Hot Wheels helps Valley father bond with son and make money

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9 p.m. Extra: Hot Wheels

PHOENIX - "About 15 years ago I was at an antique store just looking around and not having anything in mind sure enough in a showcase and I see these cars that really energized me and reminding me of my youth and I have to have them, admits Michael Hirsch.

He is talking about Hot Wheels. "And from there I've been on a 15-year quest to continue to feed that enthusiasm that I had as a child," he adds.

It is now a massive collection that has also turned Michael's Postal Plus More store in Phoenix into a small retailer for Hot Wheels. He says his favorites include the cars from 1968 to 1972.

Michaels explains, "Hot Wheels has different lines. They have a basic line which is the dollar car and then they have lines that include all metals cars. They have lines that include rubber-wheeled cars, so therefore whatever you look to do with your hobby is available to you. It's not just one size fits all."

Mattel, the maker of Hot Wheels, says they have produced 4 billion of the tiny toy cars since 1968. They are not just toys, they are a huge collectors item.

"There are average collectors and there are fans. You buy and you accumulate more whether you want to do that because you think you're going to make a million dollars or you do that because you need a hobby and love cars," Michael says. "We try to have a collection of 50 cents cars. As most people know it's a dollar product almost everywhere so for 50 cents that's usually a good deal. We have cars for $500 and I've sold cars for over $1,000."< /p>

One of the hottest cars is the 1969 Volkswagen Beach Bomb, which is a rare pink one that could go for six figures. Michael says, " Back in the 60s pink wasn't cool as a boy, not a lot of men were walking around with pink cars. Therefore the pink cars for the Hot Wheels hobby typically command a premium because they are somewhat rare to find."

Other big money-makers are the treasure hunts and super treasure hunts.

"These cars have been produced since 1995 and are still being produced today. You can go to Target right now and maybe find a car for $1 that on the internet or local collectors clubs could be worth 20, 30, 50 dollars.

So whether you are a collector like Michael or want to play with them like his 8-year-old son Griffin, Michael says the key to collecting is making sure it is something you really love.

Griffin chimes in, "Right when I was born. Right after I got out of the hospitalhe just popped it right in my hand." Griffin adds, "It's fun because you never know if it's going to be good stuff or it's going to be bad stuff."

Michael advises, "Just collect what you like. If it's worth something down the road great, if you're able to involve your child and it's a lot fun and you do it together there is no real value you can put on that anyway."

If you would like to find out if your Hot Wheels collection is worth anything, Michael can help out.

For more information, please contact Michael at Postal Plus More, located at 1810 W. Northern Avenue in Phoenix. You can also send him an email to arizonahotwheels@hotmail.com.