*** Philip Riehlman - Principle Designer Hot Wheels® Diecast Design
Phil started working for Mattel about 25 years ago designing such things as the Attack Pack line, deco projects, track sets and working with Bruce Baur on the Silhouette II and Twin Mill II. The first Hot Wheels® model Phil designed was the VW Bus, in 1996. Although he did not design any models for the 1997 line, that year he became one of the main designers for the basic line, designing a number of the 1998 basic cars (most cars are not issued the year they were designed). Currently he is Principle Designer in Hot Wheels Die Cast Design and has done over 200 castings.
Since then Phil has created some of the most popular cars among collectors including the’56 Ford Truck, ’70 Chevelle SS, Fiat 500C, Anglia Panel Truck, ’68 El Camino, ’41 Willys, Mini Cooper, Surfin’ School Bus, La Troca, Ford Thunderbolt, Plymouth GTX, Fright Bike, ’40 Ford Coupe, Rocket Oil Special, Volkswagen New Beetle Cup, Corvette Stingray, Swoop Coupe, Meyers Manx,’69 Dodge Charger, ’68 Chevy Nova, VW Pickup, ’49 Chevy Fleetline, Mustang Funny Car, Hummer H3T, ’69 Pontiac GTO, Karmann Ghia, ’69 Corvette, 2006 Dodge Viper Coupe,’55 Chevy Panel,’70 Dodge Hemi Challenger, ’66 Chevy Nova and the ’66 Batmobile.
Phil’s 2009 designs include the 2010 Ford Mustang GT, ’71 Dodge Demon, ’70 Chevelle SS Wagon, Dune It Up, 2010 Camaro SS, ’70 AAR Barracuda, Jeep C2A, C6 Corvette Convertible and the ’66 Ford Fairlane GT.2010 Castings: Toon’d VW Beetle, Nissan Skyline GTR-R34, 2010 Shelby GT-500, Backslider, ‘62 Ford Mustang Concept, ‘49 Drag Merc, ’71 Maverick Grabber, ’71 Dodge Charger, Blown Delivery, Volkswagen T1 Drag Bus, Ford Focus RS, Citroen C4 Rally
2011 Castings: 2010 Ford Shelby GT-500 Super Snake, ’69 COPO Corvette, Dodge Challenger Drift Car, ’63 Ford Mustang II Concept, ’68 COPO Camaro, ’63 Studebaker Champ, Drag Beetle, ’70 Dodge Power Wagon, ’67 Custom Ford Mustang Coupe.
2012 Castings: Lamborghini Aventador, ’52 Hudson Hornet, Monster Dairy Delivery, Chevrolet SS
2013 Castings: Drag Dairy, Muppets Beaker Character Car, Sponge Bob Hot Rod, ‘68 Barracuda Formula S
2014 Castings: 1974 Brazilian Dodge Charger
2015 Castings: Dodge Charger 500
2016 Castings: Nintendo Bowser Character Car
2018 Castings: ’17 Jeep Wrangler & Electrack, and much more on the way.
Our Other SPECIAL GUESTS
***STEVE VANDERVATE - "Van" - Hot Wheels® Graphics
Steve Vandervate has been with Hot Wheels® Graphics since 2003, his primary responsibility being the art direction and graphic design of the Premium retail, HWC/RLC, and special event items, prior to working at Mattel, he had been in the commercial sign industry doing lettering, pin striping, design, the whole bit.
Steve, or Van as he is often called, has always been around the car scene, primarily muscle cars and traditional rods and customs. He had been pin striping at California shows for at least ten years or so and had been doing illustration for magazines, record labels, clothing companies, etc. for just about that long, all before he started his career at Mattel.
***BRENDON VETUSKEY - Lead Designer HWC/RLC Die Cast
Brendon joined Mattel, Inc. in 2007, and began working on the Hot Wheels Track & Play Sets team. He developed the 2009, 2010, and 2011 Trick Tracks product lines, as well as the 4-Lane Elimination Race and Super 6-Lane Raceway sets. From that he was the lead designer on Monster Jam for two years developing items like the “Then & Now” series, the “Mighty Minis” line, as well as numerous 1:64, 1:43, and 1:24 scale replica Monster Jam trucks and play sets..
