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Friday Slide Show: Hot Wheels Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

8 March 2019

We hadn't lived in the new place very long when, walking by Glen Canyon, we came across a small black metal toy car on the sidewalk. That stretch of the walk was not a place anyone would have returned to look for a lost toy. So we rescued it.

It was a wicked looking thing so we put it on a bookcase shelf to admire it now and then. And it sat there for years and years.

When we cobbled together our macro setup of a reversed 35mm lens on a Micro Four Thirds body, we took it down from the shelf, gave it a dusting and took some close-ups.

We also took some wider full-body shots with the kit lens because the macro shots need a little context. We weren't too concerned about deep focus on the macro shots because we focused on what interested us about the design and let the rest fade away, almost as if the car were moving.

Then we did a little research.

The full name of the toy car is the Hot Wheels 2005 AcceleRacer RD-06 Black Green Light-Up McDonalds Diecast Car. It was given with a Happy Meal at MacDonalds in 2005. We must have found it around then.

We had noticed the switch on the bottom of the car but it had always been frozen. When we learned the car lights up, we forced the switch. But no light came on. And there's no way to open the car to replace the old batteries.

It was designed by Eric Tscherne, who worked on the Hot Wheels design team from 1999 through 2004 before going to work for Jada Toys, RC2, Upper Deck and more recently Spin Master. Tscherne was inducted into the Diecast Hall of Fame for is diecast designs as part of the Class of 2011.

You can find a used RD-06 online for between $6 and $7.

Now, why would you want to do that?

Well, it turns out there is a market for restored diecast cars. A number of hobbyist have produced quite mesmerizing videos showing how they dissemble the cars, clean them up, electroplate them, paint them, buff the plastic windows clear, find decals, make new tires or axels and more.

The finished restoration often exceeds the quality of the original.

To get you started on this relaxing viewing habit, here are a couple of lists:

What would make someone spend so much time restoring a diecast toy car? Sure, there's the pleasure in bringing something back to life (more than a few of these look like they've been in a coma for years).

But why bother? Except for a few models, there really isn't much money in it. It's more a hobby than anything else.

We do, however, find it touching that some little trinket would receive so much devotion. It's as if, in a world spinning wildly off its axis, a few people have taken the time to put at least one tiny thing right.

Who knows, they may have a profound if subtle influence on the planet.

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