Ask Brad

Ask Brad #9: Boxed Sets, Hunting During the Pandemic, Final Runs, RLC Sales Advantage, and the Hot Wheels Display Case w/ ’55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser

Hello, Hot Wheels fanatics! More questions = another article in the #Ask Brad segment. I hope you are rediscovering your collections these days, and most of all, staying safe! Below are your answers: 

“NGB” • India
Q: Do you know how many boxed sets Mattel has released for pop culture, retro premiums like the FnF boxed sets? Do you have the complete list?
A: First of all, let me say that I love the box sets. I wish they would do more of them. I love when Amazon offers them as it allows you to get the complete set for the retail price. Also, the cars all fit nicely in there and don’t come damaged when Amazon decides to skimp on packaging. If you’re a carded collector, it allows you to store the sets — all nestled in their box with super cool series artwork — in a convenient, stackable manner. I don’t have a complete list and don’t even recall the first premium series was to use this method of distribution. Only a couple are still available on Amazon if you are still looking for these: Alex Ross Pop Culture & Fast Rewind.

Dylan • Wildwood, Missouri
Q: Since we are all sitting around, doing nothing, I actually found out that I have a lot more questions than I thought I had!
1. Not ‘IF’ but ‘WHEN,’ when we are all clear and the health officials say that we all can get out and conversate once again, should I go to Wal-Mart or Target to look for Hot Wheels within the first week of the quarantine being lifted? Because I know that it will be a madhouse because people will need to restock on everything. Plus all of the collectors will be flying and dumping everything into their carts. Should I stay or should I go?
A: I’m not sure what it is like there in Missouri, but here in Arizona, some collectors haven’t stopped despite the stay-at-home orders. Some are actively hunting, while others (like me) only check the pegs on essential runs to the store for other items. In fact, I was at Target yesterday and the store was packed. So, there will not be any mad rush of product being put out — only if your store was not able to sell Hot Wheels during the pandemic.
2. I am not part of the RLC membership, so I guess I am not a real collector, am I? Anyways, if I were to join the RLC, does it give me the exclusive cars for free, or do I still buy them separately?
A: Guess what? If you collect Hot Wheels, you’re a real collector. Collectors collect however they see fit and that’s what makes the hobby so diverse. There is no car that needs to be in your collection to be a “real collector”. With that said, I have been a Red Line Club Member since 2002. Why? Because I like buying the cars that only the club offers. A membership comes with one car — the membership car — and the rest you have to buy. The RLC membership also gives you access to special forums on HWC, allows you to buy the RLC exclusive cars, access to some special content that I am working on, and will also include access to the RLC sneaks that are coming back.
3. The J case is a must for me. I will get it. But does every case come with a Super Treasure hunt? What about a regular treasure hunt?
A: There is no guarantee of either a super or a regular treasure hunt in any case.
4. I recently saw that cars like the Lamborghini Urus, Audi R8 Spyder, and Kia Stinger are coming out in mainlines. When do you think they will be available to buy?
A: The Audi R8 Spyder just got released in the “K” cases, while the Kia Stinger is in the “L” cases. The Urus will be out in after those two. 
5. On your ID tracker, it says that the Tesla Cybertruck is coming out in Hot Wheels ID. WHAT?!?!?! I thought it was only going to be the RC versions of the Cybertruck that Hot Wheels would Release. How did you figure that out?
A: I read an article by Engadget, who was at Toy Fair, where Mattel announced that the Cybertruck would be in the Hot Wheels iD line. I mentioned that in the Toy Fair article I wrote.
6. I get the whole Top Five Hot Wheels and why everyone is doing it, but, why is EVERYONE doing it? I wouldn’t think that so many collectors would do this, including me! I chose my top five, my favorite being the RWB Porsche 930. Are you going to show your top five?
A: It was a challenge put on by @hotwheelsofficial and @thelamleygroup. I showed my top 5 (at the time) in my IG stories. It included the Candy Striper ’55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser, HW Design Awards 2005 Cool-One, HWC S11 Texas Drive ‘Em, 2003 Petersen Museum Press Kit Deora II, and the ZAMAC Speed Machines Ferrari 599XX.
7. Ah yes. The Bugatti Chiron. A question I wanted to ask is, why is the new ID version coming out in the same color as the first release but just in spectra flame instead? Wouldn’t it be cool if it came out in a white, or a black and blue paint job, like the original car?
A: No idea. It could have something to do with the license Hot Wheels has with Bugatti — or maybe someone at Mattel just fancies blue Bugattis.
8. Another ID question: Why does the GTR and the Camaro have the awkward front bumper? The non-ID cars didn’t come with that.
A: The “up-sloped chin” is there to improve the car’s ground clearance around loops. 
9. If I put it this way, it sounds a bit weird. ready? Tomica, came out with the Corvette ZR1, (2019) then Hot Wheels did. Tomica came out with the Centenario, then Hot Wheels came out with the Centenario Roadster. Tomica came out with the McLaren Speedtail, Now Hot Wheels just unveiled that they will make a Speedtail. Tomica came out with the Toyota Supra. You said Hot wheels WILL eventually make a Supra. Am I just coming up with a bunch of coincidences?
A: Are you implying that Tomica came out with all those cars first? I don’t collect Tomica but I highly doubt they had them all first. Suffice to say, all diecast brands do whatever cars they think will sell. Some are quicker to the punch than others. The thing I love about Hot Wheels is that they make more custom versions of these cars and let all the other brands worrying about created scale replicas of the stock models.
10. Up until now, how many Fast and Furious sets has Hot Wheels come out with?
A: There are the basic sets and the premium sets. Plus any one-off releases. Total cars? I have 115 in my collection.
11. Have you seen the new Matchbox moving parts Lamborghini Centenario? The Bugatti Divo? Never expected Matchbox to make these!
A: I have. They look good. Kudos to those designers for doing such a great job.

