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It's not just a guy thing: Hot Wheels Day celebrates decades of model car fun

February 24, 2012|By MARIE GILBERT |
  • Pastor Ken Fizer of Shiloh United Methodist Church says that his first car resembled this 1969 Plymouth Duster. Fizer will bring his collection of Hot Wheels to Hot Wheels Day Sunday at the church, 19731Shiloh Church Road in Hagerstown.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

For about $20,000, you can buy a Volkswagen minibus —  fire engine red and right out of the 1960s.

But don't expect to sit behind the wheel and drive it home. It has no engine or brakes.

And it's not much bigger than your thumb.

It's an early workshop prototype of a Hot Wheels vehicle that was later made by the American toy manufacturer, Mattel.

And while it might not be in Jay Doyle's collection, the number of die-cast cars he does own is impressive.

The Hagerstown man estimates he currently has about 2,000 pieces — and he's always hoping to add more.

"I still buy newer cars," he said.  "But I mostly search for the older models."

It was a hobby that began as a child "when there were no video games and kids spent summers outside and winters inside playing with cars," he said.

When Hot Wheels was first appeared on the market in 1968, Doyle said it was love at first sight.

"I would buy cars at May's Hardware and Joe, the Motorists' Friend," he said.

Today, Doyle is 57 years old and the love affair with Hot Wheels continues.

"I'm still a kid at heart," he said.

Maybe that's why he decided several years ago to help organize a Hot Wheels Day at Shiloh United Methodist Church and give people a chance to have fun racing their cars.

While some people have displayed part of their collections, there is no buying or selling, he said.

"I wanted it to be just a fun day for kids and big kids like me," he said.

This year's Hot Wheels Day will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, at the church on Shiloh Church Road in Hagerstown.

Pastor Ken Fizer said he expects several hundred Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars to be on display.  There also will be multiple Hot Wheels tracks set up for racing.

Fizer said he has a small Hot Wheels and Matchbox collection and plans on bringing some of his cars to the show for both display and racing.

Organizers have been publicizing the event in the newspaper and on the radio, he said, and "we have received a number of phone calls from folks asking for directions to Shiloh Church, as well as the cost. We want people to know that this event is free."

The event also will feature door prizes, snacks and coupons for one month of free karate lessons at Shiloh Church.

"Based upon inquiries, we are expecting an excellent turnout," Fizer said.

Doyle said he always has liked street rods, construction equipment, cranes and big trucks.

The toys are just a lot less expensive.

"I still buy newer cars," he added, "but I mostly search for older cars."

Doyle said he keeps much of his collection on display in a room in his basement.

And while each car is special, Doyle does have favorites — "my original Hot Wheels Redlines (vehicles produced early in the brand's history) and king size Matchbox."

Along with other collectors, he will be bringing "an assortment of things" to Sunday's show.

"But it's all about the kids," he said.

Doyle said his son Jacob will be helping out the day of the event.

"But he's not into the collecting part of it like I am," he said. "He likes to play and race with the kids. He'll be down on the floor setting up track and racing, as well."

And it's not just a guy thing.

If you go ...

WHAT: Hot Wheels Day

WHEN: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26

WHERE:  Shiloh United Methodist Church, 19731 Shiloh Church Road, Hagerstown.

COST: Free admission.

CONTACT:  Call 301-991-7839 or go to

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