Brendon got his start on designing 1:64 Hot Wheels cars for the 2010 Model year with the 1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 and the 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396. Additional designs include the 1972 Ford Torino Gran Sport, 1969 Shelby Mustang GT500, 1965 Mercury Comet Cyclone, 1967 Olds 442, 1967 Ford Bronco, 1970 Chevy Blazer, 1970 Dodge Charger R/T, 2011 Dodge Charger R/T, 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am SD455, 1981 Chevrolet Camaro, K.I.T.T., 1985 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z, 1984 Hurst/ Olds, Subaru B.R.A.T., 1970 AMC Rebel Machine, Highway Hauler 2, 1955 Chevy Gasser, 1971 Plymouth Satellite, 1958 Plymouth Belvedere, 1976 Chevrolet Chevette, 1988 Jeep Wagoneer, 1980 Dodge Power Wagon, 2014 C.O.P.O. Camaro, K.I.T.T. Super Pursuit Mode, Mountain Mauler, Corvette Grand Sport Roadster, Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Furious 7 Off Road Charger, 2016 Camaro SS, Gotta Go, 2017 ZL1 Camaro, Fate of the Furious Ice Charger, Custom 1967 Pontiac Firebird (a replica of Brendon’s own car), 2017 Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Camaro SS, 1955 Chevy Nomad (retool) as well as the Elite K.I.T.T., K.A.R.R., Herbie The Love Bug, and The Fast and the Furious Dodge Charger in 1:18 and 1:43 scales. And, more cars to come in 2018!
Currently, Brendon is the lead designer for HWC/RLC diecast and Monster Jam diecast vehicles.
Outside of work, Brendon has been collecting Hot Wheels and other vehicle related toys since the early 1990's and has been designing vehicle toys throughout his career. When he's not at work he is likely working on his own project cars (a 1967 Pontiac Firebird and a 1955 Chevy Gasser), helping others with their cars or at some car related event.
Graphics Designer Hot Wheels® 1997 – 2005 plus a few models from 2015, 2016 & 2018!
Michael joined the Mattel Team in 1996 as Manager of the Mattel Sports brand. In 1997 he became the first in-house graphics designer for Hot Wheels. The very first model he designed graphics for was the 1998 1st Edition Ford Escort Rally. Over the next eight years he created graphics for the Core Line, Multi-Packs, Treasure Hunts, Toy Fair, Dream Halloween, and various other “collector-type” models.
In 2005 he became part of the Matchbox brand and remained with that team until his retirement in June of 2015. Over the course of his tenure with both brands (Hot Wheels and Matchbox) he created over 5,000 decorations! But retirement has not stopped him from contributing decorations for both brands - as a freelance graphics designer.
Prior to retiring from Mattel, he decided to commemorate his Graphics career with a Hot Wheels decoration on a Ford Fiesta that mimicked his very first design on the 1st edition Ford Escort Rally. In addition, he created four other Matchbox models to serve as a support team for his last Hot Wheels design – carrying over the same theme. Michael said, “I thought it would be fitting since I worked on both brands that I should also unite them (Hot Wheels & Matchbox) for any collector that wants to complete a set, my last set!”
“I had a job many people envy. I kind of fell into it and loved every aspect of it. I had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented people in the design and toy world and who possess a passion for what they do and create. I was inspired by them every day to do the best I could on every project. But that was only half the joy of my job. The other half was meeting the people, the collectors who also share a passion for the small gems we call die cast.”
Michaels more recent graphic design contributions to the Hot Wheels line include:
Corvette Grand Sport / #11 Pass’ N Gasser / #03 Carbide / #09 F1 Racer / #12 ’70 Ford Mustang Mach 1
***CHRIS WALKER - Designer and Author
Chris Walker “Night Stalker” burst onto the die-cast scene customizing cars for competition. After winning multiple awards, he focused his attention towards high-end custom pieces for celebrities and famous designers. His workis on display at Foose Designs, was displayed at Mattel for Elliot Handlers Birthday, and is currently the only die-cast customizer to have his work appearing in the Hot Wheels® exhibit in the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, CA. Expanding out into the die-cast world, he started doing freelance work in packaging and graphics for various die-cast companies, and doing event cars for various U.S. and International conventions.
