By Crystal Chung @crystalkchung
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Videographer / director: Logan Werlinger
Producer: Crystal Chung, Ruby Coote
Editor: Dan Cousins
The commercial real estate agent from the USA’s East Coast currently owns over 3500 of the miniature toy cars, including 175 unique prototypes that were never released to the public.
Bruce, 55, said: “I was seven years old when my parents came home with a Hot Wheel. I was hooked.”
Bruce’s passion for the iconic model cars blossomed and soon he was tracking down the world’s rarest models.
He explained: “I have spent hundreds and thousands of dollars, buying and acquiring some of the rarest items. But in the end most of them ended up as pretty good investments."
Bruce recently had his Hot Wheels collection appraised and, incredibly, it was valued at over $1 million.
The estate agent also owns one of the world’s rarest Hot Wheels – the pink Roller Beach Bomb – which is worth a whopping $150,000 on its own.
With only 50 of the models made as a prototype, and only two made in the colour pink, the 1969 Hot Wheels VW Beach Bomb Rear-Loader in pink is the scarcest Hot Wheel on the planet.
Pascal explained: “What’s unique about this car is that is was the first attempt that Mattel made at a Volkswagen VW bus and when they made it they put a surfboard on the back side and put a small sunroof on the top of the car.
“This pink Roller Beach Bomb was one of only two made in the colour pink, which was an attempt to sell toy cars to girls. It didn’t do too well because boys bought them and smashed them with their hammers!
“Today this is the finest example, and the most beautiful pink Roller Beach Bomb there is.”
For Bruce, it doesn’t just stop at Hot Wheels toy cars. His collection also includes original drawings that were once used by the President of the company and other memorabilia such as a pinball machine.
But most impressive of all is Pascal’s home office, designed to be an exact replica of the Hot Wheel’s President’s office from 1970.
The extreme collector explained: “At my old house, I had a small office that I really didn’t pay much attention to, but I realised how much time I spent in my office with my Hot Wheels hobby.
“So when I moved, I hooked up with a great architect, Wingate Hughes and I asked him to design me an office that looked like the residence of Mattel in 1970.”
“So for me it’s exciting to go into a Hot Wheels room that looks like a real Hot Wheels room!”
Preserving the history of Hot Wheels is also equally important to Bruce and his dream is to build a museum for the ‘greatest boys’ toy of all time’.
He said: “It’s incredibly important for me to preserve the history of Hot Wheels. It’s the greatest boys’ toy in the history of the world. There’s so much involved in its production.
“My dream one day would be to build a museum to talk about the greatest boys’ toy of all time. And I wouldn’t mind splitting it up with collectors of the Barbie doll.
“Elliot Handler was the founder of Hot Wheels. His wife Ruth Handler worked at the same company and she was his partner. She invented the Barbie doll in 1958.
“Imagine that, a married couple where the wife created the number one girls’ toy in the history of the world and the husband invented the number one boys’ toy in the history of the world. These are items that deserve to be told the history of.”
With the collection being worth in excess of $1 million, it comes as a surprise that Bruce has never thought about selling it. But he has high hopes that his collection will receive the same level of appreciation as other collectables.
He explained: “I must say when you tell friends that you collect Hot Wheels, you don’t get the same reaction as when you tell them that you collect artwork or you collect baseball cards.
“My goal in life is to elevate the hobby so you get the same level of appreciation.
“But many people look at me with bewilderment and say, ‘You collect those toy cars that I played with when I was a kid?’
“And I proudly answer, ‘Yes, I do!”