Leave it Stock or Modify?

Apr 09, 2012 8 Comments by

Many collectors are perfectly happy to bring home their latest find and place it on the shelf. But for some car folks, the real fun starts when the tools come out – and the modifications begin. It’s a trend that started when cars were cheap and easy to find; as the years went by (and the complexity of most models went up), many “modders” either upped their game with high-end pieces from trashed and bashed replicas (often purchased in diecast “scratch and dent” sales, or from manufacturers who had damaged goods in their warehouses), or learned to make do with repaints and tweaked trim… whilst listening to the wailing and gnashing of teeth from collectors who would sooner kick a Granny than take a “perfectly good”, as-built model apart.

So – where do you stand? Do you tweak, or leave it stock? We’d like to know. Join us on our Facebook page and state your case – and leave those Grannys alone.

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About the author

I have been a car guy since my early teens. From managing a performance center on Long Island NY to being a partner of the world’s largest traveling global car show series; my career path has taken me on an exciting journey. I have consulted for MTV, McDonalds, Turtle Wax, Dodge and other high profile companies and have been published in multiple automotive journals. Alpha Penguin Publishing recruited me to co-author “The Complete Idiots Guide to Customizing Your Ride” for which one of my cars graces the cover. My diecast addiction began about 12 years back. My girlfriend at the time knew I was saving for a Mustang Cobra. She thought it would be humorous and purchased a diecast version to hold me over for a while. What was an initial joke struck a chord because I was fascinated with how Hot Wheels could make such a cool replica for a buck. The next time we went shopping I stopped in the toy aisle and ended up purchasing additional Hot Wheels and a few Jada vehicles. Well you all know the story from here; one shelf led to a book case. The book case quickly became an apartment filled with hundreds of HotWheels, Jada and other 1:64th scale replicas. Next came my introduction to 1:24th and 1:18th scale die cast and twelve years later I am the proud owner of a collection that is displayed in a 2000sq foot facility with a current count of over 12 thousand unique pieces. My then girlfriend, now wife, has a lot of patience for my hobby and my two little girls enjoy it with us too. Today I find myself fascinated with all scales and all models of customized vehicles. From tuners to rat rods, lead sleds to pro street drag. I do have an appreciation for the well delivered OEM vehicles as well. Most of all I enjoy the hunt to complete a set or series of vehicles. I look forward to being a part of DieCast X Magazine and helping to strengthen, grow and deliver our hobby to people who do not know how rewarding it is to an individual and a family.

8 Responses to “Leave it Stock or Modify?”

  1. Jim Timmerman says:

    I am a modifier, I even tweak some of the Danbury & Franklin Mint models. I paint wheels, bumper brackets, under fenders, behind the grills, inside the trunk and any thing else that doesn’t look the way I want it to look. I also on occasion will switch to different wheels or modify the suspension to either raise or lower the model to sit at the right stance. I like a model to look as real as possible. I have added fender skirts, mirrors, or mud guards on some models if I think it adds to the overall good looks. I consider these changes to be improvements, but that’s only “MY” opinion. The major factor here is, I’m doing what I Like

  2. David Kinsey says:

    I am an expert model car builder with 49 years building. 0 reason to EVER destroy the value of a die cast by modifing..it ain’t worth a dime once its modified, YES I can detail it, or paint it better than stock…why? No legitimate reason to at all..that is why there are die cast kits resin kits and model kits. No need to ruin the valus by taking changes that really devalue the car. I would purshase a junked die cast to “rescue” it to a higher level to show case my skills, never a new die cast out of the box/

  3. Bill says:

    I generally buy cars with specific “ends” in mind. If there’s a diecast available that matches that end, I’ll leave it as-is and be happy. If I need to make some changes, I’ll add/change details, swap wheels, repaint it, cut it up for parts, etc. with no problem.

  4. Bill Bennett says:

    I, too, am a modifier. And I am also a decal maker. I collect mostly 1:18 scale race cars and like to make cars that the manufacturer hasn’t yet made, or ones that they will never make. I also correct livery on the race cars that has been done poorly or not done at all. Two of my mod projects have become articles featured in DiecastX Magazine : one about mod’ing the Mattel HotWheels Ferrari 512S of Nick Mason into the car that Mario Andretti used to start the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring. The other was a “prototype” white Exoto Corvette Grand Sport Roadster that was modified with Chaparral livery. On the Grand Sport, this was a “fantasy car” and a “back story” was created with story and pictures to support that this car had actually existed. Of course, it hadn’t. There exists the question of whether the mod’ing increases or decreases the value of the model. I suspect this is affected by the quality of the work and finding the right buyer. I have sold several of my mod projects for many times what I paid for the donor car. I just requires finding the right purchaser. But I primarily do the mod’ing for my own enjoyment and so the value to some other collector is mostly irrelevant to me.

  5. Frank Urbano says:

    I do modifacations such as cutting off roofs to make convertiables out of 1/18 models that you can not buy that way. I have also taken a stock model & made a real sleeper buy installing souped up engines. I have made hard tops out of convertiables. I have done complete repaints. Changed tires & wheels. I have also repainted complete interiors & installed carpeting. I can not afford to do the real thing so this is the next best thing . Plus I realy enjoy doing this stuff.

  6. Al says:

    I will do modifications on some of the lower cost ones to make them look the way I like them by chopping and dropping ,some times I will make my own frame to lower them to get the right ride height chop the roof if needed to get the look I that I am going for as well as the wheels and motor, will be changed and give it a better paint job

  7. Robert Grassi says:

    I have a Yat Ming 1957 Oldsmobile super 88 convertible with a white exterior. I would like to repaint the exterior red and add red fender skirts and a red continental kit. Who can I get to do the work ?

    Robert Grassi

    • Joe Kelly Jr. says:

      Hi, Robert –

      There are some very talented “modders” out there. Our best suggestion would be to join us on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/diecastxmag), and poke around. We’ve got almost 5,000 folks checking in, and there’s a good chance you’ll find someone willing and able to do the work. Keep us posted!

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