Chris was inducted into the first year of the Die-cast Hall of Fame in 2009 and is the only member to hold 3 rings. He has been featured in various automotive and hobby magazines for his work, and even had a hand in designing his own casting, The Dreamliner for his own company. Currently he has now turned his attentiontowards writing a few collector books, The Ultimate Guide to the Hot Wheels Drag Bus, and the Ultimate Guide to Steering Rigs, co-written by Joseph Wiggins. Still going strong in the die-cast world, he has no plans to stop. “It's way too much fun!”
***MANSON CHEUNG - 3D Design Mattel
Working behind the scenes at Mattel for over seventeen years, Manson graduated as a Toy Design major from Otis College of Art and Design. In his first few years at Mattel he worked in the Games and Puzzles group and Hot Wheels® group. Eventually Manson settled in the 3D Design Group, where his model making and sculpting skills were used by all the departments within Mattel.
Manson has a unique job at Mattel, he takes the designs from the Hot Wheels® Design team and translates it to a 3D prototype. Although he has sculpted cars by hand, like the ’70 Plymouth Barracuda and Low Flow for the 2004 line, he now uses FreeForm,a computer modeling program to make 3D models. Since 2007, Manson has been mainly working on Hot Wheels® mainline cars. He has worked on over 600 cars.
In addition to modeling cars, Manson has also designed about 25-30 cars for Hot Wheels® in the Basic Mainline and Adult Collector Lines. These include, 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, all the Back to the Future Time Machines, various Batman vehicles, A Team Van, Mystery Machine, all the Ghostbusters Ecto cars, The Simpsons cars, Snoopy, and others to come. Many of the San Diego Comic Con Exclusives were designed and/or sculpted by Manson.
Manson also works on the Hot Wheels Elite Cult Classics Line,bringing his passion for entertainment cars on a larger scale. His projects include vehicles from Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, A Team, Flintstones, Scooby Doo, and other entertainment brands.
Julian Koiles has been with Hot Wheels packaging since 2014, designing and art directing the packaging for the Hot Wheels premium lines, which includes: Pop Culture, Car Culture, and Replica Entertainment. Along with the Premium line, Julian is also responsible for designing and art directing the packaging for RLC, Hot Wheels Core Track Sets and Play Sets, as well as many of the customized lines, such as the Target Retro Nostalgia line. Julian’s passion for cars, design, and serving the packaging needs of the Hot Wheels collector is evident in the painstaking research and development he does in the process of creating each and every package.
Julian graduated from Academy of Art College with a major in illustration, and a minor in 3d modeling. Prior to coming onboard at Mattel as a packaging designer, Julian had worked as an illustrator, and a product designer at various consumer product companies.
Julian was introduced to the world of cars when he bought his first car; a 1966 Chevy Caprice Coupe. From that moment on cars would become an important part of his life, first personally, and then later professionally. Julian continues to be a “car guy” currently driving a “modded” 2012 Ford Mustang GT.
It was 1968 and Hot Wheels ® were the hottest new toys for boys. Mattel used all its resources for design, engineering, and tooling and they were looking everywhere especially in the southern California area for vendors and contract people to help them. Why vendors and contract engineers, designer’s etc.? Because they didn’t have the staff for all the help they needed.
At the time, Bob was doing contract engineering on tooling. The company he was working for was one of several that got contracts from Mattel to design the molds for toys and especially Hot Wheels®. He didn’t think much of it at the time but there he was designing a multi-cavity tool for Classic 32 Ford Vicky toy number 6250. This was the first of about 24 different ones that he worked on. He was working in Fullerton CA and would go into Mattel in Hawthorne CA once a week to get approval on the drawings. He was asked to join one of the Mattel Subsidiaries called Optigan and not too long after that he was hired to work at Mattel in Hawthorne. He started out working tooling and then engineering and design for Barbie accessories, preschool toys and Big Jim before he was assigned to the Hot Wheels® group. The first car he worked on was the BajaBruiser whose concept was by Larry Wood. He continued working on the designs for hundreds of cars over the
years. Eventually he managed the design and engineering group for Hot Wheels® and directed many people on cars and sets until he left Mattel in 1989. His group also did Masters of the Universe and Wheeled Warriors.
