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1997 Hot Wheels #613: LONDON BUS

Chances are, if you were collecting 20 years ago, you remember the influx of #Ex-Corgi Castings that appeared in the Hot Wheels mainline starting in the summer of 1997. Whether you liked them or thought their proportions were too far off from your standard Hot Wheels vehicle, they are considered Hot Wheels castings. It was kind of a weird time back in 1997 as the world wide web was in its infancy. Short of buying reference guides or talking to local collectors at shows, you were often caught off-guard with what you found on the pegs. Maybe veteran toy collectors knew it at the time, buy many had no idea that these were #Ex-Corgi Castings that were infiltrating the mainline. Suffice to say, it was kind of a cool treat to find these mysterious castings on a Hot Wheels blister card.

Two of my personal favorite vehicles, were the #London Bus and the London Taxi. While the London Taxi is a conversation for another day, the Double-Decker London Bus was interesting as this was really the first (and last) release of it under that name. It was released a year prior as part of the FAO Schwarz Gold Series Collection III set. Before that, it was a Corgi casting known as the Daimler Fleetline — the name that is cast into the plastic base of this release.

Orange Track Diecast

Hot Wheels London Bus and London Taxi from the 1997 Hot Wheels mainline open vamp, Collector #613 and #619 respectively

Aside from the nice, bright red paint and simple “The London Standard” advertising graphics that adorn this one, this casting kind of feels more like a brick wall when its in your hand versus being a vehicle. The base of it is remarkably narrow as it was most likely done this way to keep it proportional to the rest of this tall casting.

Orange Track Diecast

Hot Wheels London Bus from the 1997 Hot Wheels mainline open vamp, Collector #613 (REAR)

The Hot Wheels #London Bus if definitely one of the more oblong castings you’ll ever see but that is kind of what makes it so cool. Besides it being a #Discontinued Casting that you will never see again, it definitely looks funny when you send it down the orange track — that is, if you can get it to stay up! Its height, combined with its narrow base, gives in to the forces of nature, allowing for this one to wobble and tip over quite easily. While it may not scream Hot Wheels by any regards, its from an era (and brand) in which it was never intended to.

Orange Track Diecast

RELEASE DETAILS: Red Body (metal). Black Windows. Chrome 5-Spoke (5SP) Wheels. Black Base (plastic). Made in China. Toy# 95512. Released in 1997 as Hot Wheels Collector #613 in the Hot Wheels mainline.


For more images of your favorite Hot Wheels vehicles, please visit the @orangetrackdiecast Instagram.

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