Skip to comments.Collecting minicars (Hot Wheels) gets his motor running
Posted on 09/05/2008 6:15:45 PM PDT by Coleus
This is a love story. Its about passion, infatuation and lifelong devotion. Its about the unthinkable price that one man would pay to be with the object of his affection. Oh, did we mention this is about a 60-year-old man and his Hot Wheels? Its become an obsession, admits Joe Scangorella of Elmwood Park, who owns more than 27,500 Hot Wheels. It just got to the point where I needed to have them all. Why? I dont know. Scangorella is one of Hot Wheels biggest fans. This year, as the Mattel-owned brand of toy cars celebrates its 40th anniversary, Scangorella will join thousands of other die-hard die-cast car fans at the Hot Wheels conventions in Rhode Island, Mexico and California. Attending these events is the only way to understand the heart of a true Hot Wheels fan, says Scangorella.
Youve got to picture a hotel, hundreds of rooms of nothing but Hot Wheels, he says. You just go room to room to room, 24 hours a day, looking at cars. Scangorella, a son of a car mechanic, grew up in East Rutherford surrounded by cars. His love of cars led to many hobbies building hot rods and collecting matchbox cars. He now works at an auto parts shop in Paterson and owns three antique cars. Scangorella was in his late teens when Hot Wheels was introduced. But he didnt have a chance to get too attached, as he went to Vietnam around the same time. When he returned from service in the early 70s, he started collecting seriously. It turned into an obsession in 1995, when Mattel introduced Treasure Hunt series, where a limited number of special cars are packaged randomly and sold at retailers among regular Hot Wheels. My wife knows that when she looks for me, shell find me in Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Target, Kmart, says Scangorella, who has thousands of Treasure Hunts. Its become an expensive hobby, because youre running around like a nutcase trying to find this stuff.
He also scours eBay and collectors auctions and attends conventions to acquire limited-edition pieces. He is reluctant to reveal the monetary value of his collection, but the cars are divided among his cellar, rented storage and a bank safety-deposit box. The bank is where he keeps his most expensive Hot Wheels, some of which are worth between $25,000 to $30,000, he says. In his cellar, there are boxes on top of boxes, filled with mint-condition miniature cars in their original packages. There are Hot Wheels of virtually every shape and color, including 24-karat gold Hot Wheels. Miniature cars are piled into dusty glass display cases. Somehow, Scangorella navigates easily around the room, digging up cars and telling a different story about how each was acquired. Hes missing only four of the main collection, he says: One is the legendary pink Beach Bomb Volkswagen, worth about $100,000. Thats too much money, he says. The most he has ever paid for a car is $3,000.
The cellar is decorated with Hot Wheels curtains, Hot Wheels neon signs, and cardboard displays bought from Toys R Us and McDonalds. Scangorella has them all: Hot Wheels jacket, Hot Wheels wall clock, pen, even a pair of boxer shorts sewn into a cushion. Theres nothing that he has that doesnt say Hot Wheels, says his wife, Lynn. When hes not doting on his collection in the cellar, Scangorella is at the New Jersey Diecast Collectors Club, where he formerly served as president. There are about 60 members, and they come from all over the state to discuss upcoming models, trade cars and hold races. Its also a place where die-cast fans can relate to one another about this passion. Collecting lets you relive a little bit of your childhood and lets you own something you wish you can have in real size, says Carl Pomponio of Cranford, vice president of NJDCC who owns about 15,000 Hot Wheels. But this passion of collecting started out with obsessing over cars and acquiring pieces, and it truly developed into gaining friends and camaraderie.
Pomponio and Scangorella have friends all over the country. They meet at conventions and stay in touch during the year, they say. There is only one other thing in the world that Scangorella values as much as Hot Wheels: My family, he says. Ive got kids, and thats important to me, I guess. Luckily, hes never had to choose one over the other. His wife collects Barbie dolls and carousel horses, so she understands the motivation. His children, while they dont share his passion for Hot Wheels, often bring him a few die-cast cars as gifts. But perhaps this is a passion that skips a generation. One of his grandchildren is already showing promise. The 7-year-old has collected about 3,000 cars so far many of which came from Grandpa and has shown an interest in acquiring more. He recently asked me, When you die, who gets your cars? Scangorella laughs. I dont know!
Here you are devolve, this should interest you. Shoot, I need to check out my son’s old Hotwheel collection in the closet! In a Hotwheel’s case too.
Men and their toys.
Are those like ones in your collection?
Top one is
My idea for John Schultz*s broken AC Bristol was to drip in a Chevy V8
Shelby saw it at Opa Locka when ge was driving Bircage #98 there
They had to use Ford V8s, flair the fenders, modify the suspension - whip the Ferraris!
The bottom is Steve McQueen*s *56 Jag XK-SS - one of a few modified D-Jag for the street when Jag got stuck with unsold obsolete D-Types
He ought it fot $5,000 used in LA in *57
Nice wheels - McQueen had it painted BRG, modified the 6 more, put a door on the glove box, did black leather interior
It*s worth mega-millions now -
[My idea for John Schultz*s broken AC Bristol was to drip in a Chevy V8]
Yes, I know you did all that.
Plus - it’s HARD to drip a V8 in, snicker.
I’ll make a bet you are lying down typing on your keyboard, lolol. Sleepytime!!
I like the top one you have.
I have two of those VW bugs but dont know if they are Read-Loaders? One is metallic pink and the other is metallic pea-green? Any ideas on what I should do with them? They’re in my mom garage in another state but i remember them well.
I recall helping Baby Walton drop a flathead For V8 in a *36 Phaeton
Under a big shade tree beside his house!
The chain he used on the hoist was not as big or strong as it should have been!
Shultz*s engine swap was done in a shop on Dixie Hwy.
Lauderdale is a big deal now for classic cars - A private museum there too
Money money money
Classic cars are popular most everywhere. Not necessarily those fancy sports cars but real oldies like my 57 Lincoln.
There are groups set up at many festivals showing their old cars.
Did the ‘drop’ go clear through the car to the ground?
Walton used an old chain hoist hanging from a big branch of the tree
But he used an old rusty bicycle chain around the engine - and it broke
Luckly nobody lost any toes
Well I think I’d be standing waaaay back while they did that!!
My brother was there too
The 3 of us caught the engine as the chain broke
Yikes! But I was forgetting that someone had to be right there in order to position it right!! Lucky no one was hurt.
In the shop I rig the hoist so it moves sideways
The car can be slowly rolled forward of back
We use aircraft grade bolts on everything and the best chain we can buy
Easiest cars to drop an engine into were the XKE Jags
The whole forward tilting front section forward of the doors and windshild can be removed at the front hinges
You can walk right into the engine compartment then
It’s like Tinker Toys with power hoist and air wrenches then
You can swap in an enigine in under 10 minutes with a Corona in one hand if you set things up safely and correctly
My brother gave me his banged up ones to play with, but kept his pristine ones that came in the corvette shaped box. He is holding on to those until his son is old enough to care for them.
BEAUTIFUL cars!! I’ll take two...lol
[You can swap in an enigine in under 10 minutes with a Corona in one hand if you set things up safely and correctly]
Lol, and I’m sure you DID - many times!
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