Wooooooah! Its not what you think… we aren’t featuring Matchbox here now. Rather, there is a new #Jeep on the Hot Wheels side of the Mattel family. The #First Edition of the #’17 Jeep Wrangler appears as a #2018 New Model in the #HW Hot Trucks Series as part of the #2018 Hot Wheels “D” case assortment, which just started hitting pegs in the U.S. a week ago.
Its no secret that Jeeps are few and far between in the land of Hot Wheels since Mattel’s acquisition of Matchbox in 1997. So how did a new #Jeep — a brand that is typically reserved for the Matchbox division — end up being a new Hot Wheels model? One man: Phil Riehlman.
Phil Riehlman, you say? The guy that designed the Volkswagen Drag Bus?
Those of us collectors that attend the Hot Wheels conventions have really gotten to know Phil as he can be seen at the autograph sessions and going room-to-room conversing with collectors. He will even be the guest of honor at the Hot Wheels Collectors Nationals Convention in Dallas in April, but I digress…
Phil has designed so many Hot Wheels castings, its ridiculous — but of course he is most famous for the #Volkswagen Drag Bus. Those that know Phil, have made it clear that he is a “Jeep Aficionado” so it should come as no surprise that he has designed a new Jeep — with a customized approach — for 2018.
But if Phil is such a Jeep guy, why haven’t we seen more Jeeps in the Hot Wheels lineup?
Good question, as its not one I have a definitive answer for. What I will say is that Phil hasn’t been designing as much in recent years due to his position at Mattel. However, he does sneak in new castings from time to time, its just not a frequent as it was in the past. After learning that Phil did #Bowser from the Super Mario Character Cars, I asked him if we would see more from him in 2018. His reply, “yes” as he also stated that he had several new castings coming out in 2018 as he was trying to get back into more design work.
This is truly a win for collectors as Phil has quite the portfolio of Hot Wheels design. As you can see, he has already started out 2018 with this red-hot #’17 Jeep Wrangler. While some may say that this #Jeep should have been reserved for the Matchbox brand, its wealth of modifications put it right at home in the Hot Wheels brand. From the cut out inserts in the doors to the snorkel, back canopy, glass-covered engine, and large wheels that complete a lifted, #Off-Road Vehicle approach, the ’17 Jeep Wrangler is truly a detailed casting. If this is just Phil getting back into the swing of things, we could only wait for what else we will be drooling over in 2018.
For more photos of your favorite Hot Wheels, check out @orangetrackdiecast on Instagram!