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Collector Bruce Pascal has 4,000 Hot Wheels including the ultra-rare pink VW Beach Bomb

Bruce Pascal is one of the most devoted Hot Wheels collectors on the planet.

Photo courtesy of Bruce Pascal

The first Hot Wheels arrived in stores in 1968 and it wasn't long until they became the number one toy. Bruce Pascal was seven years old at the time and remembers the toy immediately becoming popular with his circle of friends.

"It's hard to explain the craze today, but Hot Wheels was huge. All of my friends were saving up to buy all the Hot Wheels they could," Pascal said.

While he was growing up, Pascal, like kids across the country, kept his Hot Wheels in a cigar box. As he grew up, the cigar box gathered more dust, sitting on a shelf for 30 years until Pascal rediscovered the collection in 1999.

Volkswagen Beach Bomb Hot Wheels The pink Volkswagen Beach Bomb is the most sought-after Hot Wheels car in the world. Photo courtesy of Bruce Pascal

"That excited feeling I had as a boy was rekindled instantly," said Pascal. "My friend offered to pay me $200 for the cigar box. I declined and held onto them, but it was his offer that made me start researching the value of Hot Wheels and pursuing collecting as an adult."

His search became a bit obsessive. Pascal began calling other collectors, taking out newspaper ads, and even used a 1969 telephone book of Mattel employees to see if any former workers had rare toys they would be willing to part with for a price. He collected everything he could, including Hot Wheels memorabilia like blueprints, original drawings, sales brochures, and wood models.

His collection grew from that cigar box to thousands of Hot Wheels. Yet Pascal was not satisfied. He still had not found the one Hot Wheels vehicle that was alluding him, the most valuable Volkswagen ever produced - the pink Volkswagen Beach Bomb prototype.

The model was a bit of a folly. When VW and Hot Wheels initially created it, the car's narrow body and surf boards out the back window made the vehicle unable to stay upright when rolled. So, it was redesigned and the sides became more weighted and the surfboards were moved to the sides of the vehicle. This was the model that made it into production. The Beach Bomb was sold with a sticker sheet of flowers to decorate the vehicle, an offering that was very of its time.

Volkswagen Beach Bomb Hot Wheels There are only two of the pink models in existence.Photo courtesy of Bruce Pascal

The original prototypes with the surfboards out the back window are extremely rare, as only Hot Wheels employees had access to them. Of these prototypes, the pink ones are the rarest of all. There are only two known to be in existence.

"I already had heard about [the Beach Bomb] in purple, green, red, light blue and gold. I even had heard about an unpainted model," said Pascal. "But pink was extremely hard to find. Most Hot Wheels models were marketed to young boys, who the brand assumed didn't want to play with pink. They created just a few pink [Beach Bomb] models to market to their female audience."

Eventually, Pascal networked his way into purchasing both pink Beach Bombs models. He has since sold one of them to another friend and collector, but the one that is in the best condition has stayed with him.

Today, Pascal owns over 4,000 Hot Wheels models and about 3,000 pieces of memorabilia, but the pink Volkswagen Beach Bomb remains his most prized possession.

"I won't say how much I purchased it for," said Pascal, "but it is worth an estimated $150,000 today."

To help prevent sun damage, the Beach Bomb remains in a dark, Plexiglass case. Pascal displays the model in his personal museum in Maryland, where he gives private tours to other Hot Wheels enthusiasts. He has also loaned the model out to other automotive museums and events for display.

"I want other people to experience the Beach Bomb. I've found so much joy in learning about classic cars and Hot Wheels, and I hope I can spark some of that in other people. It's a treasure to find these rare models," Pascal said.

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Improved hot hatch

The 2022 VW Golf GTI gets new handling tech

Improvements to the GTI's handling and steering should make it even faster in the curves.

Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is one of the most recognizable and popular cars the automaker sells. After a bumpy few years that ended with the standard Golf model being nixed from VW's U.S catalog, we're starting to see concrete details on the upcoming performance variants of the car, which will thankfully end up heading our way. The eighth-generation Golf GTI and Golf R will make landfall in the United States as 2022 models, and will both feature a load of new tech and refinements. VW just announced the changes that are being made to the GTI's handling and performance systems, and they are extensive, to say the least.


