Thursday, June 30, 2016

You Got Anything to Stop This Coffin?

The title of this post is in memory of Harold Powley (my dad) who held the record for the most dumb jokes told....well, ever. It's the punch line to one of his "classics." It also seemed to fit well with this week's item. First, a little back story (about the item, not the joke)

In about 2001 the Autorama came through town. I grabbed the kid and hustled down to see this guy:

Not the guy on the left (that's 15 year younger me) but the guy on the right....The king of custom cars....George Barris!!!
If you haven't heard of George Barris, well, I'm not sure you should even be reading this blog (but go ahead anyway). He was the guy that brought us tons of custom tv cars such as the Batmobile, The Munsters Koach, and...this little gem:

Yep, the Drag-U-La! This car was featured in an episode of The Munsters where Herman decides to be a drag race driver. Grandpa builds the car out of (what else) a coffin!

The toy company Playing Mantis had come out with this replica (1/18 scale, about 6 inches long) and another one (about 1/67 Hot Wheels scale) in 2000. I happened to have the large one still unopened, so I asked Mr. Barris to sign it! He looked at it for a second and said "You got the big one, those are hard to find!" and then made it priceless (in my eyes anyway) by signing it on the spot. He also told me how it was tough getting the coffin for the real car. it seems that funeral supply places in the 60's were kind of particular about whom they would sell to, if you didn't actually have a body ready to dispose of! Still, he finally got it and he made custom car history yet again!

Unfortunately, George Barris passed away in 2015. I remember it hit me kind of hard for two reasons; first, because he had brought us so many cool vehicles that became part of our lives growing up in the 1960's; and second, because he was just a really nice guy to me that day. He will be missed by a lot of people.

By the way, here is a picture of the smaller version, just to show it out of the package:

Playing Mantis really did a great job with the detailing on these cars! By the way, you can still get them on eBay. A 1/67 scale version will run you about ten bucks, and a 1/18 scale will run about 20 bucks. A signed version? I've never seen another one and mine is NOT for sale! Sorry!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Feelin' Super Charged!!!

Well, people seemed to enjoy last week's Hot Wheels post, so I figured I would extend it a bit to this week. So, let's take a look at another great Hot Wheels accessory...the Super Charger!

By 1969 Mattel knew they had a huge hit with Hot Wheels. They also knew that when you have a huge hit, you should milk it with accessories. They were the company that made a universe of toys out of the Barbie line, after all!

Still, you can't exactly make new outfits for cars to wear, so they had to get creative. One of their most successful ideas was the Super Charger.

I love the racing shop graphics on this side.

In case you forgot what it was called...

Two real 1969 cars...the Splittin' Image and the Volkswagen Beach Bomb. I included the Beach Bomb because it was redesigned for the Super Charger. If you find one that is skinny and has the surf boards coming out the back window, you've found a chunk of change!

I also included two 1970 cars; the Classic Nomad and the Boss Hoss Club Car. The chrome Boss Hoss could only be found in the Hot Wheels Club Kit. 

The "go lever!" My Super Charger still works, by the way...

The spinning wheels launched the cars down the track. This was the reason the Beach Bomb had to be widened. (Also it was top heavy on the banked turns)

I found my Super Charger at a toy show in Fort Worth a few years ago. It went so well with my Hot Wheels collection that I snapped it up! Now it's a fun part of my collection!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

1968...When Hot Wheels Popped Up Everywhere!

Welcome back to the attic! Today we are going to travel to 1968 and look at one of the cooler accessories Mattel released for their then brand new Hot Wheels line. The first year for Hot Wheels saw 16 cars released, some track pieces, a carrying case, and three pop-up buildings. They were the service station, the house and car port, and this one...

Yep, the Pop-Up Speed Shop!

I'm not actually sure if I had the Speed Shop or the house and car port as a kid, but when I saw this little beauty at a local flea market, I knew I had to have it! When I bought it, the guy had a Shelby Turbine car with it, but I switched it out with the Custom Fleetside for the photo shoot, since I wanted it all vintage 1968. I also added the piece of "Hot Strip" track, since as you can see in the fine print, it was not included!

I can remember how cool I thought these pop-up buildings were as a kid (ok, I actually still do). You would fold them open and have a whole world for your favorite Hot Wheels to drive through! It didn't matter that the walls were a bit warped. It sparked the imagination!

Which is where I think video games and electronics come up short. All of the imagination there comes from the programmer, not the kid. I'm an advocate for simpler (but still really cool!) toys.

Enough of my soap box! Keep searching for treasure!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Disneyland Bus That Never Was

Hiya folks!
Today we're going to look at something that seems like it should have existed, but never really did. Well, not exactly, anyway. Today we are looking at the Corgi Disneyland Bus from 1976! Here are a few pictures:

As you can see, the Corgi version of the Disneyland bus is a bright yellow vehicle with lots of happy characters on the side. There are also Disneyland logos on all four sides. One can clearly imagine it chugging down Main Street U.S.A. on a bright summer morning. However, THIS bus has never been seen in any Disney park!

Perhaps a bit of explanation is needed here. You see, the double decker busses (known as Omnibusses) at Disneyland (and at Walt Disney World) are totally Disney inventions. They were designed by Bob Gurr to look like vintage busses. Mr. Gurr designed all of the Main Street vehicles, which is why they are referred to as "Gurrmobiles." Here is a look at one:

It doesn't look much like the Corgi version, does it? Actually, I prefer the Gurrmobile, but that's just me. Anyway, what gives? Why is Corgi (who is usually so accurate) so far off?

Well, the truth is that they cheated. Rather than go through the time and expense to create a totally new vehicle, they took their "London Transport" and dolled it up to be the Disneyland bus. Perhaps that's why the Corgi version never really caught on. You can get it, mint in the box, for about 35 bucks. Other Corgi toys from around that time can go for much more. 

Still, it's a fun item to have on the shelf. It reminds me of Disneyland, and that's a good thing, so all is forgiven.

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!