It been a whirlwind last week for me as I traveled to Los Angeles for the 32nd Annual Hot Wheels Collectors Convention. Due to an early flight out, attempting to sleep in the LAX terminal, and some dedicated family time… I am just now, kind of waking up in a Hot Wheels world, post convention. For those that have never been, the convention is truly a unique forum in which Hot Wheels collectors from around the world gather, and nerd-out until the wee hours of the morning discussing diecast.
Every year, I tell myself that I will A) Remember to eat, and B) Go to bed at a reasonable hour… and C) Not blow my funds on the first day. For the most part, I have been pretty good with C, but its A and B I have a problem with every year. In terms of my funds, those are usually reserved for the last day, where I tend to go on a shopping spree. This year was no different as I spent more money than I did the previous three days, on one purchase: a prototype of the #Cool-One from the Bruce Schultz collection.
For me, the #Mark Jones Designed #Cool-One is one of those castings that I just had to have every release/variation/version of. Since it was first shown on the 2004 poster as “Ice Blox” I had made up my mind that I would collect it. 14 years later, and in more than 20+ years of collecting, two of my top five most expensive cars (in terms of money I shelled out for) were Cool-Ones.
The prototype market isn’t what it used to be with the number of ways you can acquire one now — and the fact that Malaysia seemingly makes their own now… With the selling of former employee collections to the likes of Bruce Baur, Bruce Schultz and of course, Larry Wood; more and more prototypes have found their ways into collector-hands.
That is actually where the prototype I have for you today came from. Straight from an employee collection, courtesy of Mike Bunge and team who notoriously purchased the Larry Wood collection a couple years back. I found Mike’s room at the convention while avoiding the line for the finale Saturday night. It was more of a stop to gaze at said prototypes where I usually concede to the fact that their price exceeds what I am willing to spend for a Hot Wheels car. Given that the #Cool-One is not a desirable casting to most collectors by any means, Mike offered me a deal that I did not want to pass up… and as of Saturday night, I owned my first Hot Wheels Prototype … well, first with paperwork. 😉
I had chased after a “barbie-skin” prototype for years as I feel like these “first shots” are some of the more true prototypes — and certainly, some of the more fascinating. The fact that — what is termed as — “first shots” are no longer a step in the Mattel design process makes this part of history — and, the flesh-colored interior piece mixed with raw ZAMAC is just cool. Mismatched, even defective, wheels are commonly found on Hot Wheels prototypes. These first shots aren’t suppose to be pretty, they were simply produced to make sure all the individual pieces fit together and the design is what the designer had intended it to look like.
The #Cool-One I purchased in LA will rank as one of my more prized Hot Wheels possessions. Its crazy to think that this one was produced before that first Cool-One I found — back in October 2004 in a Walmart in Shawano, Wisconsin — ever hit the shelves. It is now the latest addition to my Cool-One collection!