Sunday, July 31, 2022

Orange You Glad You Had a VW?

 For this week we have two cars that have little to do with each other, except for the fact that they are orange, are about 2 1/2 inches long, and happen to be Volkswagens. Is that enough to make me group them together in one post? Apparently, yes.

First, we have a Tonka (a Mini Tote, to be exact). This small car is from 1970 and I think it's just fun! I have no memory of where I got it, but I imagine I got it out of the "car bin" at Goodwill many years ago. You could really find treasures in that "car bin," but, alas, the internet came along and people started being able to research what they had. Goodwill started putting boxes of (mostly junk) cars on auction in the store, and now they put them online. Great for profits, but tough on treasure hunters. 

Now, where was I? Oh yeah! Here is the Tonka Mini Tote VW!

As I said, this is just a fun car. The huge wheels and bright color just scream "70s!" to me! (Not literally. That would be freaky.) I've had this guy sitting on various shelves for a couple of decades now. Not an expensive car, but one I just like.

Now the next car is actually brand new. You could walk into a hobby store and, if you're lucky, find one today. Here is my Auto World VW Karman Ghia slot car!

Now why would I put a brand new car in this blog? Because it comes with a bit of a story, that's why.

You see, when I was growing up, my dad bought a bright orange 1973 Karman Ghia, that this one looks a lot like. The main difference is that Dad's had a luggage rack. And his was much bigger. And his was eaten by a truck. 

When I saw this one in the store, there wasn't a doubt in the world that I had to buy it. If my dad was still with us, I would have given it to him. Alas, Dad passed away in 2008. So, in his honor, this tiny orange Karman Ghia sits in my display case. I only wish it was a full sized car!

So there you have it; two VWs with little in common, but that fit together after all! I hope you enjoyed them!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Sunday, July 24, 2022


 A while back I decided that I was going to build the stereo system of my dreams...from when I was a kid. Mainly because even though digital music is much easier to store and access, the sound quality is nowhere as good as good old analog sound. It takes more parts and effort, but it sounds sooooo nice!

The system I actually had as a kid was a nice Lloyds combo record player, AM/FM tuner and 8 Track tape player...THAT COULD RECORD! I got it for Christmas one year and it did a great job. Heck, it even helped me learn to play the bass. You see, I would practice by playing along to 8 track tapes, and if I messed up, I couldn't stop and rewind them. Best music lesson you can learn: no matter what, keep going!!!

Anyway, after I moved out on my own, I bought a nice Techniques rack system, which I still have some parts of. Some parts died and some live on. I decided to use the living in a whole new system! 

One thing I never had as a kid was a stereo system grade reel to reel player. I bought some tapes at a local garage sale a while back and that sent me on a journey that ended up with me buying a Sansui QD 5500 reel to reel player.

Now the thing about that player is that it's not exactly stereo, it's quad. That means four channels for the speakers instead of two. You have left/right front and left/right rear. Of course you need a special receiver to play quad tapes and I didn't have one...until my lovely wife decided I needed one for my approaching 60th birthday! (Full disclosure, our old receiver just died) (Further discloser, my birthday is in September, but the unit was a good price and we jumped on it...not literally...)

She got me a 1973 Sansui QRX 7500a! Here it is! Sansui is a higher end brand from the early 70s. Many service men brought them back from Asia after the Vietnam War. They are high quality and heavy as all get out! (I don't exactly know what that expression means)

See those four nobs to the left? Those control the four channels! This unit is completely analog! Not digital at all!

Oh, and this is the tape deck... also Sansui!

So now I'm busy constructing the new system with parts from here, there, and everywhere. My old system from the early '80s donated the turntable, dual cassette deck, two speakers, and EQ. I have two additional Kenwood speaker towers that I found on the side of the road. For real. Oh, and yes, it even has an 8 track player... that I got off eBay. 

...And I have the greatest wife in the world!

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Rat Fink Meets The Villians!

 This week's post isn't about anything old, but it does combine a few things from my childhood quite well!

A while back I ran across an artist out of California that really got my attention. Now, I'm not exactly a fine art lover, but I know what I like, and I love these!

