modeled after the Santa's Workshop in Lake Placid, New York, the park features a charming North Pole village complete with specialty shops for boys, girls, Christmas ornaments, and candy. The village is also home to Santa's Workshop itself, where children can meet with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus year round. Many of the park's staff get into the holiday spirit as well, and children will find Santa's elves hard at work in admissions and the many shops around the premises.

Here is a little photographic evidence that I was actually there!

My mom, dad and myself in front of the large entrance sign. I like the painted illustrations of the attractions....If only we could get a closer look...

There! That's better! 

Apparently, my mom was a hit with the baby goats...or maybe it's that bottle...

I'm not sure what an Indian tee-pee has to do with Santa, but there it is! My grandfather and grandmother pose with my dad and myself. I like the Thunderbird symbol (not related to the car...)

My grandmother is tapping deeply into her Cherokee ancestory at this point. Actually, I seem to remember that she did archery in college, so this wasn't a stretch. Her stance seems good. 

This is a bonus "not in the park" picture. That's me discussing weighty issues with Chip...or Dale....I can never tell them apart in real life.

So there you have it! I wish I had more pictures, but these are enough to bring back some memories. By the way, it seems that when we visited, the park was exactly 10 years old. The cool thing is that you can STILL visit this park! It's nice to see that it's still going strong!

Merry Christmas!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Summer of '69- Hot Wheels Style...Part Two!

Well, here we are with our second batch of 1969 Hot Wheels! As I said in the last Hot Wheels post, there were 24 new cars that year (as opposed to just 16 the previous year) so I'm breaking them into three sets of eight.'s part two!

The Custom Continental Mark III is a good looking car with a lot of weight to it. I like the orange spectra-flame on this example!

The Custom Police Cruiser is actually a Plymouth Fury. Unlike most of the cars, it only came with the enamel black and white paint scheme. It was the first car with a "tampo" (printed design). The only variation you will find is it had both a red and a clear dome light. There is no difference in value.

The Ford Mark IV was based on a Gran Prix racer. It is one of the few cars of this time that was issued in both spectra-flame paint (many colors) and enamel (red only). This is the enamel version.

The Indy Eagle was based on Dan Gurney's Indy car. The Indy cars are cool, but their light weight makes them easy race fodder for the heavier cars. This car also came in gold chrome that is worth almost ten times more than the regular cars.

The Lola GT70 is another Gran Prix car that came in all shades of spectra-flame and one enamel color...British racing green. This is the green example.

The Lotus Turbine is a rather boxy looking Indy car. I once built a pinewood derby version for my daughter to race! The boxiness helped my carving skills!

The Maserati Mistral is a very sporty looking car! Although a lot of people don't remember this Hot Wheel, it's one of my favorites!

The McLaren M6A was released in all of the spectra-flame colors, but the real car was painted in orange enamel. For some reason, Hot Wheels never made it in that color.

One for the road, so to speak (or at least "the orange plastic track") The Lola GT70 with its hood open is a good example of the detail that went into the engine castings. 

So there you have it! The last of the 24 is coming next time, and it features the two most popular Hot Wheels from that year!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

When You Realize Just How Deep Your Rail-Geek Runs...

I know I promised you Part II of 1969 Hot Wheels this week, but a split second of tv viewing this morning changed all of that. Ah, such is life!

I wasn't even really watching tv this morning, when out of the corner of my eye, I spotted this:

Typical Christmas train set in a typical Christmas car ad...
Thanks to my video recorder, I was able to back up and make sure that I saw what I thought I saw...and sure enough, there it was! You see, the building closest to us is pretty well known to me...and it's a little weird to have in a Christmas advertisement. Here is my example of it...

Built by yours truly...a LONG time ago...
This HO train kit has been around forever and was produced by a variety of companies. Mine is by Tyco and is from around 1973. For the weird part, let's take a closer look at the sign, shall we?

Yes, it's supposed to be misspelled, although some versions are spelled "Gruesome."
The Grusom Casket Company was a little bit of Halloween gallows humor you could add to your layout! Here are some more shots...

The loading dock...

I actually wrote this slogan myself. I thought it was hillarious... I still kind of do. 

The shed in back...

Car advertisement camera side...
So, what does all of this have to do with anything? Well, not a heck of a lot, really, other than I spotted a train building kit that had less than two seconds of air time and identified it. Geek level= Gold. Extra points for holiday irony.

By the way, I guess I should give credit where it it due. This week's Stu's Attic was brought to you by:

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Summer of '69...Hot Wheels Style...Part One

Mattel had a huge hit in 1968 when they brought out the first 16 cars. Suddenly every boy was scrambling to get the latest cars...and Mattel was more than happy to help!

1969 would see the release of 24 new vehicles. They came out with 16 "standard" cars and eight "Grand Prix Series" cars. This was the first of quite a few special series.

I have the whole 1969 run, so I thought I'd share them with you! Now, 24 cars are a bit much for one post, so I'm going to serve them up eight at a time. we go!

First we have the Brabham-Repco F1. This Grand Prix Series car is a model of an actual Indy racer.

The Chapparal 2G is also a Grand Prix car based on a real Can-Am racer. This car came in the regular "Spectra-flame" colors...and white enamel. This is the enamel version.

