The #Faster Than Ever cars that appeared in the Hot Wheels mainline were great for diecast racers everywhere because you could pick up a fast car for under $1. While the wheels were nothing more than a copper-chrome open-hole 5-spoke (OH5) wheel, it was the copper color that signified that the axles was nickel-plated. The plating, when applied to the axles, caused less friction than a non-plated axle which in-turn made these releases faster than their standard wheel/axle counterparts.
Suffice to say, the Faster Than Ever (FTE) cars were very popular from not only a racing standpoint but also one of aesthetics as well — of course, there is the perceived value with something that is limited as well. Since the FTE are not currently in production, vehicles with these wheels have seen an increase in value. That includes this very common release of the Buick Grand National which usually sells in the $5 to $10 price range on the secondary market.
The Hot Wheels Buick Grand National is one of a few Hot Wheels that has an #Opening Feature. Designed by Hot Wheels designer, Jun Imai, the whole front end of this casting comes off! This feature has since been removed from the mainline version of this casting (reserved only for premium releases). Back in 2009 however, the FTE Series version that appeared in the mainline in a red and a charcoal colorway, featured this (now premium) feature along with those great FTE wheels.
While it was the red colorway that didn’t particularly interest me at the time, the charcoal one was a home run from a design perspective. The very stock looking body, with just a black painted grill, black trim graphics along the bottom of the sides, and the small Grand National badging, gave this car a very simplistic look. When combined with the matte charcoal metalflake paint that just hugs the lines of the body, the copper-chrome FTE wheels seem to jump right out at you almost making the statement that this car is going to be fast.