Matt P (MR2NR) • Collins, Missouri
Q: Is there going to be another Final Run segment done and was there a real reason behind it? I know marketing thought it would be a great idea to sell more cars but I find it interesting that if killing a casting would be a good idea? Was there an event where the die was destroyed? Did Mattel have to “unlicense” the vehicle?
A: Final Run… there is quite the story here. I will do my best to summarize the parts I know. So the Final Run series came about as a means to “retire” old designs. The tools either needed to be replaced and/or the castings just didn’t sell. The idea was to send the cars off with a premium-level release (at the time) so collectors could see these cars in all their glory. The line started in 1999 in similar packaging as the 30th Anniversary cars in 1998, occupying the same spaces at retail. The line sold well (I think). The line disappeared in 2000, only to reappear in new packaging in 2001 as a Toys R Us (TRU) Exclusive. The line didn’t sell well as the cars carried a premium price point at TRU, and you know, nothing ever truly moved fast at TRU. The line survived into the first wave of 2002 before it was discontinued. In 2003, the cars that were set to be final run’d in 2002, reappeared in the Final Run series — only this time, it was part of the mainline. This mainline Final Run series continued through 2005. From what I know, there was actually a huge internal debate over this series at Mattel. The series didn’t sell well because many of the castings that were final run’d were unpopular castings to begin with. Add in the fact that they were now getting standard basic-range details, and collectors were over them. Some folks at Mattel wanted to insert more popular castings into the mix — I believe I heard the Purple Passion was once on the chopping block — YIKES! Legally, Mattel is not able to bring these cars back, even if they wanted to recreate the tool. So in the end, “retiring a casting” is a horrible idea. The idea started off with good intentions, but the ramifications still remain to this day. There was no public send-off party, no public destroying of the tools. They are just gone. For the unpopular castings the idea kind of worked, but for the ones that collectors wish would make a comeback, there is no chance.

Orange Track Diecast

Hot Wheels Range Rover (in the package) from the 1999 Final Run series

Dee • Georgia
Q: It’s a silly ask but I do like making screenshots from the Hot Wheels web site. Do you know why they hide some of the cars and they never seem to get unveiled?
A: Those cars haven’t had final approvals to be shown yet. Sometimes its the licensor, sometimes its internally. They are supposed to be updated when those approvals come in, unfortunately, the updating of those likely falls between the cracks.

Erika • Canada
Q: I have a weird variant of something that seems fairly significant but is nowhere online. It’s a metallic purple release of the 100% Preferred GM Performance Parts ’67/’69 Camaro from 2003 only the base on mine is stamped as “Heavy Chevy” and the code on the bottom is 3192ZA instead of the 56592 that is supposed to be there on the regular release. I was hoping if you tell me what I have and why it seems not to exist elsewhere.
A: That car was a 100% casting and the 100% Hot Wheels (Black Box / Cool Collectibles) had markings like the “3192ZA” on the base. There are not to be confused with the SKU/Toy# (565992). That casting was released several times as either a ’67/’68/69 Camaro — even as a Custom Camaro — so it doesn’t surprise me that “Heavy Chevy” is on the base. I don’t have an example of that release in front of me, otherwise, I would check what mine says. Have you seen the listing for that on HobbyDB? Is this not your car?

