In 2005, the Hot Wheels Switchback “switched” its black and red colors as part of its run in the 2005 mainline Twenty+ Series. Over 10 years later, the reason for this is still unclear but right away collectors noticed the “switch” as one version showed up exclusively in Canada. The variation with the black top and red bottom was the more common one as it showed up here in the United States and other countries worldwide. The variation with the red top and black bottom was found exclusively in Canada. At first, these were thought to be an initial run and/or extremely rare. However, as soon as Canadian collectors realized they had an exclusive on their hands, they grabbed a few more as “trade bait” to exchange with other collectors outside of the country.
As a collector of the Switchback since its initial release in 2003, I have followed this release from the beginning and have never seen anything like it. Fortunately, I was able to obtain one quite easily back in 2005. Nowadays, the “Canadian release” seems to be a little more scarce as it was assumed to be produced in a lesser quantity.
Designed by former Hot Wheels designer, Eric Tscherne, many collectors had assumed the Switchback was a not-so-distant-future Chevrolet S-10 with exaggerated proportions, but Eric set the record straight with his April 2009 narrative on the Hot Wheels Wiki:
The design of the vehicle was retro inspired blending elements of classic hot rod pick up trucks with modern lines. Originally the design was to debut as part of Highway 35 along with 4 other designs. When HWY35 became the World Race, Switchback remained in the lineup but got a special paint scheme as part of the Wave Rippers. The original two-tone paint scheme was used on the First Edition.
So there you have it. I should also note that the original two-tone paint Eric used on his initial drawing has become a unique characteristic of the Switchback. Half of its releases have worn this paint style but none have seen the colors flip-flopped as in the case of the 2005 Twenty+ release.