A myriad of reasons contribute to this user’s inability to post original content on this board. One is money, or the lack of it. Another is time, in more ways than one. Timing spotting runs to local release time frames is a tricky thing to do, to say nothing about arriving in time, while stocks are fresh and the despicable scalpers have yet to arrive to gut the pegs of the good stuff. And then there are my competing priorities—between schoolwork, house chores, hangouts and helping my cousin run a convenience store, finding time to scour Metro Manila for Hot Wheels isn’t really worth the effort planning out routes and saving enough coin to pay for fares, and limits the time I can spend on taking pictures, editing them and writing the feature.

Which is why this particular pair is special. Not only was I able to snap up one of the most desirable models that Hot Wheels has created (the last stocked in that store, to boot), I did so in just one look underneath the pegs, on a trip that was supposed to be for another casting, without ever expecting to come home with anything more than a clip-on lens. Remember the HAWL of my life? It’s met its match.

Oh, and uh, I got a McLaren F1 GTR, too, which is cool, I guess.

I know, I know, that’s 7 or 8 years of dust being shown there, but (1) no one can be arsed to clean it and (2) it’s more like snow or salt. Has a cool effect. Original photo as captured by user with a Sony XPeria XA1.


Now calm down. It’s not everyday that a hard-luck hunter gets to mine diamond in one swing, but after initially skipping the Hot Wheels end for the Tomica drawers (Spoiler: they haven’t stocked the Huracan Performante yet), I circled back, hoping for a gem but also preparing for the disappointment. Top row: nothing. Second row: nothing. The lower I looked the less I enjoyed looking. Looks like I’m going home empty-handed.


And then, on the second-to-last row, I found the one. The F1 GTR. It blew my mind! I held the car, collapsed in a squat, and cussed under my breath rapidly and repeatedly, my brain working overtime to process the event.

Ahead of the Ferrari FXX K and topping my list of mythical cars is the F1 GTR, the greatest racing version of the greatest supercar ever made. I didn’t know it back when Speed Machines was in stores, so I missed out, but in my teens I got around to liking it to drive in SCUD Race, and after reading up on the car and its story, the infatuation turned into lust, one that cannot be sated unless someone gives me the Gulf-like Speed Machines release. I still sort of pine for it—please put 5SP wheels on it if you send one my way—but nabbing the mainline release amped up my happiness generators by a considerable margin.


There’s only one thing I did: I markered off the stripes on the roof. It’s ugly and unsightly, and I wanted it gone. A new challenge would be to rid the McLaren of all other color, but my confidence in my cotton-swabbing skill is low, so I shall leave it as it is. Not like there’s much changing required—the McLaren F1 GTR stands above on its own merits, and even with the redesign the replica still holds up as one of the best Mattel has ever made. And it shows.

Oh, and did I mention I GOT A MCLAREN F1 GTR? YEAH, I SAID THAT, AND I CAN SAY THAT BECAUSE I HAVE IT!!! (Let me have this moment.)

The other side of this speaker is a case where figurines and photo albums are kept, wrapped in plastic wrap used to cover textbooks. Not really much of a background, is it? Original photo as captured by user with a Sony XPeria XA1.



And now, for context: at around 2:30pm Manila time I left home to go to an electronics store for a clip-on lens and to inquire how much their memory cards cost (expensive). After that I quickly took a train ride, and was out of the station in a jiffy, and walked to a welcome sight: a mall shuttle service. For 5p I got to the mall, and went straight to the Toys ‘R’ Us store. My real target there was the Huracan Performante, but I learned that the store hasn’t stocked it yet (only the new Camaros were there), so no dice. I went to the (surprisingly large) Matchbox peg-aisle, but most of the models are either old or not really desirable.

So, begrudgingly, I went back on the blue pegs. I examined every cell, hoping for any 2018 stock worth buying, and any 2017 stock that was left behind. What’s shocking is that there’s a deep line of Paganis and Aston One-77 cars in one cell at the very bottom hanger, which is odd for me, as I thought the Pagani would be more popular. Or maybe there was more supply this time? But that’s a mystery for another time.


In actuality, it was the RX-7 I found first, right in front of a hanger that had a bunch of Mazda REPU trucks (clever work, store stockers). It was the only RX-7 on the pegs. Just one. That one. And the badge is all wrong. And the turn signals are busted (note to self: buy orange paint marker). But it only ever slightly mattered. ‘That’s the only one left”, said the attendant, so I stuck with it. Other castings that I put on the judges’ gridiron along with this are the VW Type 2 flatbed and ‘70 Chevelle SS widebody. I took neither, mostly because I kind of get a feeling I might still get it in the future (and also I’m waiting for a recolor on the flatbed that has the steelies or discs).

Open as it is, I was surprised at how heavy it felt, especially the first time I lugged it around. There’s heft, but also solidity, as if an actual FD was used in the creation of this toy. The body is unmistakeable, from bumper to bumper. I definitely should have waited for the yellow—I’ve grown tired of this shade of blue—but this was an opportunity I cannot bear to pass. An FD RX-7 is in my garage.



HAWL posts don’t always get this detailed around these parts, but as it were, I don’t get to come up with single features for every car I have. Time constraints, budget woes, and ever-changing priorities, added with being a lazy little piece of {LANGUAGE}, compound to hamper progress. But there are times like this, times like today, and through to tonight—where a model can use more than just a blurb and a “Watch this space”. Snagging something you thought you’ll never get unless you trade is one thing, but the Philippines is a third-world country, one where a toy car of this quality is a luxury, and so the disparity between the rich and the poor is reflected by the toys they have.


I was lucky to be born to a family who have stable jobs and can pay for my studies, one that can give me Php500 that I can spend for a week. These models were bought with my own money for my part in running the store. My second paycheck (Php1000) was cut to Php780 after buying these. It was worth every peso, and then some.

The smile and murmurs never faded from me when I got home at 3:45 pm, and even as I type this I have only nearly finished fathoming what happened this afternoon. Expectations were low, excitement was tempered, but I still let the back of my mind imagine a random hanger at a random mall or stall, one that is 12-deep with everything I wanted to have. The Porsches. The Lamborghinis. The JDM stuff. The work stuff and normal streetcars that will do enough to keep my collection realistic.


For such a scenario to actually happen is remarkable enough. For it to be encapsulated into two cars is a small miracle.

Thank you for reading!

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