Ask Brad

Ask Brad #6: Hot Wheels Collaborations, Toyota & Koenigsegg Licenses, Distribution Issues, Kool Kombis, and the 2020 Mainline List

Wrapping up the questions for 2019 — via the #Ask Brad inbox — with this first OTD article of 2020. There have been some really great questions that I think a lot of other people are also thinking about. Thanks for taking the time to ask them. Keep them coming! Below are your answers: 

Alan • Ohio
Q: The Magnus Walker / Hot Wheels collaboration has given us some stellar Porsches, but I can’t figure out why they are slapping his name and logo on cars that he’s never been associated with. Examples are the Mazda Repu, King Kuda, Mini, Volkswagen Kafer, etc. Is there any reason for this?
A: You have to remember that Urban Outlaw is a brand. So, while doing recreations of all the Porsches in the Magnus Walker garage seems obvious, its more about pairing the Urban Outlaw brand with Hot Wheels vehicles that represent all kinds of “Urban Outlaws”.

Dylan • Wildwood, Missouri
Q: I have a lot of questions, so be prepared.
A: Okay… let’s do this…
1. This is very annoying to me; why do Hot Wheels make the rear tires bigger than the front ones on exotic cars like the Bugatti Veyron and Chiron, Aventador, McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari, and Veneno?
The Hot Wheels “raked-stance” has been a signature of the brand dating back to the redline days. About 10 years ago, it was actually a brand standard that just about every car was designed to have this “California Custom” stance. It made sense for muscle cars but looked weird on other types of cars. Fortunately, Mattel heard the complaints and dialed back the raked-stance in favor of more realistic-proportioned vehicles.
2. In a previous article, it talked about Hot Wheels wanting our input on what we wanted for 2021. There is going to be a LOT of suggestions. What do you think the probability of Hot Wheels actually choosing one of my ideas (I had over 30)
It all depends on if the ideas were practical and if they were mentioned by other collectors.
3. Why did Hot Wheels make the Bugatti Veyron (concept) rather than the 16.4 Veyron (production)?
The production model wasn’t designed yet when the Hot Wheels Veyron was designed. The Hot Wheels Veyron came out in 2003 whereas the first production Veyron (16.4) wasn’t released until 2005.
4. Why doesn’t Target have dump bins?
Target prefers “clean” aisles — though this brand strategy seems to be loosening as of late. I forget what the actual name is of the strategy they use, but that’s why Target doesn’t have dump bins.
5. This is a really coincidental question since I’m asking the Orange Track Diecast community; Why are Hot Wheels tracks orange?
Honestly, I don’t remember. If I had to guess, think I recall it having to do with the color of material they had at the time.
6. What is the significance of different variants in terms of paint or wheels for a Hot Wheels car?
Some variants are planned, others are not. Variation collectors love chasing down those that aren’t as they are often the rarer of the two. There can be many reasons why these exist. Planned variants, in the toy industry as a whole, are a way to expand a product line limiting additional resources needed to do so.
7. Why hasn’t the price of a basic Hot Wheels changed much over the past couple of decades?
Mattel decided it was best to do so. Many consumer decisions are influenced by certain thresholds. This is one of them.
8. In the new Fast and Furious series, there is a white Lamborghini Gallardo with the wire wheels in chrome on it. This is just like the 2010 All-Stars release. Do you think Hot Wheels knew about this?
Believe it or not, the Hot Wheels Graphic Designers do reference prior releases of a casting before designing the deco on a new one. With Fast & Furious and other vehicle lines with licensed decos, the goal is to replicate the vehicle in question as closely as possible given the casting, wheels and deco applications that are appropriate with the line its in. So, yes, the probably knew about it but are held within their licensing agreement with Universal to replicate the movie car as best they could — even if it meant reproducing the car in a previous color/wheel scheme.
9. WHY WON’T HOT WHEELS MAKE A NEW SPEED MACHINES SERIES!?!?!?!?!?!?
Judging by the caps, it sounds like you are very adamant that they do. I know a lot of collectors that want to see it again. A lot of factors play into the chances of its return… pricepoint and wheels (now that the CM6 has been discontinued) are two of the major hurdles. Certainly, you don’t want them to rush it back and have it fall short of your expectations.
10. What is the reason for making new wheels for the ID cars?
Expansion of the Hot Wheels brand while holding true to the brand’s integrity. I could probably give a seminar on the reasons I believe they went this route, but that’s for another time.

