This week’s episode features something that countless racing enthusiasts wore this Richard Petty Driving Expirence suit to race in real race cars on real tracks.
A replica Bobby Labonte suit from his days with Ask.com in 2009, which has been made by Simpson
Pit crew member Tom Johansen was involved with this prototype suit from 2006.
A collection of NASCAR, and NHRA race used equipment, including parts and sheet metal.
A collection of NASCAR, and NHRA Starting Lineup figures from the late 1990’s.
A collection of NASCAR,IndyCar and NHRA mini helmets from across the years
For the 12 season premier, we will look at my collection of Nationwide, Camping World Truck, IndyCar and NHRA die casts
How I have gone as long as I have without delving into the subject of die casts? I really don’t know, but for this week’s column, we are going to discuss it. Racing as a sport is half man, half machine. When it comes to collectibles, they both get virtually equal billing. One of the biggest collectibles in racing is the legendary die cast car.
Die cast cars began as an industry in the early 20th Century, but the early cars were very basic, with a simple body design and rolling wheels. They were of very poor quality, lacked detail, and often broke for no apparent reason. An zinc-based alloy named Zamak solved this problem. In 1953 Jack Odell, co-owner of Lesney Products in England had a moment that revolutionized the industry forever. His daughter went to a school that allowed the students to bring toys, provided they were small enough to fit in a matchbox. He created a small die cast steam roller that could easily fit in a matchbox. For the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, he created a similarly sized model of her Coronation coach. After selling 1 million of these small coaches, he realized he was on to something, and thus the Matchbox line of die cast cars was born. In 1968 Mattel launched the Hot Wheels brand, which, like Matchbox created cars in 1:64 scale, or S-Scale for railroading. In 1997 after being sold numerous times, Mattel bought Matchbox and has been fostering the brand ever since.
Race cars are a popular version of die casts, as most boys who love racing will buy the die cast of their favorite driver, and play with it as if they are driving the car. I’m guilty of this, as I’m willing to bet the majority of racing fans are, if you don’t believe, check this out. In the beginning, die casts were marketed and sold to kids, but as time went on, it became clear that grown up fans liked these as well. So die cast manufacturers began to create larger “adult collectibles,” typically in either 1:18 scale, or 1:24 scale, or one of the accepted G scales. The adult die casts will feature alcohol and tobacco sponsors, and are much more accurate in design, with cloth window nets, and working hoods, decklids, and roof spoilers. As time progressed, these cars gained a very dedicated following, and have become very profitable for NASCAR, IndyCar and F1. Interesting to note that the standard size for NHRA and NASCAR die casts is 1:24 and 1:64 whereas IndyCar uses 1:18 and 1:64 and F1 use 1:18 and 1:43. NASCAR die casts can also be purchased in 1:43, 1:32, and 1:18, here is how they compare to each other:
An adult collectible die cast as mentioned above, is very accurate, such as this Jamie McMurray example from 2010. The amount of accuracy in this design is stunning! The window net is made of cloth,the contingency decals are all accurate
the roof features a place for the in car cameras, as well was a pair of functioning roof spoilers.The hood opens to display a very accurately recreated engine.Whereas this Dale Earnhardt Jr. die cast, this one a children’s toy has a plastic window net, the contingency decals aren’t as accurate,the roof does not feature working roof spoilers, or an in-car camera pod,and the hood doesn’t open.If we look at an IndyCar die cast, we see some different things. This example is an Alex Barron example from 1998, purchased because I have the matching driver suit. This particular die cast is a 1:18 scale, and features a working suspension that when you move the wheels move the steering wheel. Everything else about the car, including the helmet and driver suit are perfect as compared to the real car. Everything that I just said about the Jamie McMurray die cast can also apply to this Dale Earnhardt IROC model. Again the accuracy in this design is amazing! One of my personal favorie die casts is this Cruz Pedregon 1:32 die cast from 1998. The body can be removed from the rest of the car to reveal details of the car. Haulers, which are used to transport cars to and from races, but they aren’t made as much today as they used to, sadly. This example is a Ricky Rudd example from the early 1990’s. Now we move from replica cars to the real ones as we get to…
PAINT SCHEME REVIEWS
Brad Keselowski #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford Fusion Very solid design, the yellow works very well, and the black numbers and stripes work very well, and I can’t give it anything less than an A+
Brad Keselowski #2 Wurth Ford Fusion Another very solid design with a great color scheme that earns an A+
Dave Blaney #77 Plinker Arms Ford Fusion I would love for the side design to be more simplified. It is a decent scheme, but the door design is too busy, and it is very distracting. I give this scheme a C-, bad design, good color scheme.
