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Do you drive your Mopar? Do you open your Hot Wheels?

Do you play with them or do you leave them in the package? You really can't do both. Do you have a display case and/or boxes of unopened toys or do you throw the packaging away on your way out of the store? Hot Wheels lose value when they come out of the package the way new cars lose value as they drive off the lot and Hot Wheels are cheaper and easier to store in their original packaging. But then how are you going to play with them? It's fascinating how people's attitudes about their Hot Wheels relate to their attitudes towards the full sized cars.

I always unwrap my toys and my real cars are generally half assembled to somewhere between street freak and full race trim. Anything that I get that's comfortable either gets sold or given to the wife. That's okay, all the heated leather in the world won't replace a 440 cubic inch V8 with headers for me. Putting a stout package into a wagon, 4 door, or some other p.o.s. allows me to play with it in the sand box with all the other boys and girls who still open a Hot Wheel once in a while.

I want my children to have an instinctive, easy feel for wicked Mopar muscle cars, so in addition to violating the typical 1/64th scale super market impulse scores, I invest in high quality 1/18 scale cars, open them, and let the little bruisers loose with them. Wheels come off, paint gets scratched, and parts get lost. Of course I throw the packaging away, that's what you do with trash! I like to think that if they're ever done with them I'll make a junkyard diorama out of them. My three-year-old son has a couple of '63 Max Wedge Dodges, a '64 Hemi Dodge, and a copy of the Stahl Engineering Racemaster Special '66 Hemi Plymouth. He's built a dirt track for them in the yard and he drives those cars hard.

Years ago I was at a big Mopar show and as I went through '62-'65 B-body section this one car really knocked my socks off. It was a '65 Dodge Coronet A990 clone, a copy of perhaps the second most wicked Hemi-powered hot rod ever produced by the factory. The guy had done a really nice job on it. In addition to the above mentioned elephant motor, it had an immaculately restored red interior, which really set off the flawless off-white exterior. It also had discreetly widened steel wheels holding modern street rubber and a modern dual pot master cylinder disc brake system. It even had good seat belts.

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