The year was 2012. The world was supposed to end — again. Instead, it was the year Hot Wheels introduced the “secret” super treasure hunts. As it stands, it was the only year (after the super TH was introduced in 2007) that had a #Treasure Hunt series, but no supers in that series. See, from 2007 to 2011, there were “regular” and “super” tiers in the annual TH series. From 2013 to present, both regular- & super-tiered THs were “hidden” in the various mini collections — meaning, they no longer have that infamous green stripe that store employees and family members were trained to look for.
The idea of removing the “green stripe” was to make it easier for the true collector to spot these hidden gems. As we all know, it didn’t take long for those who are looking to make a buck — and “treasure hunter” collectors — from catching on and raiding cases based on information posted by the latest social media accounts that dedicate themselves to the discovery of these.
As the game changed, so did the structure of the TH series. In 2013, more “kid-friendly” regular THs were introduced, leaving 2012 as the last full year of #Treasure Hunts that were clearly designed for the collector. This was pre-JDM explosion days so we saw a concentration on American #Muscle Cars in the #’69 Chevelle SS 396, ’69 Corvette ZL-1, #’67 Mustang, Ford Shelby GR-1 Concept, #’92 Ford Mustang, and ’70 Chevelle Convertible. The list (seen below) was rounded out by a hot rod, motorcycle, two exotic race cars, two classic trucks, a #Ferrari, and one #Unlicensed Hot Wheels car in the Surf Crate.
Let me just say that I don’t think we were cheated in any way as collectors. We still got a pretty stellar super TH lineup in 2012. Rather, this is more of a “what could have been” had some of these regular THs had #Spectraflame Paint and #Real Riders.
All 15 cars with super-ized versions would have been great as adding spectraflame paint and real riders to any mainline car can make it an instant classic. It’s easy to see why super THs are as popular as they are. Arbitrarily, I am going to cap this at the top-6 2012 #Treasure Hunts that would have had stellar supers, had the series continued as it was the year prior.
QUICK SEARCH! 2012 Treasure Hunts for SALE!
’92 Ford Mustang
So I’m starting with the one in the group that we essentially got. Last year, the #’92 Ford Mustang had a super TH release of its common Speed Blur counterpart. I actually shot the picture above last year when I wrote the article for the Speed Blur Mustang. Sure, the graphics are different, but it’s easy to see how the super could have looked given this comparison. Our 2012 collector curiosity was served up a nice batch of spectraflame teal delight in the form of this 2019 super.
Custom ’41 Willys Coupe
Another 2012 Treasure Hunt that we kind of got a glimpse of “what could have been” was with the #Custom ’41 Willys Coupe. When the Red Line Club released the RLC Exclusive: ’41 WILLYS GASSER, it offered us a chance to see a Willys in #Spectraflame with some meaty #Real Riders. Yeah, I know the super TH would have never looked THIS GOOD — as the quality in the RLC is far beyond the basic line capabilities — but, it did make collectors start yearning for a super-ized version of this 2012 TH.
’69 Chevelle SS 396
An instant favorite from this 2012 Treasure Hunt series was the #’69 Chevelle SS 396. The eye-pleasing, two-tone vintage racing style deco was a hit with collectors at the time and was even popular enough to be carried over to the ’70 Plymouth Superbird in 2015 — sans the two-tone. Can you imagine the paint and wheels from the Superbird on this Chevelle with silver paint on top?!?!? Yeah, that would have looked $UPER GOOD [pun intended].
Ford GT LM
If there is one car on this list that warrants a super-ized release, it would be this #Ford GT LM. The thing already has a cool deco with tampo’d headlights. Can you imagine spectraflame red paint and some nice #Real Riders on this one? This car is actually the reason I wrote this article. Had this been a super back in 2012, I’m pretty sure it would have crossed the $100 threshold by now as it would have looked extremely nice. Okay, I’ll stop salivating… for now.
’69 Corvette ZL-1
I go back and forth on whether this release should be in my #Hot Wheels Race Team collection. Thank God, there isn’t a super TH version of it. But, my wavering aside, this ’69 Corvette ZL-1 would have been another candidate for a great looking super TH, despite it already having a full-deco on sides, hood, roof, and trunk. I’m glad that I could add this one for a good price the other day as if there is one hunt here that you can still get for a great price its, this one! Click here to see the 2012 TH ’69 Corvette for sale.
Ferrari 430 Scuderia
Yeah, so I don’t have a picture of this one. I RAOK’d it to a #Ferrari-obsessed collector back in 2013. I don’t regret doing that, but it’s one of the cars I wish I could have back. I guess if I really cared, I would have it. Oh well.
The red & yellow “McDonald’s livery’ always throws me off — and was one of the reasons I let it go — but this one has grown on me. Also, keeping in mind that the Ferrari super for 2012 that was released was the 599XX, its certainly the better of the two — at least as far as I can imagine. Still, had it been the Ferrari 430 Scuderia in spectraflame dark red and #Real Riders Exotic Wheels, the results could have been intriguing. Ultimately, I guess we are left to wonder “what-if” as is the case for all the cars in this article.
2012 (regular) Treasure Hunts List
- Custom ’41 Willys Coupe
- Ducati 1098R
- ’69 Chevelle SS 396
- Ford GT LM
- ’69 Corvette ZL-1
- Tyrrell P34
- ’67 Mustang
- ’52 Chevy Truck
- Ferrari 430 Scuderia
- ’65 Malibu
- Ford Shelby GR-1 Concept
- ’65 Ford Ranchero
- Surf Crate
- ’92 Ford Mustang
- ’70 Chevelle Convertible
Food for thought: If you could “super-ize” any past Hot Wheels release, what would it be?
Categories: Collection Reflection
Good stuff and great question Brad! As cliche as it may sound because of the casting but I’d choose last year’s 67 Camaro from the art series. Three colors of spectra flame paint would have been insane. As far as a fantasy casting I would liked to see the boomzooka, the deco on it is vintage and would have looked SUPER by my Flying Tigers Gasser.
Great article as usual BRAD. I have the Willys TH. Hey Dex826 I also have the Flying Tiger a big favorite of mine since I served in the MARINE CORP. Now a Vet.I found a green muscle bound with a shark mouth that reminded me of my Flying Tiger. The 2019 release.I really like those type of castings too. Looking at several
P-40 Flying Tigers fighters to also add to group.
Thank you for your service sir!
Great article and interesting points. The only thing that really bothered me, and its not your fault, is the comment about Hot Wheels not cheating collectors. I agree… the collectors cheat other collectors. It’s ok to disagree or not. Great work Brad.