The long-awaited #RLC Exclusive #Hi-Po Hauler is here! Since appearing on a February 2017 episode of Discovery Channel’s Fast N’ Loud where Hot Wheels challenged Gas Monkey Garage to build a 1:1 scale Hot Wheels car for the Red Line Club, fans of the show and Hot Wheels collectors alike have eagerly waited for the Hot Wheels release.
Now that the #Hi-Po Hauler is here, it is the third vehicle to join the Hot Wheels #Gas Monkey Garage (GMG), garage. The Hi-Po Hauler marks the first release of a GMG car in the ultra-premium #RLC, as the #’68 Corvette known as the “Midas Monkey” and the #Gas Monkey Garage Monster Truck have both been retail castings. All-together, they make a heck of a trio — as you can see below.
The Hot Wheels #Hi-Po Hauler went on sale September 18th on HotWheelsCollectors.com and collectors had received them around the first week of October. Since then, I have heard all kinds of crazy feedback in response to the release, but none as unnerving as the collector who commented, “this is just the Econoline casting with an engine in the back”. When I heard that, my face met my palm as this is simply so much more.
The Hot Wheels #’60s Ford Econoline Pickup used at retail in the #Pop Culture, #HW 50th Favorites and #Car Culture lines is a #Mark Jones Design, and did come first. Oddly enough, with the Hot Wheels first #Econoline already in production back in late 2016 / early 2017, it was simply coincidence that the #Gas Monkey Garage guys chose a 1963 Ford Econoline as their “RLC Project Car”. Hot Wheels Designer, Brendon Vetuskey — who was tasked with bringing the #Hi-Po Hauler into Hot Wheels form — actually used the CAD files from this new ’60s Ford Econoline Pickup casting as a starting point for the Hi-Po Hauler. And, NO, that does not mean these are the same casting.
If you look at the photo above, you’ll notice two aspects: the rear engine (thanks Captain Obvious) and the noticeably raked-stance of the #Hi-Po Hauler. The rear axle had been moved back to better align with the real truck. But there are so many more details that often go unseen.
You may remember Brendon (if you saw the Fast N’ Loud Hi-Po Hauler episode) was seen in the episode actually going to Gas Monkey Garage and working on the real car with the GMG guys. He fabricated several parts of the real #Hi-Po Hauler including the radiator mounts and the rear anti-sway bar mounting brackets, so he made sure to include them in this design. Check out the image of the base below and you’ll see the air intake built right into it.
Another thing you may have noticed by looking at the base is the fact that you can see right through part of it. Brendon said that if you stood over the bed of the real Hi-Po Hauler, you could see down to the ground — hence why the Hot Wheels casting features that detail. Other notable differences include the truck bed overhaul on the Hi-Po versus the plastic bed (with skateboard) on the retail #Econoline casting, AND the front headlights being a separate piece on the Hi-Po versus being part of the body on the ’60s Ford Econoline Pickup.
With all the differences, its easy to overlook the wheels. You can see that the retail #Econoline casting has four of the same wheels whereas, the Hi-Po Hauler was cast to incorporate drag wheels — both the thick #Real Riders Preferred Wheels on the back, and the super skinny, #Real Riders DSD 12-Spoke Drag Wheels on the front! So while the Hot Wheels #Hi-Po Hauler may have started with the files of the #’60s Ford Econoline Pickup casting, Brendon left his mark, creating a brand-new, entirely-different casting.
Speaking of the Hot Wheels #Hi-Po Hauler design, its truly a sign of things to come in the #RLC in 2019. The detail on this ALL DIECAST MOTOR — yeah, not plastic (as others have reported) — is unprecedented as far as Hot Wheels castings are concerned. If you take a quick look at what is coming to the club in 2019, you’ll see how much of a stickler for detail Brendon is as he is in charge of all new designs for HWC/RLC. Combine that with the hand-painted details that Hot Wheels Graphic Designer Steve Vandervate instituted, and there no telling how far this team will go.
I’ve been a RLC member since year one, and we have NEVER seen detail to the likes of this in a #HWC/#RLC release before — and like I’ve said, this is only a sign of things to come. Its a great milestone that shouldn’t be overlooked, as the Hot Wheels #Hi-Po Hauler brings in a new era for the club. Hats off to all that were involved in making this, as its truly a marvelous piece.