I had the Classic '31 Ford Woodie as a kid, and it was one of my favorites! I really like this purple example!

The Classic '32 Ford Vicky has style to burn! It's also a pretty heavy car, which means it tends to be pretty quick on the orange track!

The Classic '36 Ford Coupe has a working rumble seat. The chopped and raked look was popular for this car in the '60s. 

The Classic '57 T-Bird was actually only twelve years old when it was released. Note the racing windshield. Nice touch!

The Custom AMX was a real American Motors car. Hot Wheels included cars from all of the major auto companies at the time.

The Custom Charger is a 1968 Dodge Charger. This car usually sells for a premium due to all the Mopar lovers out there!
Well, there you go! These are the first eight cars, alphabetically. We'll look at the next eight next time! Until then, keep searching for treasure!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hangin' at the Hemisfair

Last week I took you on a trip to sunny California. This week I'm going to take you to equally sunny San Antonio, 1968! So jump in the time machine, cause HERE WE GO!!!!!

Well now, that wasn't so bad, was it? It's now the summer of 1968. A new World's Fair has opened...the Hemisfair! I went there with my family that summer. Here are a few (not great) pictures!

This is my aunt, my two cousins, my uncle, my dad and me (brown shirt) by the Riverwalk. I'm not crying, the sun always bothered my eyes in pictures for some reason. I'm fairly sure that there's not a natural fabric in any of those clothes. 

Here we have my cousin, my aunt, my mom and myself. Note that these are "picture spots" much like at Disneyland. Also note that the adults in my family seem to all be secret agents. 

I'm actually in this picture. No...really! If you look just past the right leg of my picture-hog cousin, you can see my right foot! I think that was the puppet show in the background...but I'm not sure.

My dad and I are posing in front of some sort of alien monolith. My dad has found a communicator and is chatting with the little alien guys. Or....we're in front of a sculpture and that's his....uh....I don't know. Let's stick with the first idea.

A not great picture of the Tower of the Americas. (insert fanfare) Also, the sky ride is in the background. As a kid, I had no problem with riding the sky ride, but that tower scared me to death! I remember that night they had to practically drag me on the elevator. If not for the fact that I was starving, and food was on the top, I might not have made it. I had fried chicken. It was good.
Now flash forward a few decades. After my wife and I were married, we realized that although we didn't know each other as kids, we both went to the Hemisfair that summer! We might have actually seen each other. Who knows? Therefore, when I saw this little item came up on eBay, I bought it for her:

This little Tower of the Americas is actually kind of rare...and they usually go for a hefty price. I don't know why. It's cool, though.
Later, we picked up the following items here and there...

Nothing says "World's Fair" like whiskey! Actually, this is a pretty cool piece that is kind of tough to find with the top and labels.
The back side of whiskey! The details are nice, I think.
Ok, so there really are not two Tower of the Americas, but how else would you have both salt AND pepper? These are pretty common, and pretty neat!
So there you have it! You can still go eat in the Tower's revolving restaurant. It's now run by Landry's. I'm not sure if they have fried chicken. Maybe my wife and I will take a little trip and find out. It's fun to have a childhood link with your sweetie!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

California Dreamin'

Sometimes things just occur to me. Usually they are really obvious things that, nonetheless, I have somehow missed. When I do realize the fact, it is kind of stunning.

Take for example when I suddenly realized that I have only been to California twice in my life. Now, this might not seem like a big deal, but since I have followed several Disneyland blogs daily for a few years, I guess I felt much more at home in the Golden State than I should. I think a trip is in order...

My previous two trips were many years ago. The first was in the summer of 1973, when I was ten. The last was in the early '90s, when I spent a weekend in San Francisco. The earlier trip was more fun.

The first trip was a road trip that I took with my grandparents and my mom. We went through El Paso (taking a day trip into Mexico) and ended up staying with my great aunt and uncle in L.A. I remember seeing Knotts Berry Farm, the Queen Mary, and, of course, Disneyland.

My memory of Knotts is mainly of the Independence Hall show, when the lights dimmed and you heard the founding fathers talk about the Declaration of Independence (yes, I was always a bit of a nerd). My main memory of the Queen Mary is eating a blueberry ice cream sundae in the restaurant on board. My main memory of Disneyland is how incredible Pirates of the Caribbean was (much better than at WDW), and my grandmother getting off of the Matterhorn and taking a nerve pill.

Interesting enough, I don't have any pictures of this trip. I do, however have a couple of souvenirs. Therefore, I shall share them with you!

The Queen Mary Bank
 First, we have a ceramic bank from the Queen Mary. The bottom of the bank has "City of Long Beach, CA" molded into it. It's a cool piece, and not a bad representation of the mighty ship. I can almost still taste that sundae!

The Brady Kids!
Next, we have a picture that was handed out at Knotts Berry Farm for the Brady Kids show! Being from Texas, it was a big deal to see people from tv, but my memory of being handed the picture at the entrance to the theater is clearer than of the show itself. Still, it's a good memory!

Well, there you have it. 44 years later, and I still have this stuff. Who would have thought? And yes, it's time to start planning that next trip...

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!