Ryan Truex #83 Borla Exhaust Toyota Camry This is actually a great scheme, with the oversized exhaust design that starts on the area where the real exhaust starts, and extends to just under the numbers. The number has been redesigned since last year and they work very well. I give this scheme an A.
In Memorandum 2013 Continued.
Andy Granatelli-Former CEO of STP, partially responsible for STP’s sponsorship of Richard Petty.
Bruce Pepper-Brother of ThorSport Racing GM David Pepper.
Dennis Wood-Former owner of Phoenix International Speedway
Now comes the best news of the new year so far…THE ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA STARTS LATER TODAY! The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship starts off the racing season later today. Fox will carry the first part of the race starting at 2PM/1PM CST, and Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 will carry the race as well. You had better believe I will be watching and enjoying it.
For the season finale of the 10th season of Introduction to Sports Memorabilia, I present this Kasey Kahne driver suit which he wore at the 2005 Detroit Auto Show.
You know me for driver suits, but i also collect other things besides suits. Aside from helmets and other uniform items, i also collect other race-used items from the cars. Racing is half man half machine, and items from the machine make unique collectibles as well.
One of the most obvious things is sheet metal. Stock cars consist of a roll cage which contains the engine, suspension, and driver compartment. Covering that is what is called “sheet metal” which is a thin metal that has the shape of the car and where the paint scheme is added. The cars are “skinned” after each race. The sheet metal from cars has become a huge collectors market. Pieces can be as small as 1 inch squared, such as this Carl Edwards piece, or huge, such as this Sterling Marlin door.
Tires are also popular to collect as well. Tires can be purchased whole, but since they can weigh as much as 90 pounds, they are often cut up and the pieces are sold, like sheet metal. This example, used by Kevin Harvick in the 2002 Daytona 500 is an example. it gives a good example of the thickness of the tire, and the cords are visible as well. This Kyle Petty/John Andretti card has two small pieces of tire, each used by the respective driver in the card. These are popular, and everything from suits to caps, to sheet metal wind up in cards.
Race-used lug nuts go hand in hand with tires. Lug nuts are used once, and then sold after the race, such as these Tony Stewart examples. Lug nuts are Super glued to the rim, and one of these still has superglue residue on it.
Mechanical components, especially engine components are interesting to collect, as there is no better representation of man and machine than a part of the heart of the machine. For example, I have a brake rotor used by John Andretti in the 1998 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte, which has been signed by Richard Petty. This is a set released after Jimmie Johnson won his first sprint cup title back in 2006. It contains a series of pieces used by Johnson, including a piece of sheet metal from his door,
I discussed this pit board from Chad McCumbee earlier in the year
Jamie McMurray #1 Cessna Chevy SS Black with silver numbers and white trim looks simple and really good. I can’t say anything bad about this scheme, and bonus points for improving the door number design. A+
Jamie McMurray #1 McDonald’s Chevy SS Same great design as last year, same A grade.
Austin Dillon #3 Dow Chevy SS Take the white stripe down the side off, and it will be a solid A scheme. The white does not look good at all. The red/white/black color scheme works very well, and it is decently designed, so I will give it a B+
Danica Patrick #10 Go Daddy Chevy SS Not only does Go Daddy continue to use the worst shade of yellow in NASCAR, they also have given the worst shade of orange a more prominent role in the car. Givng this car an F is a very fair grade.
Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade
Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade
Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade
Denny Hamlin #11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same C+ grade
Casey Mears #13 Geico Ford Fusion The yellow they use is awful, and the side design is just too lowd, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. NOS Ford Fusion I love this color scheme, however, I don’t love the side design. It has too many different different designs, all of which would work on their own but combined they look like a jumbled mess. I really want to like this scheme, but I just can’t, so I’ll give it a C-
Clint Bowyer #15 5 Hour Energy Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same B+ grade.
Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s Toyota Camry Same scheme as last year, same A+ grade.
Kurt Busch #41 Haas CNC Chevy SS Great color scheme and a very simple desgin look very good here. I also like the matte black used, and the door numbers look really solid. Can’t give this scheme anything less than an A
Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevy SS Same scheme as last year, but I never gave it a grade. So here is my analysis Not a great scheme, too much needless design on the side of the car, and the silver background is just brutal. The red lettering on a green background is unattractive at best, and all in all, this is a D- grade.
Carl Edwards #99 Aflac Ford Fusion This has a terrible color scheme, with lime green, neon blue, black and white. The wing design is not only ugly but would work better starting at the door and working behind.