Towards the end of the #100% Hot Wheels — 2006 to be exact — the line was known as #Kalifornia Kustoms. These highly-detailed, multi-piece Hot Wheels castings were designed for the collector and featured a 14+ age on the packaging. For just this one year, the line’s packaging featured individual cars screwed to a base inside an acrylic tube style display case, with cardboard packaging underneath. This line was unfortunately released at the wrong period in time however as collectors scoffed at the $8 price point, and the cars warmed the shelf until it was ultimately discontinued before year’s end.
Recently, collectors have been digging up the #Kalifornia Kustoms from the depths of their collections and proudly showing them on social media where they have been met with many curious comments from newer collectors. Since the line featured vehicles that were closer to stock than their basic counterparts, many did not feature elaborate graphics schemes like this replica #Jack Baldwin #’94 Camaro which featured #Hot Wheels Race Team graphics just like the real #1 #Race Car.
I admit that I was one of those collectors that refused to buy the #Kalifornia Kustoms back in 2006 strictly because of the price point. As a collector who didn’t open most of his cars at the time, its understandable as it was really tough to appreciate the detail in these cars despite the ultra cool packaging. Also, without the high-definition photography at the touch of our finger tips that we have today, you just didn’t see the amount of work that went into these without buying them and opening them up yourself. Fortunately, 12 years later, I can do it for you as I did buy one of the Kalifornia Kustoms for my #Hot Wheels Race Team collection, the #’94 Camaro.
As you can see, the hood on this #’94 Camaro comes off completely, revealing its engine. Its #Opening Features like this that really set these #100% Hot Wheels apart, giving them a premium feel. The #Hot Wheels Race Team graphics are also done at a high-level, and the car’s detail at the 1:64 scale ranks right up there with anything Hot Wheels has ever done before.
Collectors may think the casting looks familiar as it was done in the same essence as the Hot Wheels ’93 Camaro casting which was released from 1993 until 1999. The ’93 Camaro had several releases in which it actually wore these same #Jack Baldwin #1 #Hot Wheels Race Team graphics, however, I didn’t haveone of those handy when I snapped the casting comparison shots below.
The ’93 and ’94 Camaros weren’t the only Hot Wheels castings to feature the Hot Wheels #Jack Baldwin design. The ’80s Camaro — which some collectors refer to as “Blown Camaro” or “Camaro Z28” — also wore this livery. The one shown below was released in the 1992 Hot Wheels Pro Circuit line which was a premium line at the time, but given the difference of 14 years, a couple more bucks added to the price point, and a whole lot more detail, you can see the vast difference between a premium basic car and a car designed specifically for premium use.
Unfortunately, this #First Edition release of the Hot Wheels #’94 Camaro casting was its only release. Although, I’m sure there wasn’t a whole lot more you could do with the casting outside of other racing liveries, its just sad to think about that amount of work that some Hot Wheels designer put into this piece, only to have the tool destroyed a couple years after the line’s demise. That was actually the case for many of these #100% Hot Wheels so I guess it shouldn’t really be a surprise.
If you’re a fan of #Jack Baldwin or vintage racing in general, this is your best bet at a complete replica of his #1 #Hot Wheels Race Team #Camaro. Revell made a model kit back in the ’90s, but the Hot Wheels release obviously comes pre-assembled and at the 1:64 scale — can’t beat that! Best of luck in obtaining this #’94 Camaro now. The prices on this #Kalifornia Kustom do seem to be on the rise while other cars from the line can be purchased for not much more then what these retailed for.