Today is the day that I quit collecting Hot Wheels. Say Whaaaat? Let me rephrase that: Today is the day I was supposed to quit collecting Hot Wheels. See, back in the ’90s, when I started collecting Hot Wheels, I recall saying to a friend: when Hot Wheels makes a #Volvo, that’s the day I quit collecting Hot Wheels. Volvos — at least where I was from — just weren’t cool. They were often some variation of silver and the interiors were so boring, the word “sterile” comes to mind. Some 20+ years later, the day has come. Hot Wheels made a Volvo.
Now before you think this is a Volvo rant, keep in mind that this was my interpretation of the brand as a teenager. I have since been in a few Volvos and my opinion has changed. I am actually fond of the newer ones, but why has it taken 50+ years for Hot Wheels to make one??? Maybe the Swedish brand just doesn’t fit the “California Custom”, OR maybe Hot Wheels just never had the right opportunity to insert one into their lineup.
As Hot Wheels collecting habits change, so do the models that the Hot Wheels brand produces. Several years ago, I don’t know if a #Station Wagon #Race Car would be a desirable car. Today, it is. Why is that?
To begin with, you can see that this isn’t your ordinary #Volvo. The Hot Wheels #Volvo 850 Estate is based off of the real car of the same name. It was a car that “took Europe’s racing scene by storm in 1994 when it debuted in the prestigious British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). It was the first time a factory team turned an estate car into a serious contender.”¹
Just like my teenage interpretation, Volvos in the early ’90s had a reputation for being sturdy and safe, but for boring people. This prompted Volvo to re-engage with motorsports in 1994. After hiring a Swedish performance company to make a race car, the only 850 model Volvo had to provide it was the Estate — which apparently the CEO at the time was excited about given the marketing potential behind racing the already popular #Station Wagon. The company eventually hired on Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) to take the racing reigns, bringing on Jan Lammers and Rickard Rydell who would drive the #14 & #15 Securicor Omega Express 850 Estates respectively. The cars had moderate success in 1994 before ultimately having to change to the sedan model in 1995, but it was the bold decision to race the non-conventional profile of a station wagon that will live in infamy.²
The Hot Wheels #Volvo 850 Estate is a #2020 New Model, debuting in the #HW Race Day series in the #2020 Hot Wheels mainline. This #First Edition colorway is done in essence of that the #14 car driven by Jan Lammers which is often seen in many photographs on two wheels as its rounding turns in the 1994 BTCC. The potential of this #Ryu Asada Designed casting seems endless as it will surely wear several liveries in the near future for Hot Wheels, and the next colorway has already been spotted in a dark blue.
Perhaps one of the more intriguing details about how this Hot Wheels car was designed is that the top portion of the body is metal, whereas the bottom portion is part of the plastic base. Both are separated by the interior piece which also represents the side trim and front grill — which will ultimately make for some cool color breaks in future releases. The large windows give you a good look into the interior which features the right-hand drive steering wheel, and a spare #10-Spoke Wheel in the back which is molded as part of the interior.
The Hot Wheels #Volvo 850 Estate has already generated a ton of excitement from Hot Wheels collectors as it appears Hot Wheels has chosen to release this at the right time. Collectors are savvy for vintage race decos and #Station Wagons, and this one checks-off both. This is one #Volvo that clearly breaks all pre-conceived notions of being a brand for boring people. Look for the 850 Estate at retail now as it is just started to hit stores as part of the #2020 Hot Wheels “C” case assortments.
¹ Volvo Car Austria: 2014 Press Release: Volvo Cars’ motorsport history reflected at Techno-Classica: “Volvos at Speed”.
² DriveTribe.com: 2017 Article by Dylan Smit: Battle Tank – 1994 Volvo 850 Estate BTCC.