Luke • Cairo, Georgia
Q: I have a few. Here they are.
1: Is there like a way to vote on which models HW should do in the future? If there is, I sure would have a few suggestions.
A: Currently, the only avenue Hot Wheels allows for collector input in terms of voting is through RLC sELECTIONs. There is a vote going on now for RLC members.
2: Is it legal to make (3d print) my own castings of a real-life car in 1:64 scale and sell them without a license from that car manufacturer? It’d be really cool to sell, say, 1:64 versions of a Mosler MT900S or a Zenos E10R.
A: Nope.
3. When will hot wheels stop making Tooned cars? They are hideous (except for the Manga Tuner). Sorry. Just a pet peeve of mine. Least favorite is the Lambo Countach.
A: Let’s look at it this way… if Hot Wheels never made Tooned cars, you wouldn’t have the Manga Tuner. I don’t collect the vast majority of them either but there are a few that I really do like. Everyone has their thing.
4. Will Hot Wheels ever be up to the times? I can’t remember any more than two times HW actually made a model of a new car until about three years later when it was old news. I wish they’d speed things up a bit. Hennessey Venom F5, SSC Tuatara, Pininfarina Battista, the new C8 Corvette for goodness’ sake! Matchbox is way ahead in terms of new cars, such as the Bugatti Divo and upcoming C8 Corvette.
A: Hot Wheels is releasing several brand-new cars this year including the ’20 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, ’20 Koenigsegg Jesko, ’20 Ram 1500 Rebel, and the ’20 Jeep Gladiator. Can’t make them all.

Michael Martin • Warren, Michigan
Q: Regarding RLC Sales…When in the waiting room how is it determined who goes next to the shop page? I have heard 2 scenarios. 1. Everyone is in line determined by their sign to RLC. The next person in line enters the shop page. 2. Everyone is in a crowded room and the person closest to the door gets to enter the shop page. Also is it better to sign in around 15 minutes prior to the sale or earlier like 25 to 30 minutes or does it even matter?
A: The best way I can equate it to a real-life scenario is that everyone is given a “ticket” (or number) when they enter the waiting room. At 9AM PST they waiting room essentially starts calling ticket numbers, a several dozen at a time. When yours is called, you move on through. Makes no difference if you get there at 8:59AM PST or several hours before. Everyone gets a number, and the numbers aren’t called until 9AM. It’s actually better to sign in closer to sale time as the system logs you out for inactivity, and since you aren’t active, that’s why so many members experience issues where they are logged out while trying to checkout. 

Wilbert Johnson • Missouri
Q: I have a couple of questions.
1. Can you make a list of all the 55 gassers that Hot Wheels has made so I can check them off?
A: Working on it.
2. There’s something going on about a gasser hot wheels case… do you know when it’s supposed to come out?
A: So far, the only place to get them in is 1StopDiecast. Fred (the owner) said he only got about 10% of his allotment. So, they will be out soon enough, but no way to know at this point as products are delayed all over the world — not just Hot Wheels. CLICK HERE to buy one from 1StopDiecast. Matthew from Matthew on Cars & Hot Wheels has done a preview of it here:

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

10 replies »

  1. To answer Erika’s question on the Heavy Chevy. That casting was first released in 1998, without a hood and exposing a large blown motor. It was a replica of the original ‘Heavy Chevy’ from 1970. For later releases of that casting, they added a hood and made a smaller engine to fit under it. On the packaging, it was called the ‘68 Camaro or whatever, but the base still retained the ‘Heavy Chevy’ name from its 1998 release.

    • Thanks! Nowhere I was finding this listed mentioned the Heavy Chevy connection and most said it was a repurposing of a different first gen Camaro casting and would have the base marked with that instead.

      I always find information on the late 90’s and early 2000’s premium lines to be pretty patchwork at the best of times, but when you get into the premium only toolings they used at the time it’s even worse.

  2. On the topic of hunting during the pandemic, I’ve been less active but still keeping an eye open. Around me, WalMart seems to still be rolling out new stock but I don’t think any Target within 20 miles has actually put any cars on the pegs in a month. They’re all pretty bare. I actually had a dream about finding the second batch of Red releases last night….

  3. Hi Brad & Wilbert,
    Here is a video Matthew did on the Flying Tigers Gasser and in it he lists all the 55 Gasser up to that one.

    I just asked him and he said the 2020 ones are the white Pearl & Chrome, the Nationals Convention Gasser, the Legends and the display case.
    *There is also a very rare bare metal Gasser (employee only I think)

    Hope that helps with your list.

    • For 2020 55 Chevy gassers, the sELECTIONs gassers are coming out now. Also, there will be a new one in the 3rd mix of the Wal-Mart Boulevard.

    • I saw it here in vegas at the 2019 toy con. Its a zamac bersion of the 2017 flames series with the 55 on sides. Was told about 20 cars exist the guy wanted $3000 wish i had the funds at the time. Its the only one im missing

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