Some Hot Wheels collectors believe that the Hot Wheels #Pop Culture line has gotten stale with repetitive themes plastered all over the sides of repeat castings. While that may be true to some extent, its the new, one-off series that are the real test. The freshly released, #MAD Magazine series has been hitting pegs for a couple weeks here in the U.S. and despite the fresh subject matter, its the two — heavily repeated — #’66 Dodge A100 vans stealing the show.
The Hot Wheels #’66 Dodge A100 is no stranger to the #Pop Culture line as it seems as just about every other series features it — my local retail stores still have the Peanuts and Ralph McQuarrie Star Wars ones warming the pegs. In a rather unique situation however, the ’66 Dodge A100 casting was used twice in this series of 5 vehicles. Had you told me that this was the case before I had even seen the graphics, I would have known that this was so each spy from Spy vs. Spy could have his own vehicle. This makes perfect sense as I would argue that Spy vs. Spy is probably the most popular MAD segment — at least to my generation that grew up with MADtv. When placed in the arrangement seen below, the squarish bodies of the ’66 Dodge A100 make it look like a scene straight out of the magazine.
It would come as no surprise to learn that this was planned by Hot Wheels graphic designer Steve Vandervate. Back in April, when Steve (known as HWCVan) sneak peeked this set on HotWheelsCollectors.com (HWC), he divulged this tiny insight into his passion for this series:
MAD was my window to the world in my formative years and it is not an exaggeration to say I would be a different person without it. In a career full of proud moments, this is right at the top.
Suffice to say that Van’s passion for #MAD Magazine largely led us to this set of five really cool cars. His impact on the series is everywhere and possibly the coolest tidbit of information is that since MAD Magazine didn’t have the high-resolution photos needed for the artwork on these castings, Van, a collector of the old MAD Magazines, scanned his own personal magazines for the graphics on these vehicles!
Together, the White van (featuring the Black Spy) and the Black van (featuring the White Spy) make a great set. The artwork seems to roll right off these cars as that is mostly what the Hot Wheels #Pop Culture line is all about. Its an extension of Hot Wheels that goes beyond car culture and into the realm of nostalgia — something that most gear-heads can appreciate.
As I mentioned earlier, the ’66 Dodge A100’s involvement in pop culture has been “active” to say the least. While collectors have been yearning for the #’66 Dodge A100 to be used in another capacity, they may finally get their wish in 2018 as all of Hot Wheels’ premium lines will be made at their Thailand plant which will allow for the sharing of tools between the #Pop Culture and #Car Culture lines.
As for the #MAD Magazine series, well believe me when I say that those fine folks working for Hot Wheels have eagerly awaited the collector response to this series as that will be a factor when decisions are made regarding this — and similar — content. While the two Spy vs. Spy vans are hard to find right now, grab the other three which seem to be readily available on the pegs. Open them up, roll them around, take photos, do whatever … and head over to HWC to tell Van how much you appreciate this series. Without MAD Magazine, there is no Spy vs. Spy, and after these ’66 Dodge A100 van releases, its safe to say that collectors would love to see this pair of mischievous spies return.