Refurbishing Old Hot Wheels Toy Cars

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Refurbishing Old Hot Wheels Toy Cars

A YouTuber going by the name of baremetalHW has a channel where he details all of the refurbishing projects he undertakes on Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. As you might imagine, original, mint condition versions of these two lines of vintage toy cars can fetch big money at auction, selling for hundreds, even thousands of dollars. But you can get really beat up, rusted, and otherwise sad-looking examples of these vintage cars for a couple of bucks and then you can nurse them back to at least a glimmer of their former glory.

One of the things I like about baremetalHW is that he’s not interested in refurbing and flipping these cars for profit, even though one can get $25, $50, $75 for a well-refurbished car. He’s doing it for the love of the toys and the process of restoring them. And, as he points in one of the videos, he’s actually refurbing these cars to keep his own collector’s addiction at bay. Buy doing it all himself, he gets to have examples of rare, expensive models in his collection without spending hundreds of dollars on them.

By watching these videos, you will learn a number of useful stripping, repairing, painting, and finishing techniques. He likes to experiment with different techniques and painting and finishing products to see which give the best results.

Even if you’re not likely to restore the toy cars of your youth, there are many techniques explored here that you can use in other hobbies and DIY projects. Besides refurbishing Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, he also does videos of his Mad Max/Road Warrior conversions, which are also fun to watch.

Here are a few of my favorite videos from the series. These are all Hot Wheels cars that I owned as a kid.

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[H/t Boing Boing]

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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