No matter what decade you were born in, you have to appreciate the #HWC Original 16 line. Released exclusively through HotWheelsCollectors.com (HWC) starting in 2011, these sixteen cars are as close to the original #Redlines as you are going to get — short of buying the 1968 renditions of course. As is the case with the #Custom T-Bird you’ll see below, some of these “Original 16” castings haven’t been produced for 50 years. The cars are painstakingly, historically accurate — in some cases — blending styles of both the USA and Hong Kong versions of the castings. The inner-packaging is so close to the 1968 blister card (even down to the perforated hole punch on top) that legally, Mattel had to stamp “REPLICA” all over it.
The down side of this series is that it has taken seven years to release the first eight cars, however, the team at HWC has committed to releasing the final eight cars, in addition to a master set with exclusive colors, before the end of 2018. Its been quite the task, securing licensing and spending money on new tools, only to have modern collectors have a lackadaisical approach to collecting the line — while other HWC releases have generated more hype and better sales. Still, you have to admire the dedication the HWC team put into finishing this series they promised to #Neo-Classics collectors, culminating in the completion of the #HWC Original 16 line as a tribute to the 50th birthday of the Hot Wheels brand.
The first #HWC Original 16 car of the “back 8” is the first of this year — and, the first one to be released since the HWC O16 Deora in 2015. Its the #Harry Bradley Designed #Custom T-Bird which hasn’t been manufactured for 50 years. The return of this #Thunderbird couldn’t have been executed any better as it features #Spectraflame Olive Green paint, an #Opening Hood, Bent-Axle Suspension and #Neo-Classic #Redline wheels. In a stroke of coincidence, it actually matches the 2018 RLC Membership car, the #Datsun Bluebird 510.
This release of the #Custom T-Bird strikes a personal chord with this collector. When it was originally revealed at one of the conventions, there was a note that its “BG BD BRD” license plate stands for “Big Bad Bird”, and the graphic designer in charge of this release, Steve “HWCVAN” Vandervate has said that the resemblance to my HWC screen name “BIGBADBRAD01” is “purely coincidental”. 😉 So whether it has my screen name on the plate or not — and the folks at Hot Wheels can never really say — it is most likely the closest I’ll ever be to having my name on a Hot Wheels car so I will take it! Cheers to being part of HWC (and the RLC) since the beginning!
In terms of celebrating the return of an original, this is quite the tribute to the original #Custom T-Bird designed by Harry Bradley. The man that deserves the credit for recreating this original tooling is Hot Wheels Designer, Mark Jones. He — along with Brendan Vetuskey — have put a painstaking amount of detail into the return of these #HWC Original 16 cars. I’m sure I am neglecting to mention several of these said details as I am more of a modern collector, but I do remember that the fact this one had an open steering wheel impressed a lot of the collectors who had this one growing up.
The #HWC Original 16 has been a huge win for #Neo-Classics collectors as its one of the coolest lines #HWC, and the #RLC, have ever produced. However, its completion may be a little too late as the bulk of the demographic for a line like this is sadly diminishing. For the guys that are still around, its great to see their patience being rewarded with these true California Custom Miniatures. If having the feeling I do now — with this one in hand — is what kids felt in 1968 with the original 16, its no wonder the Hot Wheels brand has become what it is today.