“Kenhong33” • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Q: Greetings Brad from Malaysia. I got a few questions to ask:
A: Greetings! I hope to travel to Malaysia one day to meet all the passionate collectors there.
1) What other die-cast brands do you collect other than Hot Wheels? Or you only specifically collect Hot Wheels?
Only Hot Wheels. I have picked up items from other brands in the past, but almost always end up getting rid of that stuff.
2) Wouldn’t it be better to shift the demographics of Hot Wheels collecting from kids to teens and adult collectors?
I believe you are referring to the brand producing product lines for kids, teens, and adults… isn’t that what they are doing? I see a wide portfolio of cars that Hot Wheels produces.
3) What cars do you want Hot Wheels to make next (it can be mainline, premium or RLC)?
I just want Hot Wheels to continue making cool cars like they do. The designers have this collective ability to be able to make just about any car cool. Sure, some miss the mark, but for 50+ years the Hot Wheels brand has been known to design cars with speed, power, performance, attitude. That is what separates the brand from the others that just recreate cars.
4) Since they regained the Toyota license back, will it be possible for Hot Wheels to release cars from animes like Initial D and Wangan Midnight?
Its always possible, but the stars have to align for that to happen. Hot Wheels having the Toyota license back is only part of the equation.
5) If they gonna do Han’s RX-7 from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, in your opinion, should they use the existing casting and give it the orange and black paint job, modify the casting or make a new tool?
When you replicate TV and movie cars, I think most people — myself included — prefer it be as close to the car that was on screen as possible. Han’s RX-7 was certainly different than the Hot Wheels casting so using the existing Hot Wheels ’95 Mazda RX-7 casting wouldn’t do it justice. To modify that casting, wouldn’t do it enough justice either. The only route for that “hero car” is to truly design a new casting. Cost factors into that though as if that were the case, Hot Wheels would most likely have to pay Veilside or Universal (or both) for that specific design and future use would be limited. That’s certainly not ideal from an efficiency standpoint. I’m in your corner though. I hope to see it done!

David K • Alexandria, Virginia
Q: Hello Brad and thanks for all your hard work and dedication to keep us all updated. Anyways my question is regarding the distribution of cases throughout the US. I’m part of a local Hot Wheels chapter in the Baltimore, Maryland area and the majority of the members get their newest cases two to three or more months before they arrive in the DC area (1 hr +/- away). Is this happening across the US? Is there a reason for this and if so what area(s) get the newest items first? Thanks in advance for your help in answering this and keep up the great job!!
A: Hey David, always glad to help! Fun fact: I once had my flight canceled in Baltimore and had to take a cab to DC to catch another. The cab driver did the drive in 45 minutes — he was haulin’ it. So you kind of asked a loaded question. There are many reasons why this can occur. Two to three months seems like a stretch though. I actively watch where items are popping up all the time and domestically, big box stores shouldn’t be any more than three weeks behind. This isn’t to say that retailers only get new stock though. Sometimes the local distribution center can have a huge stockpile of older case codes. Internationally, its another story as embargos and shipping time play into the picture. No one area of the US has an advantage — contrary to what some may say. 

Steve Brandon • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Q: Is there any hope of the older Datsun 240Z casting from 2006 showing up in Car Culture or any other current retail premium line? I think the last time it was in a premium line at retail was in the 2015 Heritage series where it had those full-wheel Moon Rims that I’m not a fan of because I prefer seeing some blackwall on the tires. I prefer the 2006 version of the 240Z because it’s much more of a stock look without the exaggerated fenders of the Custom 240Z that regularly shows up in retail premium lines now.
A: Good question. I do tend to prefer the original Datsun 240Z casting as well. To my knowledge, it won’t be, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see it in one.

Steve • Old Hickory, TN
Q: Hey Brad, do/have you ever customized any of your Hot Wheels?
I am currently into simpler aspects of customizing (some would say it’s not really customizing) like doing wheels swaps, base swaps, adding paint details, etc.
A: Yes, I have customized Hot Wheels before, but I have not in the last 15 years or so. I would love to have the time and patience to do so, but those efforts now go into other things. I do have a huge appreciation for those that customize. I follow lots of customizers on Instagram. There are many levels of customizing, but to me, as long as you are modifying your Hot Wheels, you are a customizer. Everyone has to start somewhere and it sounds like you’ve started in the right place.  

