Last week Saturday I was showing off my Hot Wheels ’55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser collection on Instagram. Unbeknownst to me, the casting’s latest edition was being handed out at the El Segundo Mattel Employee Association’s (MEA) annual dinner dance. The #MEA Dinner Dance cars are nothing new as these #Employee Exclusives have been handed out for years. The cool thing about them is that they are always themed to the dinner/dance and are very limited. This year’s #’55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser clearly takes “Candy Cane Wonderland” to a whole new level.
One of the coolest aspects of having a #MEA release in your collection is that these are not made available to the public, heck, they aren’t even available to the Hot Wheels design team. The MEA Dinner Dance is an event for the corporate side of Mattel so getting a piece from it can be challenging. I don’t currently own any from previous years, so I am not sure if they have featured the quantities on the base of the acrylic case before — known as a “plinth” — but this #’55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser has a run of 425 pieces.
Considering the fact that the 2014 HWC Special Edition “Candy Striper” ’55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser continues to sell for large sums of money, I figured this release was going to take up my monthly collecting budget, which it did. How much did I pay? I am not going to say. But I will tell you that it set a record (by far) in terms of “most I have ever paid for a single Hot Wheels car”.
How about that design? Its wild, right? What jumps out at you first?
For me, the first thing I saw was that “candy cane wheel”. Its obnoxiously cool! Have we ever seen a full-deco’d sidewall of a #Real Rider tire before? I can’t say that I recall a single instance in the Hot Wheels 50+ year history of this ever being done before. What next?
How about the paint? It may be hard to tell from these photos but it appears the paint is printed directly on the car. Its a process that is currently used by the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks and #Character Cars lines, which should make total sense considering the two designers behind this release were Bryan Benedict and Jeremy Cox — Designer and Graphic Designer for the aforementioned lines. These graphics have a raised effect seen on other limited cars from the Thailand plant, like last year’s “Mardi Gras Masquerade” Volkswagen Drag Bus.
“Candy Cane Wonderland” adorns the trunk of this #’55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser, whereas holly leaves are placed at just about every corner of the car. The green headlights are a nice touch, but its those red candy cane swirls that really pop. If mimicking the texture of real candy canes was the intention, the team absolutely nailed it!
So how does that #’55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser casting collection look today? Well, it looks relatively the same as the other day, EXCEPT it is now anchored by what many will consider a grail piece in the years to come. I was very fortunate (and grateful) to acquire such a cool piece. Congrats to the others that have as well, best of luck to those that are still trying, and good riddance to those that aren’t even going to consider it!