Collection Update

Collection Update: The Two Sides of the Hot Wheels CUSTOM GMC PANEL VAN

Last week I was able to add the #Pop Culture / The Beatles series release of the #Custom GMC Panel Van. Its all-white body with blue brush guard, and graphics from the 1965 Beatles album Help! had me reminiscing about the days of the casting as the A-Team Van. Its a casting that I collect, and one that I had to drag out of storage. All my releases were carded, hence why you’ll see both carded and loose pictures if you scroll down below.

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The Casting Collection of the Hot Wheels Custom GMC Panel Van (Family photo, August 2019)

The base of the casting initially read, “’83-’84 GMC PANEL VAN” on the 2011 New Models release, and was changed to “CUSTOM GMC PANEL VAN” when the casting got a metal base in 2013. Doing this as such, pretty much assured us that Hot Wheels would find other uses for it — and they did. But that was several years later. The first three releases of the #Custom GMC Panel Van were released in the A-Team Van livery. Those releases netted us three distinct versions of the famous van from the TV series, The A-Team (1983-1987). We will get to specifics in a minute.

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The three releases of the Hot Wheels Custom GMC Panel Van as the A-Team Van

The OTHER THREE releases of the #Custom GMC Panel Van have served as a billboard. Hot Wheels castings with large, relatively flat spaces are known as “billboard castings” and it seems the casting formerly known as the A-Team Van has become just that. I think collectors’ hearts are a little more at ease as the #Van has already been released in that A-Team livery, but imagine if it hadn’t…

With that said, this casting has now been released twice in the Hot Wheels #Pop Culture line, and once as a promotional mail-in known as a Collector Edition.

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The three releases of the Hot Wheels Custom GMC Panel Van as NOT the A-Team Van

When the A-Team Van was first released in 2011 as part of the 2011 New Models, collectors went crazy. Just like all mainline #TV & Movie Cars from that era, the A-Team Van van no different, as it was strange to see one hanging, as most of the time, collectors were intercepting these straight from the cases. Sound familiar? The A-Team Van was finally a Hot Wheels car nearly 30 years after the debut of the TV series, and it was one of the hottest cars of 2011.

Collectors had a right to hoard the A-Team Van in 2011 as it was the last time they would ever see it on the pegs for a dollar. Two years later, the casting resurfaced as the #Custom GMC Panel Van — still in its A-Team livery — as part of just the second wave of a new line called, #Retro Entertainment. It has long been rumored that the A-Team Van would return to what is now referred to as the “Replica Entertainment” line, but six years later, there has been no such release.

Later that same year, the #Custom GMC Panel Van was a 2013 San Diego Comic Con Exclusive. You’ll see below that the execution of the packaging was amazing, and the picture doesn’t even show that foam-insulated case that the acrylic display was placed in. The level of detail on the #SDCC Exclusive was similar to the Retro Entertainment release, but this version had faux-mud caked all over the windshield, tires, and bottom portion of the van. This was the “dirty version” of the A-Team Van. It was another awesome SDCC release in what is now, a long-list of SDCC Exclusives by Hot Wheels. Little did we know, this would be the last time we saw it as the A-Team Van.

Five years later, collectors had thought that the casting was subject to termination. The chance of a Hot Wheels casting being reused after 5/6 years (without a release) significantly drops at that threshold. You could even go as far as to say that the casting was on the verge of extinction. Then, a breath of fresh air was breathed into the life of this casting as it reemerged from its dark place known as the Malaysia plant tool storage room. The #Custom GMC Panel Van found new life as an aforementioned, “billboard casting”. Its first stop was in the 2018 #Pop Culture line where it would wear Runts graphics as part of the Nestlé Movie Theater Candy series.

In addition to its new #Pop Culture release, the #Custom GMC Panel Van also seen life as a 2018 Mail-In. Decked out in spectraflame dark red, its easily the best release of the casting outside the A-Team releases. To obtain the van, collectors mailed-in Target receipts starting with the ones from the first — and so far only — Target Collector Event in June 2018.

The new kid on the block is the #Custom GMC Panel Van from the #Pop Culture / The Beatles series. Like I mentioned earlier, the release features artwork from the album cover of the 1965 Beatles album Help!. This one is just hitting stores now, and is, fortunately, coming three to a case for all you other collectors of this casting.

That’s it for the #Collection Update. What do you think of the two sides of the Hot Wheels #Custom GMC Panel Van? Should Hot Wheels have retired it after its A-Team releases? … OR are you just glad to see this wicked-awesome #Van still being released? Share your thoughts below.

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2 replies »

  1. I’ve never been a big fan of the pop culture series other than that I can pick them up as wheel donors 😛 but it’s good to see that the casting is still alive so it can see more releases, hopefully one day with some cool 80’s van airbrushed art on the side!

  2. Seeing that mail-in release reminds me- what do you know about any upcoming K-mart (or other) mail-in related events or promotions?

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