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Mattel Pixar Diecast CARS: Just Starting to Collect …

Welcome to CARS diecast … collecting them is only slightly crazier than the people actually collecting them 🙂

Of course, the movie is great but the diecast CARS?

Rolling pieces of art …

It’s that simple. Where most other diecast lines and especially licensed diecast lines are just there to promote the movie, the Mattel Pixar diecast CARS is about art, it’s about craftmanship and it’s about breathing life into metal, plastic and paint … much like Pixar creates real, breathing, living characters and storytelling out of digital pixels.

Not only did Pixar spend time crafting the ‘Edwin Kranks’ character above on screen – one of hundreds – just for a few seconds of screen time … for our enjoyment … the creative & production team at Mattel then spent just as much time injecting real art, details and life into it as a 3-dimensional embodiment of it … and honestly, that much dedication should be rewarded. But it’s even better … because we get the reward and prize to take home and put on our shelf … or for those of us who really know how to truly love a diecast car – we make whooshing and crashing noises and ding ’em, bang ’em and send them flying off the table … it’s better if you’re 4-years old but hey, as long as you don’t take out your spouse’s eye 🙂 …

Some of us have been collecting since 2006 and we are busy making lists, checking it twice and spend more time checking out each purchase than we do for ticks after a nude stroll through the heather … and in a way, we envy you just starting out … as you get to see it all through fresh eyes.

We welcome you – you have a long road ahead of you if you decide to go all out but it’s a hella fun road but don’t forget to keep your eye on the real prize – all 200 of them – these little rolling diecasts that will take you away to a better place.

Welcome to the Golden Age of CARS.

The problem is that it can seem overwhelming to start because this is simply one of the MOST successful licensed line EVER. It is the Star Wars of diecast and even more smartly than Kenner/Hasbro did with Star Wars, essentially no CAR has been retired (or ceased production) so EVERY car that was once available is still available (with some minor obscure exceptions) so if you want essentially every CAR that we long time collectors have, you can catch up relatively quickly … okay, that ‘relatively’ word is directly tied into how much time and money you are willing to put into this quest but it is not an impossibility nor even an improbability.

(thanks for the great pic, JD!)

When you see this (okay, it is not too often you will see the shaft of light from heaven in a Wal Mart store), and once you have picked your way past the fainting and bodies of long time collectors, you still wonder where to begin.

The back of the cards are not much help. They show anywhere from 12-15 CARS and often times they do not match what’s actually on the pegs & shelves.

We have a spreadsheet you can use as a checklist but don’t let the huge number of CARS releases scare you off.

What is perfect is that coming in a few weeks is this Collector’s Guide from Mattel which will give you a COMPLETE rundown on all the CARS out and what’s coming in 2009.

The booklet with 135 photos shows you different categories that the CARS fall into (based from the movie) … the townies CARS, the Piston Cup Racer CARS, etc, etc … so you can decide just to start your collection with one category and work your way up and across or whatever you decide, it looks like a great over-view of the line.

You could go down the path of MCL Sydney … who specializes in the Dinoco releases … By the way, the other requirement to collecting CARS seems to be you must have a really cute baby … 🙂

Since 2006, every autumn, we get a new card design – the latest one you’ll be seeing is the WORLD OF CARS: RACE O RAMA card design (above the cute baby).

But the CARS remain the same. There are just new card designs, new multi-pack configurations and of course, box sets but if it just says LIGHTNING McQUEEN, it’s all the same.*

Now, there are many OTHER versions of Lightning McQueen but each version has its own name.

So whether the card design is WORLD OF CARS (2008), SUPERCHARGED (2007) or the plain DESERT ART (2006), it’s all Lightning McQueen … in a multi-pack or a box set, you’re getting the same car … yes, often times, it’s unavoidable to buying some CARS multiple times because of the way they are packaged. It is impossible to out-smart Mattel … 🙄 You can try but you will not succeed … 😕

* There is one exception to the rule with an oddball McQueen but it’s a small one –  unimportant at this point.


First, it’s your collection, you can collect it the way you want to … the easiest starting point is simply to buy the CARS you like, whether you like the character or that particular sculpt speaks to you … and using the booklet, you can keep going … in fact, we all pretty much defy you to stop at 10 or 20 – good luck 🙂

Eventually, you will want them all … at this point, there are approximately 150 CARS in the lineup – again, refer to our spreadsheet (OPENERS LIST) to see them all. But by the end of 2008, we should be at around 180. It can seem a daunting number but again, go at your own pace.

If you buying them to open or to play with, there are people who will trade or sell you loose CARS. Check our TRADING POST and list what you are looking for.

This is the best time of the year to be buying/starting CARS since the shelves will be bulging until December …

This “Shadow Guide” will give you an overview of each of the different configurations within CARS – from the mainline singles cards you are used to seeing to the various sub lines – not all of them available at every retailer.

Because CARS is insanely popular, there are times in a year or at certain stores where the selection is a bit lacking …

Weird but sadly normal for CARS. It’s not as easy as buying TIDE or HOT WHEELS. It’s not you, it’s them … so, you will have to drive around to find them – especially when they are new and just out … If you read our site regularly, there are daily/weekly updates in various posts about what’s coming, what’s out and tips on how to protect your collection from marauding bears (sure, laugh now but a bigger problem than you think! 🙂 ). Yes, it might be confusing why you want to buy something is not on the shelf – surprise, some people think this is fun … we think these same people often dress as marauding bears but that’s another story. So, your degree of “fun” factors into how you intend to go about trying to complete your collection – does fun mean driving around town and making so many retail stops, you have to put up a sign on the back of your car?


Does it mean you can key in UPC’s code into the price scanners at stores to see inventory for 40 miles around you?

Again, it depends on how you’re collecting – you might simply find it easier to buy a SEALED CASE. We try and have listings up long before they are actually available so you can decide if you want to go that route. A sealed case is a factory sealed case of 18 CARS. This assortment changes from case to case so you have to look at that CASE LETTER CODE – which sellers will provide you.

Of course, our sponsor, Children’s Toy Closet is a good way to go but there are other places selling SEALED CASES. (click on any of the banner ads).

Or, as with anything HOT, you will find a jumbling availability on FleaBay (okay, most people call it eBay). It’s probably not the best value for your money but it is an option.

As alluded to earlier, this is the Golden Age of CARS: We have over 150 CARS out and another 50 announced on it’s way that are available as SINGLES, MOVIE MOMENTS, GIFT 3-PACKS, as LAUNCHERS and in BOX SETS. We have adjunct lines including the oversized MEGA SIZED CARS, we have STORYTELLERS, We have CARS TOONS, we have HAULERS & TRACTOR TRAILERS, we have PLAYSETS, we have TRACKS and there’s more … it all sounds scary but you will grow to love every CAR and want to have it all. It’s natural, it’s normal – who doesn’t want to own a multitude of rolling art?

Again, feel free to read through our RECAP PAGE of links to a myriad of topics … and when I get my arm re-attached (no, it’s not what you think, it’s maruading squirrels), I’ll update you on how to drive away bears.

Meanwhile, feel free to ask questions in any of the posts – our readers are happy to help as long as you don’t live closer to their favorite store 🙂 … just kidding!

Of course, if you want to know everything about the first two years of CARS, it’s time to shill for our book! If you want every detail of 2006 & 2007 with over 300 photos & EVERY release – our book has it all. You’ll be caught up to early 2008 and on your way to becoming a full fledged CARSAHOLIC (yea, t-shirts are coming).

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