Auction Watch #97

Hot Wheels HiWay Hauler
M.U.S.C.L.E. Version

The M.U.S.C.L.E. HiWay Hauler is something most Hot Wheels and M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors will never own. The number one reason collectors can’t and won’t own the Hauler is availability. Most collectors agree that the number of prototype Haulers created was three. The only way for a collector to add a M.U.S.C.L.E. Hauler to their collection is to add a custom M.U.S.C.L.E. Hauler.

Originally, because of a surplus of custom M.U.S.C.L.E. Hauler stickers, the goal had been for the School Store to stock custom M.U.S.C.L.E. Haulers. The time and effort required to buildup and inventory was too great. Instead, the School Store will soon be stocking the custom M.U.S.C.L.E. Hauler sticker set (check Twitter and Facebook for updates). The sticker is the first critical ingredient for a custom Hauler.

The second key ingredient is the Hauler itself. There are only 20 specific HiWay Haulers that have the same design as the M.U.S.C.L.E. Hauler. Each of the Haulers have varying levels of collectability, which tends to narrow the focus of potential Haulers. And an even small number has a white base color scheme. Having this white base leaves more room for error through the customization.

1st Auction
Cheap Hauler

There are three HiWay Haulers auctions that offer potential customizers different opportunities to purchase a Hauler. The first auction, Rare HW’s Collector #24 Pepsi Hiway Hauler, highlights the low cost approach. Less concern is placed on the specific Hauler. The frustrating part of this approach is that the auction price may climb. This particular auction may appeal to a collector looking for a mint, sealed Hauler – willing to spend. This shipping for this also seems a bit high, but probably because it is carded.

2nd Auction
Can I Get It Cheaper?

The second auction, Hot Wheels Vintage Old Black Wall Nasa Hiway Hauler !!, offers a collector a white base. The other benefit is that the Hauler isn’t in mint condition. It’s unlikely to attract hardcore collectors. The question for potential bidders – can I get it cheaper? This auction has a $5.99 starting bid. Frankly, that’s not a bad price but it might be more than a customizer wants to spend not including the shipping costs.

3rd Auction
The Perfect Lot?

The third auction, HOT WHEELS NON REDLINE RARE HIWAY HAULER NASA & NORTH AMERICAN TRUCKS NM!, is over – but it’s a great example. This seems like the perfect lot for customizers. It is an opportunity to pick-up two white Haulers at a decent price. For a customizer that has never attempted a project like the M.U.S.C.L.E. Hauler it can be stressful. This auction provides back-up, practice, and opportunity. It removes the stress by having an immediate replacement if the first truck is ruined. It provides a second opportunity to practice and that second attempt may be worth selling to offset costs or even make a profit.

The fourth auction, KINNIKUMAN MUSCLE APPAREL “MUSCLE DOCKING” T-SHIRT TEE, isn’t really an auction. It is BamBam88’s beta test for direct sales to the United States (a detail courtesy of Tyler at Namu Niku).

4th Auction
New M.U.S.C.L.E. T-Shirt

There is no question how awesome the t-shirt looks. It would be a welcome addition to both collections and wardrobes. However there is one central issue – the $69 price tag. It is important to recognize that this price includes shipping from Japan and makes ordering from a Japanese company beautifully simple. But is that enough?

M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors have impressively created their own shirts over the years with price tags around $20. Mishka NYC, admittedly an American company, had M.U.S.C.L.E.-inspired t-shirts for approximately $30 and sweatshirts around $80. BamBam88 has certainly created a wonderful product, but their pricing may negatively influence their beta test.

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