Chances are, if you’re a Hot Wheels Collector, you’ve heard of the Pink Rear-Loading Beach Bomb before. Through various books, videos and even a guest appearance on the TV show Pawn Stars, this one Hot Wheels car is the ultimate holy grail as its is expected to be worth around $100,000. Its owner, Bruce Pascal, is what many consider the “ultimate collector” as his collection of thousands of original and prototype redlines netted him a spot in the Diecast Hall of Fame.
When Mattel launched HotWheelsCollectors.com (#HWC) in 2001 — long before social media — the goal was to have one spot for collectors to gather online through bulletin boards (forums), trading boards, and receiving the latest collector news; all while being able to purchase Hot Wheels cars “made like we used to make them”. Several months after the site launched in July of 2001, the Red Line Club (RLC) was formed, and memberships went on sale in early 2002. One of the perks to the membership was offering RLC members a 24-hour priority window to order the site’s online exclusives — a perk that still exists to this day. By mid-2002, the online exclusives known as #HWC Series 1 were being offered for sale selling out in hours with a quantity of 10,000 units — essentially leaving zero behind for HWC members that did not purchase the RLC membership.
This new concept of selling ultra premium Hot Wheels online was met with immediate success. From the collector point of view, many couldn’t have been happier, as they were able to order #Neo-Classic renditions of redline-inspired castings. As in the case with the #Beach Bomb Too, collectors — and more so redline collectors, were ecstatic to finally be able to purchase a casting that closely resembled the original rear-loading Beach Bombs that rarely came up for sale, and when they did, would sell for as much as a real car. Even the Brightvision reproduction kits would sell for tens of, if not, hundreds of dollars, so the #HWC Series 1 price of $14.99 + S&H seemed like a great deal for the Beach Bomb Too.
On December 20, 2002, the #HWC Series 1 #Beach Bomb Too went on sale and, if I remember correctly, was an instant sellout. The new “Too” name made a statement saying this wasn’t some modern view on the Beach Bomb, this was a Beach Bomb too. Now, this new casting no longer had the windows on the side as this interpretation had opted for the paneled look. Although, the moon-roof on top still held true to the original as a benefit to seeing those two different colored #Surfboards held firmly in place by the interior.
If we are going to talk history, I would be remiss to not mention that this #First Edition release of the #Beach Bomb Too was not released in Spectraflame Pink as you see here. No, this is not a custom, but rather an interesting anomaly in the world of manufactured toy cars. The #HWC Series 1 Beach Bomb Too was released in Spectraflame Purple and over the years, many have turned to Pink. It is believed by collectors that a missing preservative in the #Spectraflame Paint led this purple color to be subjected to toning due to exposure to UV light.
This is not something that happened overnight as I can personally attest to having this one on display for several years (in the packaging), without any such issue. When I stored it away in 2008, it went into its plastic storage bin spectraflame purple, but when I recently pulled it from that same bin nearly a decade later, I had noticed the color had indeed shifted. This is served as a word to the wise as many of these (especially the loose ones) are being resold in today’s market as “employee exclusives” or “prototypes” which is certainly not the case — even though an employee one was made.
Even with the toning, this is a remarkable piece. Aside from the obvious #Spectraflame Paint and the #Neo-Classic #Redlines, the #Beach Bomb Too also features a bent-axle suspension, just like the original. You can see the axles & tabs (& fingerprints, sorry!) in the photo below. Looking back, its kind of funny that the casting originally received the performance-based suspension because it was ultimately the casting’s performance that led to its original discontinuation, prompting the need for the rear-loading Beach Bomb to be retooled into the side-loading Beach Bomb.
As kind of a nod to the original situation, the rear-loading #Beach Bomb Too was only produced in 2002 before being replaced by the side-loading Beach Bomb Too in 2003. Though the #First Edition of the Beach Bomb Too went on sale December 20, 2002, and was discontinued by 2003, the rear-loading Beach Bomb Too was released in four colors! How is that you say? Well, the other three — spectraflame red/green/pink — were holiday exclusives limited to 10,000/10,000/275 respectively. The spectraflame pink release was the employee exclusive given to the Hot Wheels staff at the time. The sale date of the spectraflame red/green Beach Bomb Toos actually jumped the #HWC Series 1 release so collectors could have those in time for Christmas of that year. So, as it stands, the only Mattel-made, rear-loading Beach Bomb to be made outside of the 1960s, had four colors … all released in December 2002.
Given the rich history in this #HWC Series 1 release of the #Beach Bomb Too, many modern-day collectors are unaware of most of it. I often check secondary market prices on this one and they are all over the place. For as little as $25 to as much as $75, its anyone’s guess as to what one on the card is actually worth. One thing to note though is that the ones that have had the exposure to light, and have toned as a result of it, have actually increased in value — which is kind of unheard of in the collectible world. Given Hot Wheels collectors obsession with Spectraflame Pink, it makes perfect sense, but it just goes to show you how nuts we all are over these toy cars.