Bruce Kalapach’s … “AUTO” BIOGRAPHY

“AUTO” BIOGRAPHY

 

Hello……. My name is Bruce Kalapach. I am known as “Redliner” on most sites including ebay, sometimes “Iamredliner” and sometimes “Father Time”.  I am about to turn 65, but I am still a kid and always will be. 

My childhood association with the VERY FIRST Hot Wheels shipment to the Chicago area in May of 1968 was pure accident.    I got my first Hot Wheels for my birthday in June of 1968.

Me in the wheelbarrow with my dog Holly.  That’s my brother Jeff with his new bike…  I still have his bike too!  This picture is from about 1963 in Highland, Indiana. 

This is Grandma Feyrn.

My grandmother was landlord for Breedlove’s Sporting Goods and Toys in Kewanee, IL. They got a portion of the FIRST shipment of Hot Wheels to Sears that went to Chicago and the owner of Breedlove’s called my grandmother when he got his portion of them. He knew that her grandsons (my brother and I) were Bigtime into the Lesney Matchbox cars.  Here’s one of my first Lesney Matchbox……

He told Grandma that these these new cars blow the Matchbox cars away! 

Grandma walked down there (she never learned to drive in her entire life) and ended up buying about 50 of them, trying to get two identical cars for my brother and I so there wouldn’t be fights.

Not always possible. But cool…

 

2 gold OHS Mustangs! A more rare variation because it is a very early car.

This is the very rare ONE-OWNER Kidney Bean Camaro.

Called a Kidney Bean because of the shape of the openings on the base… a very rare early piece!

I remember opening this car strangely enough because it was my first car in that Antifreeze color. I didn’t learn about the base variation until 30 years later!

Some group shots of some of my CHILDHOOD cars only……

I currently own about 1100 Redlines total!

But, my prized possession is my Childhood Purple Charger. It has NEVER been photographed until now! Kind of a weird thing. I take that back…. Only partially photographed. It was part of my “Redlines Online”(early redline hot wheel forum) insignia / avatar.

 

 

Best purple Charger ever….gorgeous thing. I was a Charger nut as a kid and still am. What’s weird is in all of our childhood cars, we only had the “one” Custom Dodge Charger! I loved (and still love) the 68 Charger.  I put the stripe on the rear to simulate the Bumblebee stripes but it looked more like the whide white stripe on the Daytona.  I liked the look! I got the Charger from Grandma, and my brother Jeff got something else. 

Jeff died from leukemia at barely 14 years old in Memphis at St. Jude’s.

These were the last toys we played with together. That is the reason I got back into these in 1992.

My brother Jeff also got a rare white enamel Camaro when we were young..I don’t remember “me” opening it, but it was definitely opened out of blisterpack. One of us did it! I traded it to a neighbor kid for a gorgeous Orange Camaro back then. Jeff and I played with our cars but always tried to keep them from banging into each other. I never saw the white one again. I didn’t know it was high on the rarity scale until many many years later, where I learned so much about the history and that I lucked out with those early cars.

Here is a picture of the same room (living room in El Dorado, AR) that we set up our Hot Wheels tracks, my LIONEL Trains, and these Aurora Model Motoring 60’s slot cars. That’s me in back on the right putting a car back on the track. 

My brother and I only set up our tracks on carpet. Not only did it help hold the track in place and resist the inertia of the cars in the turns, but it protected the cars themselves since they couldn’t roll far if they jumped the track. I was born to be an engineer!

 

Fast forward to many, many years later…

I jumped back into collecting in 1992.

I was able to consign an incredible Redline collection I called the “Texas Find”.

This is what was in it…

The extremely rare light blue  “REAR LOAD BEACH BOMB”, and transitional raw Beach Bomb. 

Larry Cox (former Mattel employee) with what was used as the “model” for the first Rrrumbler, the Road Hog-  This was his everyday transportation at the time.

It was an incredible story of fate. I worked with Larry in Lockheed’s model shop for a good 20 years before finding out he was the first model shop employee assigned to the new “Hot Wheels” project when he was still at Mattel. He then came to Fort Worth to work for General Dynamics which later became Lockheed Martin.

 

This is the VERY FIRST Rrrumbler ever made. Larry made the molds for it all and needed some plastic pellets to try out the new mold for the seat, tank, and handlebars. A well known “Doll” was happy to oblige.

 

Check out the FIRST BONE SHAKER.  It has “translucent “ BONES!

These Green Road Hogs were the 2nd and third Rrrumblers made.

Im still working on a negotiated price for this Rodger Dodger proto!  Unfortunately, Larrys grandkids played with the cars or they ALL would have been in pristine condition!  

A very HIGH END collector has both of Larry’s Beach Bombs now. There were quite a few rare/unique pieces in that collection, such as this dark interior red 442. 

Since my return to collecting Redlines in 1992, I have been able to meet many greater than I collectors. Their collections and methods for acquiring new finds and one owner collections is simply amazing. Meeting and becoming friends with tons of “electronic” friends that are truly friends by their generosity passion for collecting, and compassion for one-another ( myself included). 

 

Bruce Kalapach 2021

6 thoughts on “Bruce Kalapach’s … “AUTO” BIOGRAPHY

  1. Wow truly amazing!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    One tiny detail to correct …

    “I loved (and still love) the 68 Charger.”

    While it does say 68 on the base, its undoubtedly a 69.

    Eric

    1. I know. I love the Real 1:1 1968 Charger. That’s why that green proto of the 68 that exists is an unreal grail for me.

    2. Such an interesting story Bruce insane to find out later you were working alongside a former Mattel employee all of that time! Love those amazing finds I am also a huge fan of the charger lol

      1. I know Gustavo…. I know! Promise me to contact me FIRST if that green True 68 ever needs a new home !!!!

  2. Fantastic story Bruce!
    I am truly honored to know you!
    I pretty much new most of this story, but many of the details I didn’t.
    Thanks for the pics! What a beautiful collection!

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