So here's my trip down memory lane...
My collecting habits started in the late '60's when California Shell stations would give away Redline Spectraflame Hot Wheels on a fill up. I remember getting these with my dad as a kid. Of course, all of those childhood cars are long gone, lost in the sandbox of time. I've always enjoyed watching racing too. Indycar and NASCAR from the 1960's and 1970's with drivers like Bobby and Al Unser, Johnny Rutherford, Richard Petty and David Pearson.
When Plymouth and eventually DODGE pulled out of NASCAR in the early 1980's my interest went with it. This was the time my service in the Corps began so I didn't have time to pay attention anyway.
Spin the clock to 1996... NASCAR was running DODGES again! Albeit in the Truck Series. And a cool little company called Racing Champions was producing replica diecasts of them. With my new-found employment as a teacher and some extra cash, the collecting game was afoot... I also discovered a little diecast collector's magazine called "Diecast Digest." They had a website with a chat and bulletin board which eventually became a forum. There, I met David (DavidinFL who is a member here now too) and Brewster Ben of BDTB. We were CHC to the bone and had many members with additional involvement from Pat Meyer, CEO of Racing Champions NASCAR Marketing and Lonnie Boutte', VP of Action-Performance NASCAR Marketing. In 2001, DODGE made their Cup return and all bets were off with my collecting habits... LOL!
Eventually, the Diecast Digest magazine folded (no pun intended) and the forum was moved to a private server to become the Diecast Warriors. Our "Chief" quit collecting and involvement and handed the reigns of the Warriors over to Mike. Soon thereafter the leadership of that forum broke our longest and most sacred cardinal rule... NO ADS WHATSOEVER (ebay or otherwise). From that point on, the Warriors site's focus became a place for people to primarily shuck their goods, rather than a place where collectors helped collectors. And with the huge influx of those types of members, the situation was irreversable. The death of Diecast Warriors was slow and painful.
I found this site in 2005, at least that's what my join date is, (it seems earlier than that to me... I thought there was a rendition of The Collector's Lounge in '04, but anyway...) as an alternative/addition to the Diecast Warriors. Overall it is was a good decision to become a member. I have met many good folks here in addition to my friends I had and still have from the Warriors site. Much like the DCD forum, I have spent a great deal of time building relationships and friendships with folks in the diecast industry, and ultimately asking them to sign on as members here (i.e. John Ludwig of Mattel NASCAR Racing, Jeff Gilbert of Checkered Flag Sports, Thomas DeBoyance of RCCA/Lionel, Tom West and Brian Gittings of Milestone Development, Allie Rudd of Greenlight Collectibles, Peggy Haverland of Round2/Autoworld, Jim Hannigan of Toolbox Treasures, and Phil Blount and Brian Shore of University of Racing). My approach to my membership and collecting may seem "overly direct" to some and make them feel uncomfortable, but I have always tried to balance that with heavy emphasis on CHC, the welfare of this site, and having an independent mind whether it is topics like RCCA or assisting members to find that one, true MOPAR gem. Sadly as of 2013, us MOPAR faithful are kicked to the curb (AGAIN!) and have no NASCAR teams to cheer for or current NASCAR diecasts to collect. It's like 1977-1995 all over again. Our only hopes are series and products from the NHRA and hopefully some old-school DODGE diecasts forthcoming from the University of Racing @Plan B Sales. Otherwise we're screwed and will need to find another hobby. Sorry for the long-windedness, I missed a lot, I'm sure, but far be it from me to say it in one sentence. :tease:
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