These Beater Redlines – A Customizers Dream Table

Even without Roger’s endless supply of original redlines, you should have no problem finding ample customizing material. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when selecting a custom candidate:

Popularity – The popularity of a particular casting can go a long way in determining it’s success with admirers. For example, the Hot Wheels VW Bus casting will get more “eeewwws” & “ahhhhs” than a similarly painted Dairy Delivery… and (all things being equal) will most always sell for more on auction (should you decide to sell it). Most customizers would agree that the VW Bus is far & away the most popular HWs casting for customization. Other notable candidates (and somewhat easier to acquire castings) include: the ’67 Camaro, ’57 Chevy, Scooter, Passions, Flashsider, VW Bugs, Mach 1, Viper, ’40 Ford, ’69 Chevy pickup and the Phaeton.  Muscle Machines has also grown in popularity in recent months, as have the new Jada castings.  

You will always be able to find a good home for a well-done custom in one of the castings above, however many tire of the “normalcy” associated with the popular castings.  And, as a customizer (or would-be customizer), you probably harbor that same desire to break free of the norm. When you do, look for castings such as these: late ’80s Rock Buster, ’97 Corvette, Beach Blaster, early (porthole) ’57 T-Birds, Escort Rally, Porsche 959s/930s/GTs, or even an old Baja Breaker!   Maybe challenge yourself and try doing some things with Matchbox, Majorette, Siku, Johnny Lightning, Motormax, Maisto or even Welly.  All of these companies have great pieces waiting to be updated, customized and wheel swapped.  Don’t limit yourself to just HWs or you may be selling your “fodder” short.

Practicality – Some castings simply do not lend well to customizing. They may have plastic bodies, very little surface for painting, or perhaps they’re just plain ugly with little hope of ever being anything else. Some examples: Blimp, Turbo Flame, Road Rocket, Fathom This, Speed-A-Saurus, Power Rocket, and Rodzilla come to mind. But be careful not to overlook these castings too quickly! The Rodzilla, for example, may supply you with a nice engine for that latest ’57 Chevy you’re working on! Which leads me to…

Parts Car? – Popular opinion says that good customs must have “Real Rider” type tires, and many times only special wheels/tires will do on a special piece. But slap a set of chrome 7-spokes on a custom ’32 Ford – don’t they look great! Sure, chrome-hubbed Real Riders, 6-spoke Indy pc wheels, and some of the open-spoke Matchbox Premiere wheels can really set off a nice custom, but many times a more common set of wheels (often overlooked) can look nearly as good!  Pr5s on the most recent HWs are a prime example. Next time you’re at some local show and the dealer in the far corner is clearing out his old blue cards, take a look with an eye on wheel donors… you may be happily surprised.

The Nissan Truck can supply you with another monster motor for some other custom. You can steal surfboards from Deoras or Deora IIs. Wings from Charger Daytonas. And the ever-popular Way2Fast engine looks good in a number of other cars. And finally, you may want to keep in mind that as certain issues change over the years they appear with alternate interiors, windshields, base colors, etc.. The rear wheels of the original Phaeton, for example, are much more desirable than the ones on the latter Hot Rod Magazine series car. But yet, the series car offers a black interior. My solution? Pick up extras of each!

In the end, like so much else in customizing, the choices belong to the customizer. Pick a car, any car… sometimes different is a good thing!!

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