Once a consolation prize, this SUGAR CADDY reminds us of another time in the RLC that may be eerily familiar

To long-time members of the Red Line Club, the #HWC Series 8: #Sugar Caddy represents some pretty heavy RLC anguish. Sound familiar? Given the stress of yesterday’s sale, I thought it would be fitting to look at a car that lives deep within HWC lore.

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Hot Wheels Sugar Caddy from the 2009 Series 8 Neo-Classics (dark silhouette)

In 2009, the Hot Wheels #Sugar Caddy was brought back much to redline collector acclaim as it was pretty much only released in 1971. It had a decent fan base as far as nostalgic redline collectors were concerned, and it was clearly one of the vehicles the HWC team at the time thought would do well. #HWC Series 8 had 18 cars in it — 6 Real Riders, 6 Neo-Classics, and 6 Larry Wood — all with varying quantities based on perceived demand. It may be laughable today that the Neo-Classics Sugar Caddy was assigned an allotment of 8,500 pieces whereas the ’83 Chevy Silverado — which now sells for over $1,000 on the secondary market — only had a quantity of 3,000 made; but in those days bringing back a redline favorite was a big deal, and castings without established fan bases didn’t always do too well.

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Hot Wheels Sugar Caddy from the 2009 Series 8 Neo-Classics (on orange track)

As fate would have it though, the Silverado actually sold well, selling out in a couple days — yeah, days was a good sellout. The #Sugar Caddy, on the other hand, sat in the shop for years. Its certainly a great lesson in supply exceeding demand, and a great argument versus those collectors that think the RLC should be producing 30,000+ cars for every sale.

One day, came the great Virtual Vending Machine (VVM) of pink RLC Party cars. VVMs were common those days as you ordered “pulls” for $9.99 to get some HWC releases that didn’t sell out. Mixed in were some big-ticket items. You placed an order for a “pull” and usually didn’t know what you were getting until a confirmation email came. In the Pink Party Car VVM, RLC members had the chance to get some #RLC Party Exclusives for what collectors were charged at the conventions. It was a great deal, and especially good for those that didn’t have the means to make it to conventions. Ultimately, what happened was that the “pulls” were oversold. Instead of receiving the highly-coveted party cars, collectors got a default code in the order confirmations that said “VVM999”. I believe that the term bait & switch was thrown out there quite a bit. In reality though, those collectors were not charged and were sent the #HWC Series 8: #Sugar Caddy as a consolation prize. Yes, it was an apology from Mattel with free product, but it still made many collectors irate. In fact, I don’t think there were many “apologies” given out after that given the way the Sugar Caddy was received.

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Hot Wheels Sugar Caddy from the 2009 Series 8 Neo-Classics

RLC members had stockpiles of these from various VVMs and rewards sales, and from this instance, the very sight of that car offended some. Many were given away or sold dirt cheap at Hot Wheels events. In the years that followed, many referred to it as the fake RLC party car. It was a cast-off in a sense and some even blamed the car for not even being the “right shade of pink”. Granted, it was never intended to be a party car substitute as it was actually painted spectraflame magenta for its #HWC Series 8 release, a tribute to the rare redline release that fetches high dollar on the open market.

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Hot Wheels Sugar Caddy from the 2009 Series 8 Neo-Classics in Spectraflame Magenta compared to Spectraflame Pink Poison Pinto from RLC Party

The story of the #HWC Series 8: #Sugar Caddy is actually pretty sad when you think of it. Redline-era casting gets a second chance, doesn’t sell out, never gets made again. To top it off, the car is given out as an apology and with everything this cool #Ira Gilford Design brought, the only thing modern collectors associated with it was resentment. The car itself is a great representation of the original tool, and even has the #Opening Hood complete with cutout for the #Blown Engine. The V8 engine is someting to behold, and even the ’70s “sugar daddy” ghost flame deco fits the car.

