The year was 2003 and out of the forty-two #2003 First Editions, there weren’t many that excited the general collecting community. No rush to the pegs to hoard all of one #First Edition … it was kind of nice. Of course that was then and its 13 years later and what appeared to be a lackluster lineup of new vehicles, actually produced some beautiful castings that Hot Wheels still produces today. If you’re into licensed castings, the 2003 First Editions probably won’t appeal to you past the Enzo Ferrari and the infamous Bugatti Veyron — or even the Meyers Manx and the Chaparral 2D. But, and I mean BUT … the #Unlicensed Hot Wheels castings in the 2003 First Editions have really shined over the years. You have the modern surf truck in the #Switchback, the souped-up “Corvair” in the #Vairy 8, the RX-7 inspired, super tuner in the #24/Seven and the crown jewel of them all, the #8 Crate.
Based off of a Custom ’50s Ford Station Wagon, as that is what it ran as in 2003’s Ford Series in the #Preferred Line, the 8 Crate is the epitome of custom, cool design. From those body lines, to that extremely large 8-cylinder crate engine positioned in the back, this lead sled has the makings of a power plant on wheels.
Personally, I can remember when this casting first came out. Back before everything was seen online, hot off the assembly line, we used to get teased with the names of unlicensed Hot Wheels on the back of blister cards. When the name “8 Crate” first appeared on the back of the first couple 2003 First Editions, many collectors speculated as to what it could be. Many assumed it would be some sort of 8-cylinder crate engine race car or muscle car but no one imagined it being a custom station wagon — well, maybe Hot Wheels design, Phil Riehlman.
Phil, one of my favorite Hot Wheels designers of all time, designed the aforementioned 8 Crate. When I first saw it, it reminded me of the character Shadow from the Playstation videogame, Twisted Metal 2 (1996). In hindsight, Shadow and the 8 Crate share very little in common. Shadow was a hearse and this is merely a #Station Wagon. It was more of that purple, black and gray color scheme that gave both a truly sinister look.
As it stands, the 8 Crate has been released 22 times since this #First Edition release and has had over 37 variations. In 2010, an alternate tooling was created turning the 8 Crate into a paneled station wagon which often goes by the name, 8 Crate Delivery. The 8 Crate’s latest release came in 2016 as part of the Stars & Stripes series which we featured earlier this year.