I met David (@deescustoms) at the one and only Hot Wheels Collectors Nationals event that I have attended (2019 Lombard, IL). He was one of the few people there that recognized me from my Championdjk YouTube channel. At the time he was focused mostly on customizing Hot Wheels. He decided to start a YouTube channel in early 2020 and had the ambitious idea of creating a video reference for all of the 2020 Hot Wheels mainline models (including the store exclusives). This project turned into a playlist of 35 videos. It really puts into perspective how large an assortment one year of the Hot Wheels Mainline is…
When I first started seriously collecting Hot Wheels, about mid 2016, I wanted to find a checklist of the models offered. I remembered as a child that the cards used to offer a checklist on the back. But with 250 cars according to the collector number, that would be almost impossible.
I ended up finding online resources like HW Collectors News and Fandom Wiki, which were perfect to help me see what models existed in the 25+ years since I had seriously bought diecast.
I also came across Lamley and his unboxing videos, and learned about chases and recolors. I went to a local Hot Wheels show and was completely caught off guard with the number of people who collected these little diecast cars. It was initially very overwhelming.
Fast forward to years later, now a member of my local club and a Lamley subscriber, I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about Hot Wheels and diecast from other brands (i.e. Auto World, Mini GT etc…). I ended up thinking to myself, no one had ever done a video based checklist. Not that I had seen, at least.
Surely, there were other collectors who sought after certain models and would have an interest in a series dedicated to opening every model released in an entire year. So I set out to create one.
In January 2020, I started opening an example of every model that was considered part of the mainline. I built my own wall cases to house them in order by collector number. I began by keeping the videos shorter, showcasing a few models in order at a time. But, as the year progressed my videos became all the new models and recolors offered by the case assortments.
Of course, buying by the case every month was not always practical since there are a lot of repeats of models I don’t personally collect. We all know the Super Treasure Hunts and ID chases won’t be found in every case. Also, there are the Store exclusives which are not found in regular cases. So achieving completion meant resorting to other means. And then there was the largest challenge of collecting in 2020, Covid-19. No more night-time pallet raiding and distribution all but ceased for many stores. In the beginning, I was wary about shopping in stores at all, resorting to curbside pickup for basic essentials and working from home.
But as 2020 came to a close with the GameStop exclusives being the last of the 2020 mainlines (how apropos that even that ended up having issues), I have completed a series of videos with one example of every single mainline release.
It ended up being almost 450 individual models! I did have to resort to helpful collectors on Instagram, or Ebay. I am fortunate that I have all the stores near me that had exclusives, like Kroger, Dollar General, and Gamestop, but I still had a hard time finding all of the recolors on my own. Not every assortment of ZAMACs or Red Editions made it to my neck of the woods, and the Walgreens near me never has more than one peg of Hot Wheels.
So, after a year of driving all over town hunting those elusive models an1`d store exclusives, or resorting to paying Ebay prices, what did I accomplish? I was able to get an appreciation for more models that the Hot Wheels designers created from scratch.
I also got a sense of satisfaction to completely fill up a wall display (and overfill!) of an entire year’s worth of Hot Wheels. Many times I have found myself just sitting in my office just looking at my wall display. I’m sure other collectors with wall displays do the same thing.
Now the 2020 models have been put away to make room for the 2021 models to take their place. I’m looking forward to that sense of satisfaction again as I put each model in their respective place and watch it all come together to make a cool display to catch myself admiring once more.