Although being an Auto Enthusiast since an early age; as a kid I never valued Hot Wheels. The reason behind that being, whatever Hot Wheels I bought or came across were mostly unlicensed. I always wondered, why doesn’t Hot Wheels manufacture cars like real models (licensed)? Because of this one and only reason I never bought Hot Wheels. I was more content with pull back diecast cars that my Dad used to bring for me from CST/ Crawford Market of Mumbai. Steadily, as I matured, I focused towards 1:18 and 1:24 and collected few of them. Lateran I found Kind smart very attractive for the price. Those were available for Rs. 60 about 18 years ago. But never even considered Hot Wheels due to my mind block.
Fast forward to 2018: Ordered 6 cars from First Cry for my son’s Birthday but while ordering missed out the fine line “Color and Design may vary”. 4 out of the 6 ones were not what I wanted. I uncarded and allowed my son to play only 2 while I complained First Cry for the other 4. Unable to get satisfactory resolution, I even tweeted Mr. Anand Mahindra and complained him about senseless policy of First Cry. After a almost fortnight long follow-up, First Cry offered to accept the 4 cars and refund my money.
And guess what, my son (then 6 years old) uncarded them just a day before scheduled date of return . My all efforts were in vein, but my son said, he liked the cars and felt like uncarding so I forgot about the incident.
End 2020: By now, Hot Wheels bug bit me hard and I went crazy collecting them, mainly mainlines. That was also the period when I became member of all popular FB Groups related to Diecasts. Once I proudly posted photo of 40+ mainlines which I peg-hunted and somebody asked me if that Blue Jeepster was STH? I innocently asked, what do you mean by STH? To this, 3-4 collectors made fun of me but couple of them educated me. I started researching more about THs and STHs.
Once, while I was going thru the link of all the STHs available, my son who was peeping in my phone, jumped with excitement “Papa, we have this STH. It also has rubber tyres”. I was doubtful, but son was very confident. We had shifted our residence a year ago and I thought that we misplaced that. But my kiddo found it within 10 mins of search. It was the “Street Creeper” and it was indeed an STH and it is the one among 4 ones which were unwanted to me and I fought for refund. I could not believe my luck then. Although Street Creeper might not be a very desirable casting, but it was still an STH, something for which Collectors are crazy. Something which I didn’t want and was desperate to get ride of was an STH!! For a moment, I also thought of trading it, but then I chose not to as it may become my lucky charm. I preserved it safely and within a month, I found another STH while peg hunting and that was the “Chevy 57”. Within another month, I got another STH, the “Lamborghini Aventador J” And within another 6 months, got not one, but 2 STHs at a time in wholesale boxes of Hot Wheels. Those were Fiat 500 and the Audi RS6 Avant.
The Street Creeper indeed proved to be my lucky charm and has rewarded me with STHs and other rare ones. Some of my collector friends who are yet to find luck with STH in peg hunting call me “Treasure Hunter”.