Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Corny" NASCAR Collectibles

In the world of diecast collectibles, I doubt any one category is as big as NASCAR. From very inexpensive off-brand 1/64 scale (Hot Wheels size) to the very detailed (and often very pricey) 1/24 scale models, if it has ever made a left turn at a NASCAR race, it has probably been issued in diecast. 

Typically, collectors will pick a theme and follow a racing series, a driver, or a team. In my case, I tend to follow sponsors for their flashy and stylish graphics. I personally like the Kellogg's cars. The Kellogg's iconography fits well with my general fondness for pop culture and advertising memorabilia. I also like that a good selection of cars are offered as cereal premiums rather than strictly as collectibles. To me, digging into a box of Cheerios to find a #43 Richard Petty car is way cooler than just picking it off a peg or ordering it online. Additionally, these cereal premiums are still relatively inexpensive. Check around the high shelves in flea markets or in the plastic bags in the bins. Treasures abound.  

However, you like to collect, NASCAR diecast has something to suit your taste and budget. 

I found this six car set that was originally a mail-in premium in 1996 for $5.00 on the shelf of a little flea market in Independence, Kansas. I like it because it includes a car you don't see very often. In 1990, the #97 car, driven by Chuck Brown, was the first NASCAR racer to carry the Kellogg's colors. At the other end of the spectrum, is the 1996 "Iron Man" car specially built to celebrate Terry Labonte's 500+ consecutive starts. It's toys! It's advertising! It's history! That is a nerd triple-play.

1996 Mail-In Kellogg's NASCAR Diecast Set (c) Terri Lynn Coop
Now, these cars I dug out of the Cheerios and Wheaties with my own sticky hands, just like going after the cereal box toy when I was a kid. Man, we at a lot of cereal at my house while the car promo was going on . . . .

2008 Kellogg's Cereal Box Premium

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Horny Mike Horned Helmet Accessories

When I was visiting Count's Kustoms in Las Vegas this August, I was out in the parking lot getting spare disks for my camera so I could keep snapping away until they threw me out. Off to one side, I saw a flash of movement and color as the biggest damn spiked helmet I had ever seen flew by. 

I asked at the office and was told (with a laugh) that I must have seen Horny Mike. I grabbed a business card and did some research. Michael "Horny Mike" Henry is a customizer and airbrush artist for the Count's hot rod and motorcycle shop. As seen by the helmet below, it is obvious that he is also an imaginative and skilled artist.
Horny Mike Custom Helmet (c) Terri L. Coop
Parked in the Count's swag shop is the incredible, stunning, splendiferously radical horned bike built by Mike. Check out the vid, because stills just don't cut it.

I christened this the "Demon Bike" when I saw it in the swag shop at
Count's Kustoms in Vegas. Created by Horny Mike. (c) Terri L. Coop 

Horny Mike has created adhesive helmet horns for the do-it-yourself customizer. To learn more about them and hope of some of the cool rubs off on you, visit his site at You can also keep up with The Count, Horny Mike and the rest of the crew on History Channel's "Counting Cars"

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hood Ornaments: Cruising in Vintage Style

I am always on a photo safari. I carry my camera wherever I go in my hometown of Fort Scott Kansas because the town is a mecca for classic cars. This 1936 Plymouth sitting out in front of La Hacienda was no exception. Photos don't do this beautiful vintage lady justice. 

1936 Plymouth, Fort Scott Kansas: (c) Terri Lynn Coop
However, while a customizer might be curious about what is under the hood, I am a geek for the trim and accessories. This car had a stunning hood ornament in the classic Plymouth sailing ship style. 

Plymouth adopted the sailing ship style in 1935: (c) Terri Lynn Coop

The hood ornament matched the badge on the grille, keeping the sailing ship theme. Plymouth ornaments morphed into airplanes in the 1950s.

When it comes to hood ornaments and chrome, I am more of a virtual collector. I like photographing the chrome on the cars in good natural light. I don't have to worry about them breaking or rusting and I don't have to use my limited display place. Also, price. Hood ornaments can sell for $2.00 to $2000.00 (and more) depending on the rarity. That's a lot of mini-discs for my camera. So, if you see someone in cargo shorts leaning over a classic car on your street, don't call the cops, it's just me and I know to look, but not touch.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fuzzy Dice. Yes, I Said Fuzzy Dice

"You was laughing at me, I was doing James Dean
You was the prettiest girl I'd ever seen
When you rolled your eyes and twirled my pink fur dice."
Sawyer Brown: "Some Girls Do" 1992

So, I like fuzzy dice. Sue me. They invoke a sense of nostalgia and history in me and make me wish I was out cruising and dropping the flag on a street race instead of reading on the Internet about WWII veterans street racing. 

