Why I decided to purchase my first 1969 REDLINE, the Hot Wheels CUSTOM CHARGER

As a child of the 1980s, I was born into the Hot Wheels #Real Riders era by default. Many of my favorite childhood cars had them. See Real Riders: Jeep Scrambler. When I started collecting in the mid-1990s, Hot Wheels #Redlines had already taken off in value — far beyond the means, I had to spend. As I grew older, my means grew, but so did the prices on them.

Being a Hot Wheels collector for the last 25 years, I have always had the utmost respect for Hot Wheels history and collectors of Redlines. The many stories behind them are fascinating, but still, I never really thought to acquire any for a multitude of reasons. One of those reasons is that the Red Line Club had done a terrific job at bringing a bunch of the casting’s back. I could get mint recreations of the castings at a fraction of the price of the originals.

Truthfully, I’ve always been a little intimidated to buy original redlines as there are a lot of great restorations out there and I am only interested in the originals. Add in poor photography that doesn’t capture toning issues, bent axles, or other blemishes, and buying redlines can be terrifying — especially when shelling out hundreds of dollars for a mint one. Redlines are not my subject of expertise so I was always a little uneasy about the possibility of getting scammed. At some point though, you have to finally take the knowledge you have and take the plunge if you are ever going to acquire one. That’s what I did. I read a few articles by redline experts, examined the Hot Wheels resources that are out there, and consulted another collector I trust to examine the listing before I bought my first #1969 Hot Wheels redline. I felt a little better after that and made my first big #Redlines purchase.

Orange Track Diecast

1969 Hot Wheels Custom Charger REDLINE (orange track)

We all have varying levels of what “big” purchases are, and the number/value I arbitrarily draw the line at seems to be increasing — so much so, that I now consider it to be anything over $100. Go ahead and see if you can find a great to mint condition, original Custom Charger for under that threshold, you’d be fortunate if you could. Even the common colors are pricey.

Orange Track Diecast

1969 Hot Wheels Custom Charger REDLINE (hood open)

The #Custom Charger is one Hot Wheels #Redline that I have always wanted. I am an avid fan of #MOPAR design from 1968 to 1970 and I have a nice Hot Wheels Charger collection of castings from those model years. The funny thing is, this is actually one of the castings that did bring back. In 2008, the “Custom ’69 Dodge Charger” was HWC’s retooling of that original Custom Charger casting.

What a great idea to bring back a casting with such a high average resale value among #Redline collectors, huh?

Unfortunately, this Redline casting didn’t end up in the Neo-Classics segment. It was assigned to the Real Riders segment in the #HWC Series 7 collection. To top it off, the car was given graphics that sharply contrast the minimalist aesthetics of the early redline-era. That release looks good, but the sales proved that it was a missed opportunity looking back at it. The casting was never released again.

Orange Track Diecast

1969 Hot Wheels Custom Charger REDLINE (head-to-head)

I have been lobbying the RLC team at Mattel to bring back the #Custom Charger for years citing the value of the original #Redlines as reason enough. The RLC has shifted though into an era of more realistic proportioned cars with #Opening Features, and we are getting a new ’69 Charger — which is awesome, by the way! Hopefully, my years of nagging had something to do with it. The #Brendon Vetuskey Designed ultra-premium RLC model looks phenomenal, and you know that he will obsess over every little meticulous detail for you. However, you have to believe that this was the shot for the RLC to bring back the Custom Charger, and now that the club has gone in a slightly different direction, the likelihood for this classic casting to make a comeback (once again) seems unlikely.

That is okay though. I am fine with it. For some reason, the prices on RLC pieces are through the roof! To get some of the latest releases that have 12,000-piece runs, it will cost in excess of $100 on the secondary market. I never thought I’d see the day. That is awesome for the club that I am a part of. With those prices on the rise, the good condition Custom Chargers seem a little more attainable. I recently sold an extra recent release I had and was able to afford the piece you see here and then some.

Orange Track Diecast

1969 Hot Wheels Custom Charger REDLINE (rear view)

Have I caught the redline bug? 

I now have the #Custom Charger piece that I had been longing for and have a deep feeling this isn’t my last. You #Redline collectors must be grinning from ear-to-ear. It may not be perfect but she’s all mine!


12 replies »

  1. Welcome to the club Brad! I couldn’t agree more with every aspect of this writing. I took the plunge only three years into collecting hot wheels after I saw room after room of original redlines at the L.A. convention. Many of which I didn’t even peak in. I attended one of the redline seminars there with my buddy and I decided I’d get it a go.I chose the hot heap as my 016 model, it’s cool, price friendly and plenty of colors to try and collect a rainbow. It’s a whole other level of collecting but your fountain of knowledge I’m sure will serve you well on your chase for collecting that Mopar bad boy!

  2. A custom charger was my first redline purchase as well. I’ve had a redline in my collection, a green chaparral, since I was 11, but it was given to me by another collector for winning a sizzlers race. I now have an entire bow of 17 charger, only missing an antifreeze and the impossible to find (literally) brown

  3. What would be real cool is if they released a brown RLC retool of the custom charger the same as they did with the white enamel camaro that is so hard to find.

  4. Congrats Brad! I was 8 in 1968 and when the redlines “hit the pegs” up here in Canada, they were like nothing we had ever seen! I started collecting them around year 2000 again, so 20 years later, my “quest” is complete! I own, one of each casting from 1968 to 1972 plus 3 “rainbows”, the Silo, the Mercedes SL 280 and the Peeping Bomb! I said my quest is complete…or is it really…Will own my “grail” car someday, a pink Spoiler Sugar Caddy! Have fun and REDLINES FOR LIFE!

  5. I dipped my toes into the Redlines pool with a pretty decent Custom Barracuda a year or two ago. It was like $45 bucks for a relatively clean piece which is kind of a steal these days. I absolutely love it. Hot Wheels must’ve been so amazing when they first debuted. So fast and fun and such wild colors.

    • THEY WERE! I had some Lesney Matchbox at the time that I was playing with…and when I saw my first Redline, I tell you, I was ALL OVER my parents to get it for me!!! Lol

  6. My Redline of choice is the ’36 Ford Coupe. The opening rumble seat is just too much fun too pass up. Another fun casting is the Carabo, with the opening scissor doors, but I only have one of those guys.

  7. In collecting Hot Wheels the Redlines are an entity unto themselves. I’ve been collecting all HW’s since the late 80’s when my girls were little and have stayed away from the more expensive lines. I did have a fortunate find about 1990 when I found a box of Redlines, mostly ’69 vintage, maybe 25 cars, at an antique store. Some were in terrible shape, some were excellent. I don’t remember what I paid, but I don’t think it was more than $25 for all of them. I stupidly sold a few of these for much less than they were worth even at the time, but did think better of my foolishness and kept the vast majority of these cars. My first HW ‘s as a kid (13) were a gold Mustang and a pink 55 Nomad, which I gave to my little cousins. Aargh ! Good find, Brad, the Charger is a great casting of a popular car. Be on the lookout at antique stores and thrift stores. I found the orange and green (super rare) 31 Doozie at one!

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