Rob • London, England
Q: Hi there Brad. I’ve discovered your excellent OTD website early in my recent return to collecting. I love it!! Quick background: like many collectors, I had 100 or so cars as a kid, stopped collecting when other aspects of life took over, but now I have a 3-year-old boy who (kinda) likes cars and now I’m back collecting as an adult. I live in the UK, where the HW collecting scene feels far more muted than the truly vibrant scene you guys have over there Stateside. Your OTD is a great resource for someone filling in those “missing years”–thank you! And my (starter) question for you is: What/where is the UK Hot Wheels scene, as far as you know? Does it have a pulse? Cheers!
A: Thanks, Rob. Welcome back! Collecting outside of the US can be tough from an availability sense. You’ve probably had a chuckle at US collectors who get mad when Mattel chooses to have exclusives at a retailer like Kroger who isn’t in every state. Truth is, yeah, its crazy here and we are always chasing product. I was last in Europe 8 years ago and I was surprised how hard it was to find a toy store that even carried Hot Wheels, so kudos to you for collecting. I know if several collectors in the UK but as far as any kind of events (or pulse), there doesn’t seem to be much there. Mattel has made huge strides in getting product to other countries over the last 10 years however, so the future does look more promising. There is an International Hot Wheels Forum on HotWheelsCollectors.com so you may want to see if anyone there knows of any events/meetings there.

Rob • London, England (again)
Q: Hi Brad. Did Hot Wheels ever do a model of the Datsun 120Y? No not the Datsun 1200, that’s a different car. The 120Y is an interesting little car, in my humble opinion, mainly for its visual lines in the sedan version. Certainly not for its engine, which was a rather unpunchy 1.2 litre 4cyl job. I guess it kinda looked like a mid-70s Ford Escort, and hotted up it wasn’t a bad car. I owned one in Australia, in the mid-80s, and I doubt there’d be many still around today. Not sure you had them at all in the States, perhaps only in Oz & the UK. So, given the designers at Mattel are always open to something a bit different, perhaps you could suggest it to them, please? Cheers!
A: Hot Wheels has never made one of those. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen one in real life either. I’ll let them know and hopefully, you get your wish! Cheers!

Cullen Lane • Michigan
Q: Hey Brad, Thanks for your previous responses! I am curious if you know how many more collaborations like Period Correct and Anti Social Social Club Hot Wheels will be doing? Also, any info on why we had about a week’s notice on the previously mentioned ones, but the Tanner Fox Porsche was very short notice?
A: You’re welcome, Cullen. I can’t say how many more, but there will be more. Collaborations play a huge role in exposing non-Hot Wheels collectors to the Hot Wheels brand. These brands that Hot Wheels have collaborated with set their own rules in terms of the announcement. They purchase the product from Mattel so they are basically allowed to sell it however they see fit. 

Luke Hickox • Cairo, Georgia
Q:  I guess I have more than one question. So here they are.
A: Sounds good.
1. Does Hot Wheels still have the Koenigsegg license? I’d love to see a Hot Wheels Jesko.
Yes, Hot Wheels has renewed a licensing agreement with Koenigsegg. The Agera R will be appearing in an upcoming mix of Boulevard. I’d love to see the Jesko too.
2. I buy Hot Wheels cars from the local Walmart, but often I get disappointed because of a bent axle or paint chip on the side you can’t see. How can you tell about these things, especially the bent axles?
Bent axles should be easy to see in the packaging. I have placed cars back on the pegs before due to imperfections. As far as the side you can’t see, not much you can do about that. If the item is truly defective, you can call Mattel customer service (800-524-8697) and they will most likely send you a voucher for a new one.
3. I know, this may shock you, and make readers this site never talk to me again (you included), but could you maybe make articles and tell news about other brands of 1:64 cars too (such as Matchbox and Johnny Lightning). I know, I know, you all are Hot Wheels purists. But I’m not. I just collect and do stuff to almost any old 1:64 model car.
I simply don’t collect other brands. I know very little about them so the content and news wouldn’t be that great. There are so many YouTubers that do features, reviews and news on all diecast brands. Have you checked those out? Have you checked out the Lamley Group?
4. I have often wanted a larger selection of wheels for Hot Wheels mods, and I have even used Matchbox wheels for some of them, but I wanted to ask you this; Could I 3D print some new wheels? Would they work and still run well? Our library has a 3D printer, and there are good free computer programs for making the blueprints. Thanks.
Of course. I don’t know what kind of printer, software, materials or expertise you would need, BUT there are customizers that are doing custom wheels now. There are even collectors like House of 164 that have sites that sell them.