Vintage Fuzzy Dice are the mascot for my
car memorabilia Facebook page (c) Terri L. Coop

On my Vegas trip I searched for the right souvenir
and on Fremont Street, ta-dah! Set to lucky number
seven (c) Terri Lynn Coop

Las Vegas Harley-Davidson Cafe

About halfway through my vacation visiting my friends in Vegas, they both had to work. I know, whatever was I going to do with myself? I had my bestie dump me at the Strip with a promise to call if I needed anything. 

Well, anybody can hang out at a casino. When you've seen one video poker game, you've seen them all. I was much more interested in the sights and sounds of America's biggest outdoor theme park - Las Vegas Boulevard. I started my hike at the Statue of Liberty (you can see her on the right edge) and was way ready for a break by the time I got to the midway point. And to my delight, that included the Harley-Davidson Cafe with the giant bike leaping out of the second floor ready to roar down The Strip. 

Harley Cafe on the Vegas Strip (c) Terri Lynn Coop

This second photo comes from the observation deck at the top of the escalator. The detail is amazing, right down to the logos and chrome. Hah! From this perspective, it looks like the front wheel is sitting on the pavement ready to rock and roll. I even got a shadow.

The Vegas Harley is ready to ride! (c) Terri Lynn Coop

Inside, along with cold beer and hot BBQ is a collection of vintage and customized bikes that roll by on a chain drive in the ceiling. The bikes circle the restaurant then climb out of sight. The restaurant has an amazing collection of celebrity photos and memorabilia as well. A perfect lunch or break stop for a car and motorcycle fan. The Harley-Davidson Cafe is located at 3725 Las Vegas Boulevard and is open from 9 in the morning until midnight, seven days a week.

Harley 1200 Low riding the drive (c) Terri Lynn Coop

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pawn Stars - Viva Las Vegas!

Gold & Silver Pawn at 713 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Home of the "Pawn Stars": (c) Terri L. Coop

No trip to Vegas is complete with a stop at the "Pawn Stars" pawn shop. Well, at least no trip if you are a pop culture junkie like yours truly. My friends were great sports and we headed down there early on a Thursday morning to get in line. My luck was good and we barely had time to get exterior photos before being ushered inside. And, yes, it is hella cool, just like on the show. It is fun to go inside and see what you've seen on TV dozens of times. Yes, I am geeky like that. Unfortunately, Rick and company were in Sturgis at the bike run, so no filming and no stars. But, I'm sure that's why the crowds were lighter. So, it was still a win. I found a nice variety of car collectibles, including diecast and gas and oil signs. 

Get in line early! (c) Terri L. Coop
1:18 scale diecast: (c) Terri L. Coop
Ultimate NASCAR
Collectible: (c) Terri Coop
Ready to drive home: (c) Terri L. Coop


Yes, for $50K, you can have your own 1:1 scale NASCAR racer. Low miles, mostly left turns. Has had several drivers, but still has a lot of life in it. I guarantee you will be the only kid on your block. Also plenty of autographed car memorabilia, sure to please any gearhead. On your way out, check out the great pedal car collection over the showcases. 

Vinrage pedal car: (c) Terri L. Coop

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pimping Your Ridez at Ridemakerz

Toy Shack Bats McQueen: (c) Terri L. Coop
I got my first look at a Ridemakerz custom toy car when I visited the Toy Shack on my trip to Las Vegas. I asked about the clever 1:18 scale Pixar character cars and heard the magic word - Ridemakerz. Intrigued Terri was intrigued. . .

Toy Shack Ridemakerz McQueen: (c) Terri L. Coop
Toy Shack Capt America Tater: (c) Terri L. Coop

So, I visited the Ridemakerz website and found a nerd world so compelling that I ended up playing with the build-a-car app for a couple of hours.

Ridemakerz offers more than Disney cars. You can build realistic racers or fanciful funny cars. There is a radio-controlled chassis option as well.

Ridemakerz also has several stores where you can pull up to the bench and build your car yourself with the help of the on-site service crew. They even will let you have your birthday party there.

Just how freaking cool is that?

Check out the site and have some fun. Watch your cart, your creation can get pricey fast. However, with 649 million possible combinations, it will be a one-of-a-kind. Ridemakerz also offers gift cards that I think would make an awesome gift. *cough* Ya know, if you were having trouble deciding what to do for Christmas. *halo*