During those years, some of his biggest endeavors were his involvement in the beginnings of the tampo printing process. Some of the other projects were Sizzlers®, Thunder shift 500, Machine Paks, Thrill Drivers Corkscrew, Mean Machines (motorcycles), The collectors patch series, The Heroes, Scene Machines, Spiderman’s “Web of Terror”, Scorchers, The collector books from 1981 and 1982, Steering rigs, Steering rig cabs, Sto and Go’s, Mega Force, Truck Company, Shift Kickers, Power Devils, Ultra Hots. Real Riders, Metal flake paints, Crack-Ups, Zap ‘N Go, XV Racers and many others.
Larry Wood and Bob Rosas worked together for many years and one of their personal projects was to promote the idea that we should make cars that appealed to an ever-growing collector market. We became aware of the interest in collecting Hot Wheels® by grown men and women probably as far back as the late 70’s. As a result of this he encouraged Mattel to make more classic cars and the cars with the “real rider” tires.
Bob has BS degrees in Engineering and Industrial Design from Cal State University Long Beach California
***MIKE ZARNOCK - Author, Columnist, Hot Wheels® Specialist
Michael is an American author and columnist, who writes collector guides and articles about Mattel “Hot Wheels®” toy cars and accessories.
Michael’s knowledge along with his massive Hot Wheels® collection has earned him notoriety around the world. Whether it be because of the 14 books he has written on the subject, the numerous chapters in other books and countless magazine articles that he has written about Hot Wheels® toys or just the sheer size and diversity of his die cast vehicle collection, this extensive knowledge has earned him the label, “One of the world’s leading Hot Wheels® Historians.”
Did you know? Michael’s collection has earned him 2 Guinness World Records!
Michael was born April 21, 1958 in Utica, New York into a working-class family. He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School, Utica, New York in 1976.
Some of Michael’s other accomplishments over the years include racing Moto Cross as a teenager to building and driving many Drag Race and Show Cars. Some of which ended up being Street Racers for other people.
Michael has many stories about those Street Racing days including the time he was kidnapped for not giving up the money. That story made its way across the country to Hollywood where he was asked to write a screenplay about it for
Actor/Producer Christopher Titus. He has also rewritten that script to be published as a novel titled as “Once Upon A Street Race”
Michael has had a passion for Hot Wheels® toy cars and their accessories ever since their release in 1968 when he was 10 years old and has collected them whenever he could find them. It’s come to be that Michael has spent so much time and effort on his collection that he’s become one of the world’s most respected Historians on Hot Wheels® and their variations. So much so, that it prompted him to write a best-selling Collector Guide called “The Ultimate Guide to Hot Wheels® Variations”, first published in 2002 by Krause Publications. That book sold out almost instantly and went into a second printing in less than a year after its release. Since then Michael has written 13 more books, was under contract with “Toy Cars & Models Magazine” for 6 years where he wrote a monthly Hot Wheels® column and price guide, written numerous chapters in many other die cast books and countless articles for magazines such as “The Car Room” and “Die Cast X ”. He is currently Senior Contributing Editor at “Die Cast X Magazine” where he has had his Hot Wheels® column since 2011.
Michael also provides Hot Wheels® Collection Appraisal services for Insurance Riders, Insurance Claims, EBay Fraud Claims, US Postal Damage Claims and Court Cases including Estate and Divorce Settlements, including services to authenticate or disprove fraudulent Hot Wheels® product including issuing Certificates of Authenticity when needed.
Michael makes his home in the small upstate New York town of Deerfield with his wife Tina along with his youngest son Cody and his wife Joanna. His oldest son Christopher makes his home in Conway, South Carolina and is an avid Hot Wheels® collector himself. Michael makes appearances at Schools, Conventions, Toy Shows and Hot Wheels® Club functions across the United States and Canada. You never know where you’ll find him. He has been featured in many Television shows about collecting, been featured in many magazines and he’s even made a few appearances in the movies. He made his screen debut playing “Artie, the sleazy comic book publisher”, in the “Catch Your Breath Productions” film “Detour”. He returned to take on the role of “Freddy Grecko, talk show host extraordinaire” in “The Death of Daniel Whately” and also played “Chester Greenfield II,” the wealthy father of the main character in the movie “Anchor Eddy’s”.
For more information about Michael Zarnock, his latest books and appearances go to his official websitewww.MikeZarnock.com
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