2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI VW is offering the 8th-gen Golf only in high-performance GTI and R configurations.Volkswagen


Volkswagen is giving the legendary hot hatch a host of improvements, which the automaker says will give the car more precise, stable handling at its limit. The GTI's front suspension has been reconfigured with new wishbone bearings and damping hydraulics. VW says that the car's springs and buffer stops have also been revised, which will give the font axle spring rate that is five percent higher than its predecessor. A new aluminum subframe is also in place, which will reduce weight by seven pounds over the previous car.

The eighth-generation Golf brought a new VW Vehicle Dynamics Manager system which will also benefit the upcoming GTI. The system integrates the car's electronic stability control with its electronic differentials, and in GTI models equipped with the optional DCC adaptive damping system, the system adjusts individual wheel damping up to 200 times per second. The differential itself will now come standard with all GTI models. It's an electronically-controlled torque-sensing limited-slip unit, which varies the levels of its intervention based on how the car is being driven and on how the other traction control functions are being used.


2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI The GTI's steering is now more responsive.Volkswagen


The GTI's steering system has also been revised to now include an enhanced progressive steering function that uses software to help turn the vehicle with less steering effort, depending on speed. Volkswagen says that the GTI's steering takes just 2.1 turns of the steering wheel to go from lock to lock when it's equipped with 18-inch wheels.

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The winner of the Charles Schwab Challenge earns this resto-modded Dodge Power Wagon.

Photo courtesy of the Charles Schwab Challenge

Newly crowned 2021 PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson will be among a group of international golfers vying for the lowest score at the Charles Schawab Challenge PGA Tour event in Fort Worth, Texas this weekend.

The winner of the tournament will receive a 1946 Dodge Power Wagon that has undergone a complete resto-mod revision by Legacy Classic Trucks. This is the second vehicle the tournament has awarded to a winner with a 1973 Dodge Challenger awarded to Kevin Na in 2019. Na didn't keep the car for long. He turned it over to his car-obsessed caddy Kenny Harms.

The '46 Power Wagon is a nod to the roots of the tourney. This year marks the 75th anniversary of The Colonial, the original name for the event.

1946 Dodge Power Wagon Charles Schwab Legacy Classic Trucks The interior of the truck wears The Colonial's tartan.Photo courtesy of the Charles Schwab Challenge

Under its hood is a 6.2-liter Chevrolet LS3 engine that delivers 430 horsepower. The engine is paired with a four-speed automatic transmission and a custom Atlas transfer case. The rig rides on 40-inch Toyota tires and custom Trail Ready wheels.

Modern conveniences have been added like air conditioning, disc brakes, a long travel suspension, and a 12,000-pound Warn winch.

Because Charles Schwab is the sponsor of the tournament, Legacy Classic Trucks added some special 'Schwab' elements to the model including a Dove blue paint job and a custom 'SCHWAB' tailgate and brightwork. The interior of the truck is upholstered with a tartan fabric in the design of The Colonial's traditional plaid. A custom nameplate on the dashboard acknowledges Ben Hogan's 1946 win that started the legacy of the tournament.

Similar resto-modded trucks by Legacy Classic Trucks go for around $350,000.

1946 Dodge Power Wagon Charles Schwab Legacy Classic Trucks The rear of the truck features a custom tailgate.Photo courtesy of the Charles Schwab Challenge

Uniquely, the truck has inspired a song by up-and-coming country singer Travis Denning called "Grew Up with a Truck". The song debuted last week on Bobby Bones' podcast, "Bobbycast".

Other golfers joining Mickelson at the tournament include Lee Westwood, Jordan Speith, Si Woo Kim, and Sergio Garcia.

The first round of play kicks off on Thursday, May 27 with the second and third round on ensuing days leading up to the Final Round on Sunday, May 30. Tickets for the event are still available.

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