Yes, that's Cruella Deville (101 Dalmations) and Yzma (Emperors New Groove) drawn in the style of Rat Fink artist Ed Roth! Both 11x14 prints were done (and hand signed) by this guy:

Apparently, Mr. Estrada went to work for Disney, Dreamworks, and a few other places as an animator in the late 1990s. Since then he has added being the official Ed "Big Daddy" Roth Rat Fink artist. When you covered that much ground, why not do a little mashing up?  And that's exactly what he's done! 

I actually only ordered the Cruella print (it was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and I loved her psycho car that spit fire and roared!). Thomas threw in the Yzma print as a bonus. Since I think "Emperors New Groove" is one of the funnier Disney films of that time, I love it as well!

These totally checked both my "Disney" and "60s car culture" boxes! All at once! How cool!

Even after a couple of years, I haven't framed them yet, but I will. By the way, I put my first ever "watermark" on these because, as you know, people can do mean things to artists' work that's on the internet. Like steal it. 

The print(s) was (were) very reasonable, but I don't know what they go for now. I do know that he has tons of stuff on his website, and it's worth a look. 

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!

Saturday, July 9, 2022

There Be Disneyland!

 This week I have an item that I picked up years ago at a garage sale. I grabbed it simply because I liked it...and because it stirred something in the far corners of my memory...

In 1973 I went on my first, and only, visit to Walt's original park, Disneyland. I have been to Walt Disney World many times since then, but I have never gotten back to the West Coast.

On that trip, the attraction that blew my almost 9 year old mind was The Pirates of the Caribbean! If you have only ridden the Walt Disney World version, you really haven't seen this attraction. The Disneyland original is much larger and more exciting!

Upon exiting the attraction you were (are?) presented with a treasure trove of piratey goodness to purchase! The thing that stands out in my mind was the full arsenal of cap weapons. Rows and rows of muskets and pistols to help raid your own backyard Caribbean village! 

I didn't get one of those weapons on that trip, and I'm pretty sure they don't even have them any more (not even the orange tipped versions). However, at that sale, I spotted this:

This slightly sea-worn pistol is the two shot percussion cap type (I think). It is cool in that you can pull back both hammers and then slightly pull the trigger to get just one to drop. A harder pull drops the second one. Pretty fancy for a toy!

I shared pictures of it on a Disneyland history Facebook page I frequent and found that although this wasn't a Disneyland exclusive (as few things were back then), it IS the brand they sold. Further, a former CM pointed out that this style was only sold in New Orleans Square! 

So, apparently, my memory was pretty spot-on! Now, I can't be sure that this particular gun came from Disneyland, but it certainly could have! And, you know, that's good enough for my memory.

Until next time, keep boarding the King's ships and searching for treasure!

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Something Really American!

 When I was a kid, I loved July 4th. All the families at the 1st Baptist Church of Denison, Texas would have a huge picnic out at Doctor Brown's land. There would be BBQ, potato salad, and, best of all FIREWORKS!

These were the best fireworks, fired off by the kids with pretty much no adult interference. The adults were all sitting in a big circle, in multi-colored striped lawn chairs talking, while also enduring the occasional string of Black Cats going off right behind them, as a joke. 

No one got hurt. Everyone ate way too much. And the ride home was the most peaceful, exhausted sleep I ever had. 

Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you.

Unfortunately, this post has nothing to do with any of that. 

Instead, I was looking around for SOMETHING that I could tie into the 4th. I found these...

Yes, my HO scale Amtrak train, that I pretty much forgot that I owned. 

These are actually from when I was a teen, or my early 20s. I have a lot of train stuff (I mean A LOT), but nowhere to set up a layout. Someday, I still plan to, but for now I have a world put away in boxes. 

These are part of that world. A red, white, and blue American part! The engines are from Lifelike (229) and Bachman (350). The cars are Athearn. They used to run on my old layout, but life got in the way. I don't know if they still work, but I hope they do. Someday maybe I'll find out.

Until then, they make a nice patriotic display. They're not bottle rockets, but they'll do in a pinch.

Until next time, keep searching for treasure!