The reason the Hot Wheels #Car Culture line has been such a success is the fact that each wave targets a certain aspect of real-life car culture — hence the name. The car selection has been fantastic, the move to full-detail has proven to be well worth it, and the card art fulfills the theme. One could argue that if the card art wasn’t as spectacular as it is, the series would most likely sit longer on the pegs had it been given a more static card design like the Boulevard line from several years ago.
Stagnation is certainly not the case as #Car Culture is one of the hottest selling Hot Wheels lines ever. So much so, that many collectors have subscriptions with diecast distributors with the mindset of “just keep them coming”. Car Culture transcends arbitrary boundaries among collectors, and its ability to do so explains why so many collectors chase this diverse line.
One of my favorite genres of Hot Wheels cars is #Off-Road Vehicles. My affinity for the genre dates back to my childhood days, playing in my sandbox with cars like the Real Riders: Jeep Scrambler, and crushing cars just so I could have my monster trucks put on a spectacular show. To me, Hot Wheels off-road vehicles deserve being shown in a more natural environment, versus the confines of my photo studio.
The idea to showcase an off-road #Car Culture series outdoors has been a plan of mine for a couple years now. The only problem? Well, there hasn’t been a true #Off-Road Vehicle segment in Hot Wheels Car Culture, until now! The #Car Culture / Desert Rally series comes to us at the end of 2019 as it just started appearing in stores last week. It comes at a great time for premium diecast off-road enthusiasts as the latest Fast & Furious premium line series is an off-road segment as well.
’17 Ford F-150 Raptor
The F-150 Raptor is in a class of its own with modern-day off-road enthusiasts. Besides being named after one of the coolest dinosaurs from the Jurassic Park/World movie franchise, the truck is made to perform straight from the dealership. That hasn’t stopped the aftermarket companies from modding these as there are whole businesses that have the sole purpose of doing enhancements to these trucks.
The Hot Wheels world has slowly reflected the enthusiasm surrounding this truck as the Hot Wheels #’17 Ford F-150 Raptor has become a collector favorite. Some of that was jolted by the RLC piece that was released last year which came with an opening hood and tailgate. That is followed up with the F-150 Raptor appearing here in #Car Culture / Desert Rally, and soon in Replica Entertainment in a cool FORZA deco — albeit as the fixed hood/tailgate version. After the next ultra-premium, RLC piece in Gulf Deco sells out on HotWheelsCollectors.com on October 15th, I think many collectors will resort to backfilling their Raptor collections.
This #Car Culture / Desert Rally release of the #’17 Ford F-150 Raptor definitely has the rally vibe to it, and the striping pattern has a very American patriotic feel to it with the red, the white and the blue. This is also the first car in my collection to have the new Real Riders 8-Dot Wheels.
’70 Oldsmobile 442
Collectors are catching onto the #’70 Oldsmobile 442. It is a casting that was designed after a real car, and its only release came back in 2013 as part of the Flying Customs line. That release was actually pretty cool, but this release has #Real Riders!
Those retro #Knobby Real Riders Deep-Dish Wheels look great on this ’70s-era vehicle, but for me, that candy apple red paint is a thing of beauty. The yellow graphics seemingly float right off the body. Also, I loved the way Hot Wheels Graphic Designer, Steve Vandervate worked in the name of an old Hot Wheels casting as “BAJA BRUISER” appears right above the rear fenders.
’88 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
The #’88 Jeep Grand Wagoneer has only had three releases prior to this one. The Pop Culture (Star Trek) and 2014 Collector Edition (mail-in) releases can be had without breaking the bank, but the original Boulevard one is getting up there in price. This #Car Culture / Desert Rally release has a realistic rally deco and the fact that this casting has only been released at retail twice, should help sell some units. Turquoise always looks good in the desert, and the metalflake nature of the paint, makes it glisten in the sun. Plus, it only makes sense that a #Jeep is included in and off-road series.
’80 Dodge Macho Power Wagon
The #’80 Dodge Macho Power Wagon is just that: macho. Its big and bulky nature made it a hit with collectors when it was originally cast as a Simon & Simon replica in the Entertainment line. Then, word got out that the tooling may have gotten lost before ultimately resurfacing with Batman graphics in Pop Culture. I don’t know enough about this truck to know if these were used in desert rallies, but it certainly fits the part. In the #Car Culture / Desert Rally series, the truck receives a period correct deco on a white body that screams, “get me dirty”.
Volkswagen “Baja Bug”
The lone new casting for the #Car Culture / Desert Rally series is the #Volkswagen “Baja Bug”. Detail-wise, this new “Baja Bug” casting blows right by the previous Baja Bug casting that has been around since 1984 — and that one has seen its fair share of premium releases as well. The difference though is that this new casting was designed for premium use, whereas the 1984 casting was converted from mainline to premium, and it was designed long before 3D printers allowed the designers to tinker with the minute details in their designs.
Enough with the old though as this new Baja Bug features a roll cage around the metal engine with stinger exhaust, as well as a ladder that leads up to the roof rack, carrying a spare wheel. Both the roof rack piece and the wheel can be removed, and even the wheel separates from the roof rack. As if that wasn’t enough, the gas can at the bottom of the ladder (on the roof rack piece) is tampo’d red.
The #Volkswagen “Baja Bug” is the other vehicle in the series to feature the new Real Riders 8-Dot Wheels. Their white color defines the design in a way the black ones on the Raptor cannot. Historically, Volkswagen #Beetles have been extremely popular with Hot Wheels collectors, and I expect this one to be no different. It’s truly a casting that was designed for the adult collectors, and I fully expect collectors to take a liking to it.
Living in this day and age in collecting, “we” as collectors are totally spoiled. There are so many different lines to collect with diverse themes. #Car Culture is an example of a line with truly something for everyone, and it’s no wonder why collectors go nuts for it. The #Car Culture / Desert Rally series really strikes a chord with me. I really hope you enjoyed the “artistic approach” I took to these photos as these cars certainly deserve being shot in a more natural environment.
Categories: Series Profile