Ten years ago the Hot Wheels #Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) was released. Let that sink in. The Hot Wheels collecting climate was certainly different at the time, and the #JDM scene was still being stereotyped as “tuners”. So to think that the #2010 Hot Wheels mainline brought us one of the most popular JDM Hot Wheels of today … well, that’s just cool.
Much credit has been given to former Hot Wheels Designer, Jun Imai for bringing the JDM scene to life. When he introduced the Hakosuka and Kenmeri #Skylines in 2011 they weren’t met with the same wide-spread collector acclaim that they are met with today. One year earlier, however, it was Hot Wheels Designer, Phil Riehlman — yes, VW Bus, Jeep and drag car specialist Phil Riehlman — that introduced the Hot Wheels community to Godzilla: the #Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34).
“Godzilla” is actually a term that refers to the GT-Rs from the late ’80s until today, however, being the beast that was the R34 was, it seems more people tend to crown this one as The Godzilla, king of them all. The #Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) wasn’t the first Hot Wheels #Skyline. That distinction goes to the original, heavily-modified, “tuner” version of the #Nissan Skyline R32 done way back in 2002. To show you how far we’ve come, the original name of that casting was simply, “Nissan Skyline”.
The #Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) brought in a new era though. A new decade where Hot Wheels collectors who didn’t grow up with #JDM cars, could be exposed to them outside of movies from the #Fast & Furious franchise. More on that in a minute…
After the initial two colorways, the #Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) didn’t show up again until 2013 when its one of three colorways in the mainline for that year would be a #Walmart Exclusive #ZAMAC. Its the only raw version of the car to be released thus far. That, combined with it being a store exclusive, has made the value increase on this one year-over-year.
There have been many renditions of the #Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) as a #Fast & Furious car — most notably, the car Brian (Paul Walker) drove in the beginning of 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003). Sure, the dark blue one from Fast & Furious 6 (2013) was the first premium version of the casting to be released; but it is the iconic silver with blue stripes car from the original sequel that continues to be re-released.
Despite being released four times from 2013 to 2019, all four variants are different — a trend that should continue into 2020 when the fifth release is due out as part of the 2020 Fast & Furious 5-Pack. That version will wear #Japanese 5-Spoke Wheels (J5) whereas the other three basic versions all wore #10-Spoke Wheels. As you can see below, those releases had subtle #Variations between them. The first release in 2013 was made when the casting still had a plastic spoiler, so that one is the only one with a black spoiler. The next two releases (2014 & 2017) had the silver spoiler, but the 2014 release had the hood stripes whereas the 2017 release got a more concentrated metalflake silver paint job. This last year we saw it in the first wave of the new #Fast & Furious premium line where it got full-detail, a metal-base and #Real Riders 6-Spoke Mag Wheels.
2019 also saw the casting achieve “Super #Treasure Hunt Status”. The #Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) was unofficially the Hot Wheels car of the year as it had six variants come out between the two in the mainline, two in premium, and two in ultra-premium. In other words: It was all over the place!
Only a few Hot Wheels mainline castings ever become ultra-premium; especially these days with the Red Line Club opting to create new multi-piece, ultra-premium tools versus rehashing the same popular mainline cars over and over again. The #Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) casting was elevated — and some may even consider it a brand-new casting — as this one was redesigned from top to bottom by Hot Wheels Designer, Brendon Vetuskey. He added more pieces, sharper/deeper lines, an #Opening Hood, brake calipers, and created a separate piece for the “better proportioned” spoiler.
Delays in production pushed the convention release (yellow) ahead of the RLC Exclusive release (spectraflame blue). The yellow one was done extremely nice — and in a rare #Skyline color to boot — but it was the spectraflame blue RLC Exclusive which steals the show in the “what’s under the hood” category. It was supposed to represent the ultra-premium version of the casting as a coming-out party of sorts. The detail on the engine compartment sets a new precedent for the Red Line Club as it is one of the — if not the most — detailed engine compartments in a Hot Wheels car to date!
So this article was meant to be a short update on a casting collection that I started (officially) only a few short months ago but ended up being a full-fledged “panoramic view” on the #Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34). That’s fine with me. The casting certainly deserves the spotlight. The real car is growing in popularity at a seemingly exponential rate in the car world, and you certainly see that spilling over into Hot Wheels collecting.
Below is a picture of all the releases of the #Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) so far. I’ve been made aware of a couple extremely hard to find wheel variations. Time will tell if I add those as they command a hefty price tag and with all the fake wheel variations out there these days, I’m always a tad skeptical. I’ve been burned on a hard-to-find wheel variation before. Also, there are at least two more coming out later this year. There is the Fast & Furious 5-Pack release that I mentioned earlier, as well as the 2020 RLC Membership Car release which will come in spectraflame purple.
Part of the reason why the #Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34) has been elevated so high in the Hot Wheels world — to premium, then ultra-premium status — is because it is the ultimate dream car of Hot Wheels Marketing Manager, Jimmy Liu. There is no secret that Jimmy loves the R34 as his nickname, “J-Liu” has found its way onto two of the releases courtesy of the Hot Wheels Graphics Team. Just like the designers, Jimmy is passionate about car culture, and it’s great to see that passion on display via the product that has been released.
Categories: Collection Update