John Osbourn • Bellevue, Nebraska
Q: Hey, Brad, this isn’t a question, because I just want to let you know that the 2020 Hot Wheels Monster Trucks line is starting to roll out now, and the first one that I picked up is: TWIN MILL. As far as the rest of the line, I don’t know what the trucks are.
A: Thanks John, I have actually seen quite a few of these in stores. I need to get a list together, huh? My friend just picked me up the latest rendition of Bigfoot. Looks like there will be 75 trucks for 2020 — oppose to 50 in 2019.

Steve • Nashville, TN
Q: HWC has not released an article/list of the 2020 mainlines. In years past, this list (though not complete) was normally made available in November. Any idea if this list will be released?
I asked the same question in the HWC mainline forum, and haven’t gotten an acceptable answer yet.
A: I glanced back over the last few years and it appears the list has been made public anywhere from early December to February. I recently asked about this and was told it will be posted mid-January at the earliest. I guess there are still some things to work out — most likely meaning approvals to be made.

Wilbert Johnson • Concordia, Missouri
Q: Are they ever gonna make a Kool Kombi ZAMAC car?
A: I have to imagine there will be a Kool Kombi ZAMAC at some point. Frankly, I’m surprised there hasn’t been one yet. Maybe the design team is simply waiting for a deco that is worthy of a ZAMAC rendition since they only use a casting as a ZAMAC once.

Carl Surratt • Bloomington, Illinois
Q: I purchased this year’s Mexico Convention Kool Kombi. When will they be mailed? The phone number and email address are not working.
A: I believe all of the Mexico Convention Kool Kombis have been mailed out now. Since you asked this question two weeks ago, I am hoping you received yours by now.

Robert • Somewhere in Asia
Q: Hello Brad! Firstly, thanks for such an opportunity for ordinary collectors to ask questions to someone who knows really more than many of us. My question is quite unusual and concerns an even more unusual idea. Please tell me, Brad, how do you think, is it possible to try replacing the plastic blister from the green Legends Tour Datsun by removing it using any means, as shown in many videos? The fact is that upon delivery, the plastic of my Datsun burst and it makes me very upset. So much so that I think about trying to painlessly remove it using something like acetone and replace it with a whole bubble, restoring the integrity of the entire package. Please tell me your opinion about this venture, thank you!
A: Great question. If you want my honest answer: You’ll never restore the integrity of the package. To me, the integrity of the package means it has not been manipulated in any way — even if it is to fix a broken element. As a buyer/collector, I was be disheartened to hear that someone manipulated the product beyond its factory condition. If you just want to fix it for your own viewing benefit, I believe the videos you referenced should do the trick. You could always practice the methods on a less valuable piece to see if they work for you, first.

THANK YOU ALL for your awesome questions! Keep them coming. To be part of the #Ask Brad segment, please fill out the form below.

 

Categories: Ask Brad

4 replies »

  1. Rob from England asked about the Datsun Y120. I believe that he was referring to the U.S. Datsun B210 1973-77 and the 210 1978-81. In Japan it was the Nissan B310 or Sunny, European and Australian versions were sold as Y120, Y130, Y140 and Y150 depending on engine size. 1.5 Litre A series motor was the largest (Y150). I had an ’81 310 as a daily driver for 4 years, never let me down. Got rid of it a couple of years ago.

  2. Hi ya, Brad. If you do visit Malaysia, give me a call / give me a holler / notify me etc. I’ll bring ya to the favourite spots of diecast fans here.

    • I saw one today too. Maybe 400 cars, it had already been searched because they left their mark, all the regular Jeep Commandos lined up on top. There was one SWAT Unimog, 2 Grass Chompers and 8-10 each of the Red Editions. Fun fact, I just found the 1, 2 and 3 cars from LAST years Red set which never showed up back then. Jim Rochester NY

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