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A golden "Race Bait" Ferrari 308 Hot Wheels car! | by Steve Brandon
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A golden "Race Bait" Ferrari 308 Hot Wheels car!

This is a "Race Bait 308" (Ferrari 308 GTB) Hot Wheels car from the 1979 "Golden Machines" Hot Wheels 6-pack set.


I received the "Golden Machines" set as a young boy, probably when I was 5-years old (1979-80). It came with a Jaguar XJS, a Corvette Stingray, a Hot Bird (1977 Pontiac Firebird/Trans Am), a Z-Whiz (Datsun 240Z/Nissan Fairlady), a Spoiler Sport (a Hot Wheels original design that was a very aerodynamic van with a spoiler), and this Ferrari 308 GTB, called "Race Bait 308" because Hot Wheels liked giving cars cutesy names. The gold chrome-painted cars were among my favourite Hot Wheels. I loved how shiny and reflective the cars were. Mattel doesn't seem to do very many reflective Hot Wheels cars anymore, or at least ones where I can see my own face reflected on the roof (in my case, perhaps for the better).


Inevitably, being a young boy and having Hot Wheels-mangling sets like Criss-Cross Crash, which made the paint on Hot Wheels cars look like it had been through a sandblaster, the paint didn't last, and I lost all six of my Golden Machines cars by the time I moved to Ottawa in 2004.


As an adult collector, the Golden Machines cars are amongst my most coveted, though when complete sets of it go for sale on eBay, they're usually priced in the hundreds of dollars. (I don't have an eBay or a PayPal account, though, so eBay auctions of these cars are moot to me anyway.)


I've bought a few batches of played-with Hot Wheels from sellers on Ottawa Kijiji and Craigslist and, through these purchases, I've re-collected two of the six Golden Machines, a Z-Whiz/Datsun 240Z in "so-so" condition and a Corvette Stingray in barely-any-paint-left whatsoever condition.


On Saturday, the 11th of February, 2012, I stopped by the Value Village thrift store at the corner of Bank Street and Walkely Road in Ottawa South. Value Village is a particularly good location for old Hot Wheels-hunting, mostly sold in $2 or $3 bags. In one of these bags, I was amazed to see this Hot Wheels Golden Machines Race Bait 308/Ferrari 308GTB in near-pristine condition, with the tampo intact and only a couple of minor scuff marks on the paint. It's amazing condition for an over 30-year old car in a Value Village toy car grab bag. Also amazing is that the bag it was in was left on the pegs; I'm not the only collector who gets old Hot Wheels from Value Village and it was one of only about two toy car grab bags left. I guess it's because this Ferrari was in a bag with some off-brand dollar store cars, so it was easy to miss.


I am elated to have this car back in my collection after so long. . It was my single-most coveted Hot Wheels Ferrari and it is now my number one all-time Hot Wheels find from Value Village, surpassing an original 1981 "Old Number 5" firetruck that I had found at the same Value Village store the previous summer.


One day, the rest of the Hot Wheels Golden Machines will be mine, but I feel extraordinarily lucky to have even found just one of them in near mint condition.

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Taken on February 11, 2012