Showcase Original 16: CUSTOM T-BIRD

No matter what decade you were born in, you have to appreciate the #HWC Original 16 line. Released exclusively through (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.

Orange Track Diecast

RELEASE DETAILS: Spectraflame Olive Green Body (metal). Light Blue Tinted Windows. Cream Interior. Neo-Classic Redline Wheels. Chrome-Plated Metal Base. Made in China. Toy# FCM75. Released in 2018 as part of the HWC Original 16 line, limited to 6,000 pieces.

2 replies »

  1. Are you kidding me? The HWC has promised the so called “Diminishing Demographic” so much more than they could actually deliver, taking years to complete some things while others just fade away with someone hoping that we’ll just forget about it. How many years worth of backorders and incomplete series is the Collector who bought into this expected to take?
    The original mission statement of the club was “We make em’ like we used to” was quickly forgotten when they stopped making cars with either torsion bar or bent axle suspension, claiming that the cost was too great even though most were willing to pay 25 times the cost of the originals. Then came the days of the Marketing Gurus that stopped listening to what we wanted and told us what we were going to get. We’re a long way from the clubs early beginnings and it’s gone south fast. Someone just doesn’t get it or just doesn’t care to.

    What Demographic are they targeting? The hard core Hot Wheels Collectors, you know, the ones that Collect and Covet the ORIGINAL REDLINES have lost all hope seeing how a club that held so much promise of the past going into the future has just abandoned them.
    Customer service is a joke but no one is really laughing, the I.T department in third world countries is far superior to the current team, so what do we have to look forward to?
    The End is near so all we can do is hope they finish giving us the original 16 they promised us 8 years ago, then who really cares?

  2. What a beautiful model . Ok , it was originally produced as a children’s toy along with its’ 15 diecast brethren , but whatever it is beautiful . I was 17 when Hot Wheels burst on to the scene . In UK it must have felt like heresy to normal children who played with Hornby and Triang trains , and normal toy cars your dad may have . But I was not normal , I was a hippy ! My sister was courting an American guy in the secret doo-dads . I was born chronically ill , and my mum (mom) had died earlier in 1961 . I was introduced to plastic models in 1955 . By 1956, I had discovered the hot rod , custom , and drag-racing scene thanks to my dad buying me some American car mags . I was 5 ! But boy I was hooked . American car kits had real chrome for lights , bumpers , and hub-caps . You could build your model 3 ways stock , custom (yay) or drag . This was unheard of in British kits . Then the Summer of Luuurve arrived and within 12 months , I got hooked again ! Some of the car mags had picture adverts for Hot Wheels (?), and knowing I was a bit weird and liked hot rods my sister bought me what became known as…..the ‘Sweet 16’ . Toy hot rods and customs… England !! I feel genuinely privileged to have had the joy , and the experience , but give me the new ones any day . They are scale models and at 72 , I love them . Thank you Brad . Thank you Hot Wheels . Pete

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