kinda wordy NASCAR catch up post
I sold a couple of big ticket items on eBay and it gave me an excellent excuse to "catch up" on my 1:24 NASCAR Diecast collection. 5 new NASCAR diecasts hit my mailbox over the past few weeks.
It's, honestly, a strange time to be a diecast NASCAR collector... Since Lionel has a monopoly on the market it's really hard to justify pulling the trigger on some of these when they are brand new. When you do, it's a bizarre market that is easily swayed either way by the driver's popularity. Lionel cars, when new are usually 50 to 70 dollars USD sometimes around $100 for special editions/autographed versions etc. That's a good chunk of change! Some of the older cars are increasing in value depending on rarity/popularity while others are decreasing for the same reason. Despite a huge difference in quality over the years (more on that later).
At the top right is Red Bull Racing's 2009 car driven by Brian Vickers. The most expensive purchase of the group. This has been a "grail" car of sorts for me for a LONG time. I love the Red Bull livery and was terribly sad when they left the sport (it was a tough few years for them). 2009 was the high water mark for the team with 1 win during the season and a brief championship round 1 appearance. I've been wanting this car in my collection for ages and its nice to finally have it!
Below that is Brett Moffitt's 2018 Atlanta Race Winner Aisin Group truck with Autograph. Brett is, hands down, the most underrated driver in NASCAR right now. Evidenced by the fact that I was able to purchase this truck for a pathetic $20 brand new. Sometimes it's just good to wait.
Next one down is Bubba Wallace's "Warthog" paint scheme from 2020 Lionel Elite. Easily the best looking car of 2020 (prove me wrong). This is one that I didn't want to wait too long to purchase because Lionel only made 212 of these and it just looks amazing. I have a sneaky feeling that this will be one of the most memorable cars of his career and could very well increase in value.
On the top right is Denny Hamlin's 2019 Darlington Throwback car dedicated to Darrell Waltrip's Western Auto paint scheme. I loooooooved the Western Auto Paint Scheme and was kinda sorta Waltrip fan during my early ears of NASCAR fandom. I'm not a huge Hamlin fan, but he's grown on me over the years. I respect his driving capabilities. However, this one was the most disappointing purchase of the group since I paid true retail and it has paint flaws. Mainly because its not an "elite" version the quality is lightyears worse. So, I kinda feel like a schmuck for purchasing this one because it's imperfections leave me feeling burnt.
Finally... on the bottom right we have Ryan Newman's rookie car from 2002 Elite version. So, lets talk about popularity again here. When Ryan was a rookie he was super popular in 2002. In 2003 he lit the racing world on FIRE with 7 wins for the season! Since then he's been good for a random win once a year. Understandably his popularity has gone downhill. I like Ryan so I finally picked up his Elite Rookie car which once was a $100 item for a paltry $13 bucks. Once again... good to wait? I guess... 20 years is a long wait.
The tanked older car market blows me away really especially with the Elite cars. The Newman Rookie car has a crazy amount of details that are no longer present on the current Lionel offerings. Because back then... Action racing (now Lionel) had to compete with Racing Champions, Team Caliber, and several other diecast makers on the market. They were all pushing each other to make better cars with better features. I sorely miss that!
Thanks for reading since you made it this far! I'm going to do a comparison article showing the differences between the elite cars over 20 years.
Which car should I do a full review of first? :)