Tips, Tricks & Trends

Diecast Car Restorations Are A Thing

As an automotive enthusiast, I can agree with many others that a significant influence in my life as a child was Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and other diecast toys. Set a bunch of these miniature vehicles in front of me and I could easily spend hours playing. But, did you know that there are a lot of people that actually care about these diecasts enough to restore them?

Hot Wheels diecast cars on display
“Hot wheels” made by Mattel are pictured at the Nuremberg International Toy Fair January 29, 2014 in Nuremberg, Germany | Photo by Timm Schamberger/Getty Images

My imagination would go wild with these toys. My cars would be set up accordingly. For example, a sandbox would be transformed into highways with exit ramps into shopping centers. Or, a car dealership would have a vehicle stolen. Then police cars would give chase to the stolen vehicle through my Lego town and then jump, like the General Lee, over things, to get away. Needless to say, after years of use, my diecast cars would end up with paint chips, scratches, or with broken or missing parts.

Hobbies to learn about during quarantine

Stay with me as I am changing gears a bit. During these times of pandemic quarantine, many people have taken to Youtube to pass the time. It’s a great resource to catch up on things or explore a hobby. So, the other day, I was going through Youtube and saw a few channels dedicated to the diecast hobby and culture. There are those that pursue the collectibility of the small cars. There are also channels dedicated to restoring them. 

Restorations

There’s a channel that caught my attention for its painstakingly detailed videos. The channel, baremetalHW, is dedicated to showing people the step by step restoration or modification process of vehicles. This channel includes everything from the tools to use, which paints and waxes to use, to where to get replacement parts. 

As I searched further in Youtube, I found that the channel I mentioned above is not alone in the diecast space. There are people all around the world making individual videos, but also there are entire channels dedicated to the collection, restoration, and modification of diecast vehicles. Some channels are more academic in nature, while others are a little more fun. But, it is a whole subculture to the automotive industry that may not be top of mind for folks, just as it was not for me.

Customization

Much like the real-life automotive culture, there are videos and channels dedicated to every aspect of diecast vehicles. For example, would you like to see a restoration of a Red Line model from the early years of Hot Wheels? If not a restoration, how about modifications, such as big tires and a lift kit? Or, want to learn how to custom 3D print parts to modify body panels on the small vehicles? Just as there are real-life restoration shops, four-by-four shops, and custom shops, there are also videos showing how to do the same to their smaller diecast cousins.

So, if the pandemic quarantine has you going bonkers, maybe sitting down to watch a few videos about diecasts cars being worked on can take care of your anxiousness. Maybe you’ll be inspired to break out your old toys from the basement or garage and look at them in a different light. Restorations of diecast cars are a thing. Is it time to get your kids together, look at the old diecast cars, and start a new hobby together restoring or customizing them?