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Ormond Beach Observer Sunday, Mar. 2, 2014 4 years ago

Vroom Vroom: Local Hot Wheels collector strives to save imagination

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An Ormond Beach Hot Wheels collector has made it into the Die Cast Hall of Fame. 

BY EMILY BLACKWOOD | STAFF WRITER

Some people collect Hot Wheels for the money. David Harwick collects them for the message.

Weaving in and out of the boxes that hold his collection of more than 10,000 cars, Harwick says he’s glad his passion for Hot Wheels has expanded — not only in size but in family participation.

His wife, Sue, his three children and his two grandchildren are all following in his footsteps to make this hobby into a multigenerational tradition.

What started as a love for the toy has turned into a effort to keep traditional playtime alive. When David Harwick was growing up, he wasn’t consumed with television or video games. He was consumed with Hot Wheels.

“I grew up in a lower-income family,” Harwick said. “So all I had were toys from the five and dime. (Then) 1968 Hot Wheels came out. I saw them on TV and thought, 'Wow, these are cool.' I got five of them for Christmas.”

Collecting Hot Wheels fell to the wayside when Harwick got older, until he had his first son. He revived the hobby so they could share it together.

“I believe that a child should be out playing,” Harwick said. “ Using their minds and their imaginations. Every chance I get to give a car to a kid, I’ll give ‘em. I’m still old-school. Sitting in front of a computer all day doesn’t work your imagination.”

Harwick’s passion for Hot Wheels has landed him in the Die Cast Hall of Fame, with other auto enthusiasts such as Jay Leno and Jeff Gordon. He just recently returned from the induction ceremony in Las Vegas.

“It was a big surprise to me,” Harwick said. “On Father’s Day I found out that my oldest son, David, had nominated me. I got People’s Choice Award so that meant people had to vote for me. I don’t do social media so how is this going to happen? I had enough following I guess that they thought I was worthy of it. I was grinning ear to ear and was so happy.”

Harwick’s next project will be tackling the 500-square-foot house he bought to store his collection. Currently, the kitchen holds various Hot Wheels memorabilia from old posters to roller skates, the living room has cars lining the walls like wallpaper and boxes of more Hot Wheels fill the rest of the space. Though it's a lot of take in, Harwick’s wife, Sue, says she’s in it for the long run.

“I love seeing the excitement on his face,” she said. “When the younger crowd comes, he’ll make a little garage and sit down there with them for hours. I love collecting.”

And though Harwick had to sell his collection once to pay for family medical treatment, he doesn’t plan on ever doing it again. The things he has invested in his collection don’t come with a monetary value.

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