Describe your collection.
In my personal collection, I have about 12,000 different HO scale slot cars from the 1960s through 2010. If you include what I have in my store, Slot Car Central, that’s about 100,000 items. I’m more of a collector than a racer. I do enjoy racing and have a tub track in the shop and at home, but there’s always someone else who wants to win way more than I do.
I like the fun of racing and the fact that an eight-year-old can beat a 28-year old and they can both be beaten by their 86-year-old grandma. Yearly, I have a father, son, and grandson stop in at the store to race together. That’s a lot of fun for me.
When and why did you start collecting Hot Wheels?
Do you remember a show from the 1980s called LA Law? My wife and I used to watch it when it originally aired. I can’t stay still for an entire episode so one evening I reached into a closet for an old tackle box with about 100 slots cars inside and started to refurbish them while I watched television. I thought I was the only person on earth who still had them but I learned about a group of guys who raced slot cars in my area. I took a dozen or so cars with me to their meeting one night and it was a feeding frenzy. They loved what I had; I smelled an opportunity.
I put an ad in the local paper – slot cars wanted – and found entire collections. I would spend $100 on a collection, take what I wanted, and sell the remainder for $150. That lit a fire under me; I became a dealer. I blame my wife for not stopping me. One day, I noticed a store for sale in my neighbourhood as the guy was just putting the sale sign in the window. I called him up and bought the store. It’s a 10,000 square-foot space. Ninety-five percent of my business is mail-order but people drive from all over to see the store. A bunch of guys from Canada come down to shop in person. You could go through my store a dozen times and find something new each visit. The hunt is part of the fun and sometimes you don’t know you wanted something until you see it.
How do you display and store your collection?
We built an addition on our house. My wife got a nice master bedroom and living room; I got the basement. I built a 1500-square-foot basement with a 12-foot ceiling so I could go vertical with my displays. There’s a full-size Brunswick pool table among my displays of cars, and a tub track for racing. The only thing that makes me different from a hoarder is that I’m organized.
What do you consider to be the Holy Grail of slot cars?
The 1968 Aurora Dodge Charger in orange with black stripes. I’ve seen it as high as $1200. Maybe the Aurora RCMP Rebel Charger, also. It wasn’t sold in the United States and can be difficult to find. I have two rules in life: never love anything that can’t love you back; and, I won’t spend over $200 on a slot car. I’ve regretted that $200 limit mightily.
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a slot car collection?
Start on my Slot Car Central website. Search for what you loved as a kid, maybe it was a specific manufacturer or style, and see what’s available at the lowest price. If something never goes up in value but you still like it and it didn’t cost that much, you’ll be happy.
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