In 2002, Hot Wheels brought the #Hot Wheels Race Team back to the mainline after its disappearance as a segment series in 1998. The only thing was, it was no longer a typical segment series that was designated by series name. Rather, it was a hidden segment series found in the open vamp (mainline vehicles with no series designation). This hidden Hot Wheels Race Team segment consisted of the 10 vehicles listed below.
- ’67 Camaro (2002 Hot Wheels #139)
- Anglia Panel Truck (2002 Hot Wheels #143) – Seen Below!
- Thunderstreak (2002 Hot Wheels #131)
- T-Bird Stocker (2002 Hot Wheels #155)
- Pikes Peak Celica (2002 Hot Wheels #160)
- Speed Blaster (2002 Hot Wheels #168)
- ’57 T-Bird 2002 Hot Wheels #165)
- Cabbin’ Fever (2002 Hot Wheels #193)
- Dodge Sidewinder (2002 Hot Wheels #210)
- Super Modified (2002 Hot Wheels #211)
To further the notion that this was indeed a hidden segment series, Hot Wheels incorporated each car’s number into its #Hot Wheels Race Team graphics.
The interesting part of the series came in the form of color variances. Mainline cars have a production of around 1,000,000 pieces nowadays, so there is plenty of room for variances between wheels, bases and even paint density/color. While some collectors may tell you more, there are two distinct variances in color applied to the cars in this segment — metalflake blue & dark blue.
Back in 2002, base codes weren’t applied yet, so there was no way to precisely determine what variant came first. From my recollection, it was the metalflake dark blue that came first. From what I remember being told at the time, the dark blue paint was deemed “too dark” after it dried, so the decision was made to start producing the vehicles with a match of the metalflake blue paint used in the Race Team Series IV from 1998.
The Hot Wheels Anglia Panel Truck was designed by Phil Riehlman and was first released in 2000 as part of the First Editions for that year. Its one of the most used castings in Hot Wheels history with over 40 releases in the last 16 years. Its appeared in numerous lines and was released as recently as 2014. In 2011, the hood was sealed shut on the mainline tool of this casting, whereas the premium lines tool still has the #Opening Hood.