Some people collect stamps, others collect shoes but for 65-year old Chia Joon Hock, it’s Hot Wheels all the way.
Now that seems pretty tame right? Wrong.
Uncle Chia aka Uncle Hot Wheels has OVER 10,000 pieces in his collection!
In fact, his collection is so large that he had to RENT AN ENTIRE HOUSE just to have a place to keep all the miniscule hot rods.
His obsession with the die-cast toy cars began in 2003 when his brother gave him a Ferrari 1:18 scale model. Wide-eyed and fascinated, Uncle Chia put it as a display piece on his desk and spent many hours admiring the details that went into replicating the Italian supercar.
He was so fascinated that he popped into 7-11 stores to buy more of the miniature automobiles and soon started frequenting the weekend flea market in Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya to obtain more pieces.
Uncle Chia’s love for Hot Wheels is so great that word had even reached the Hot Wheel’s headquarters in America!
Steve Vandervate, Hot Wheels lead designer of the premium and collector segment, who was in town for Art Of Speed (AOS) 2019 simply couldn’t resist taking a peek at Uncle Hot Wheel’s hot collection.
TRP was lucky enough to witness the epic meeting that went wheel-iewell, and here’s what we learned:
His collection is estimated to be worth between RM200,000 ~ RM 300,000.
Uncle Chia has spent over RM100,000 to buy the Hot Wheels models which he’s sourced from around the globe, from Indonesia and Japan to America!
His most valuable piece is this Japanese Nissan Skyline piece from the Sweet Rods Premium Series which is worth a cool RM800.
Uncle Chia’s collection has been on display at the National Art Gallery in 2018.
Around 600 of his prized pieces went on display at the National Art Gallery last September for their “Re – Inventing the Wheel” exhibition.
He was among 4 Hot Wheels collectors who were selected for the uniqueness of his collection of the die-cast pieces.
He came up with Hot Wheels display racks on his own.
As a former engineer, Uncle Chia is pretty sharp.
Realising that he can’t store ALL his pieces in box files, he put his engineering knowledge to good use and came up with the idea of showcasing the packaged Hot Wheels on display racks similar to those in tile shops!
Uncle Chia can tell the difference between the pieces and release year based on the tyres.
When you’ve been collecting as long and as passionately as Uncle Chia, you can start distinguishing between models based on slight variations of the design- like wheel rims, tyres and bonnet designs.
He has A LOT of pieces. And we mean A LOT.
Remember how we mentioned earlier that Uncle Chia has over 10,000 pieces? We’ll here’s what these 10,000 pieces look like IRL.
Some tasty pieces…
Old school cool…
And special editions!
When we asked Uncle Hot Wheels, “Why so hot for these wheels?” He really couldn’t put his devotion into words.
“Passion. That’s the only word. I love EVERYTHING about these models. I can spend hours just sitting and admiring these pieces.
Uncle Chia/Uncle Hot Wheels
I love it all so much that I can never choose a favourite. Everytime I pick one, I find myself drawn to another, then another, and then another!”
“This collection… hobby… makes me feel young! I’ve made so many friends over the years, all of different ages. Kids… adults… we’re all in love with Hot Wheels together!”
Looking at Uncle Chia, it’s clear that when you focus on what excites you, you feel infinite joy.