When Hot Wheels first started to dabble in the #Tuners and #JDM cars in the early 2000s, the Toyota Celica was among the very first. While some collectors (at the time) were disappointed the Celica didn’t come more stock, most came around when they realized the Hot Wheels Toyota Celica casting was based off of the TRD Concept Celica by Toyota. Hot Wheels Designer, Phil Riehlman did a great job capturing the essence of the Toyota Celica and in some ways even enhanced it. It even looks better than the Celicas that were used in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in the early 2000s.
The initial release of the Toyota Celica (shown below) was included in the 2001 First Editions and was only released in yellow. However, it wears the same graphics as the 2002 Hot Wheels #151 release. Those graphics are faux-sponsors as they are most likely names of Mattel employees just like the large “RHLman Turbo” graphic which is a nod to designer Phil RieHLman — making this one of many #Cars featuring names of Mattel Employees.
It seems as though the Toyota Celica casting has run its course in the Hot Wheels lineup as the last one was released in 2011 as a multi-pack exclusive. With about 15 versions, the casting had a great run. As a collector of the casting, I would obviously love to see more releases, but I realize this casting was not popular by any means. Time to close the books on this piece of TRD racing history.