A.K.A. "RJPARKER" at HWC
Need to know when the Hot Wheels car in your hand was first released? Or which finishes it came in? Then Die-cast Hall of Famer Bob Parker's your man. With four books published to date on collecting Hot Wheels cars, Bob can tell you just about everything there is to know and then some. Meet Bob and find out how he created a career out of our favorite hobby in the annual December "celebrity" edition of the Collector Spotlight!
HWC Eve: How did you get into collecting?
Bob Parker: I started collecting die-cast toy cars at a very young age. Like most boys that grew up in the late '60s and early '70s, I can remember always having Hot Wheels cars around the toy box. Toy cars were always fun to play with, but I became a more serious and dedicated Hot Wheels collector in 1981 when I purchased a 3-pack that included a special black collector's book. This booklet featured pictures and information on over 300 models from 1981 back to the beginning of the Hot Wheels line. Having information available about the entire line was great, and this inspired me to start a small mail order business buying, trading, and selling Hot Wheels.
I started this business when I was an early teen and it helped me generate money to support my collecting. I was corresponding with other Hot Wheels collectors throughout the country and the world, and when I was 20 years old, I was contacted by Schiffer Publishing in Atglen, PA, in regards to putting together a book about Hot Wheels collecting. This was a fantastic opportunity for me and I agreed to take on the project. This book offered pictures of almost all of the Hot Wheels castings produced to date, and a price guide was welcomed by collectors. I currently have four different Hot Wheels books available to help collectors sort through the vast world of collecting these die-cast models.
I continue to collect and I am as active in the hobby of collecting Hot Wheels as I was back when I first started more than 40 years ago.
HWC Eve: How many Hot Wheels cars do you have?
BP: I currently have several thousand Hot Wheels models. Because I have a mail order business, I often have duplicates of many of the models to trade or sell. I also collect all sets, accessories, and other Hot Wheels-related items. I have Hot Wheels stored in my basement, garage, and many of the other rooms in my house. My big challenge is to find room to store all of the boxes I have filled with Hot Wheels items. It is always interesting for me to open a box that has been sitting for awhile and I don't remember what is inside.
HWC Eve: What’s the first Hot Wheels car you had?
BP: I was born in 1967. I know that I had most of the original Red Line models in my collection. I can remember setting up the orange race track and spending hours enjoying racing the models. However, my first memory of actually purchasing a Hot Wheels model in the store is in 1974, when I found the #7630 Top Eliminator in blue with "Flying Colors" logos on the side. I loved the colors on the car and the bonus of an opening hood made this model stand out to me.
HWC Eve: Best Hot Wheels car in your collection?
BP: My best Hot Wheels model in my collection is the 1976 #9521 Army Staff Car. From the first time I saw this model in a picture I knew that I wanted one as part of my collection. This is a very rare model as it was only available in a Military 6 model set. I was lucky enough to find this model in mint condition and this is by far the best model in my collection. The model in my collection had Red Line tires but it was also available with black walls. I would like to someday add that variation to my collection.
HWC Eve: Latest, greatest Hot Wheels release?
BP: The Hot Wheels Convoy Custom is a great casting. This is a very heavy and detailed model, and I think it is one of the best castings recently produced. I know this model is extremely popular with other collectors as well. This model was first released in pink and it is very appealing in this color. I am lucky enough to have this in my collection. It is my understanding that less than 2,000 of this model in the color were produced.
HWC Eve: How do you display your cars?
BP: Most of my collection is stored in cardboard boxes. That is one of the big challenges of collecting is to find space for storage or display. I prefer to collect models that are mint in the original packaging. In addition to the regular 1:64 scale models, sets, and related items, I also collect store displays and advertising.
HWC Eve: Other hobbies/collections?
BP: I have been a member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary for 12 years. The Auxiliary is a volunteer organization that assists the Coast Guard with boating safety and other duties. I am boat crew qualified and can participate in almost all boating activities of the regular Coast Guard with the exception of law enforcement.
HWC Eve: Okay, last question… what’s your fondest Hot Wheels memory?
BP: One of my fondest memories was when I had the opportunity to travel to and attend the very first national Hot Wheels convention in Toledo Ohio in 1987. I rented a small van and my father and I made the 12 hour trip to Toledo with a vehicle full of Hot Wheels to sell and trade. It was a thrill for me to be one of the 100 attendees at that first event and to meet many of the Hot Wheels collectors I had corresponded with for years.
Another great memory for me was when I got word that I had been inducted into the Die-cast Hall of Fame because of my involvement in the Hot Wheels collecting hobby. In February 2009, I traveled to Las Vegas and accepted my nomination with several hundred people in attendance. That was a very special night for me.
- BEST HOT WHEELS CASTING OF ALL TIME: “I would have to say the Hot Wheels VW Bus. This model was first released in 1996, and became an instant classic with collectors. I think that many collectors would agree that the style and weight make this model so unique. This is still the most popular Hot Wheels casting used by customizers.”
- MODEL/COLOR 1:1 SCALE CAR: "I drive a black 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP. This car features a V-8 engine, and is a really fun car to drive. I was very disappointed when the Pontiac line was discontinued several years ago.”
- COLLECTING CLUBS/MEMBERSHIPS: “I was one of the original subscribers and members of the Hot Wheels Newsletter. I am also currently a member of Connecticut Hot Wheels, Connecticut Valley Die-Cast, and the Rhode Island Hot Wheels Club.”
We're always looking for our next collector or custom to spotlight. If you would like to be considered for the HWC Spotlight, we want to hear from you. You could be in the spotlight next!
- First, answer the questions found here: Spotlight questionnaire.
- Include at least ten photos, including one of you! They should be JPG images, and 700 x 500 are best.
- E-mail your answers and images to us at email@example.com.