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Hot Wheels Sugar Caddy from the 2009 Series 8 Neo-Classics (close-up of engine detail)

As the lore of the HWC #Sugar Caddy fades, the car is no longer a piece collectors are trying to give away. Rather the value on these has climbed into the $25 range which tells you that some collectors are actually finding value in this piece. It’s a cool design of a vintage casting that probably should have seen at least another release — spoilers deco with numbered roundel, anyone? Ultimately, overproduction killed the buzz surrounding the long-awaited return of this vintage casting, and should be a lesson to those of us that demand RLC makes a car for every member.

15 replies »

  1. Great article and sad to hear this was how the car was received. It’s a great casting, and in fact one of my favourites from the redline era. I think $25 is a good buy compared to the $1000 that you’d need to pay for an original magenta sugar caddy!

  2. I came into RLC in 2014 and this casting was still in the shop and I think it’s beautiful. The atmosphere was a lot different being part of RLC even as recent as 2014. A sale would come up and there was no need to get all stressed out over it because nothing sold out in minutes, and they weren’t even produced in high numbers like they are now. Like you said in the article, they hung around for days, weeks, months & sometimes years. Not like today when you have to give an hour or more of your undivided attention on sale day while you’re at work(I actually have to hide and hope no one comes looking for me, not an easy task). This was a great casting and because I came to RLC so late, I didn’t know that there was a back story to this car. Thanks for sharing it’s history.

  3. Amazing story! As a relatively new collector I wish I had been a collector back then to see this evolution take place. My only experiences are with the last 3 years and selling out in minutes is all I can relate to. Great stuff Brad,.

  4. Thank you for this article.
    Please keep these “history” pieces coming!
    As a collector of only two years, they are very educational

    Your recent HWC/RLC article on the Custom Otto made me remember the childhood conversations about “What is this car on the packaging?”, which I thought i had completely forgotten about.
    And it encouraged me to order a Blue one on Sunday. I really look forward to it as an important piece in my collection.

    And your other recent article about why you decided to buy your first 1969 Redline was also great.
    I replied to that saying I would start looking for a Custom Eldorado. And while I did start looking, the prices have kept me from continuing to look, But in my research, I did come across this Sugar Caddy, which also appealed to me. So, I thought i might go this route instead instead.
    And here you are with an article on it!

    • I think it was that comment that finally inspired me to do this article. It has been on my “to-do” list for a long time. With the sale — or lack there of — yesterday, it felt like a good time. Frustration is part of the game, and I was extremely frustrated with the result as well. In times like this, I like to remind myself of all the times I have been fortunate.

  5. So while I understand the reluctance to have cars sitting around in the shop and the issues of past releases that all should be tossed out the window.

    Trying to compare a period of time before social media and before the massive aftermarket boom of HWC/RLC pieces to the current marketplace is a very poor business practice.

    In the past you had a period of time where 15,000 or so members could buy two cars each and still took days to sell out 6,000 pieces. The last two years pieces have been limited to one per account and there has not been a HWC/RLC piece reach the end of the RLC Priority window, ok maybe there have been one or two, but EVERYTHING has sold out.

    For 2020 Mattel identified the demand for more memberships potentially selling double those of previous years yet has not adjusted the supply of cars to meet demand. Any argument about keeping production numbers low to keep collectors interested is idiotic.

    I joined RLC because I love the cars not because I care about the secondary market. Because of the massive delta between available pieces and members I have not been able to procure 1 car this year. This is not how you retain loyal customers.

    • As a collector and RLC member myself, I whole-heartedly agree that RLC members should have a valid chance with procuring product. This is only a cautionary tale of product being planned 18 months out with a perceived demand. The rise is RLC product popularity is growing at an unprecedented rate and numbers have increased drastically. Popular castings with high resale numbers have always troubled collectors on sale day. It will be interesting to see how the Custom Mustang does (whenever that sale ends up happening) as its another great casting but with far less demand.

    • Hey Jeremy, you make a lot of valid points. They have increased the numbers of the RLC cars over the last few years.

      The Porsche GT2 in Gulf livery of 2016 was 6,000. The Gulf Raptor that followed was 10,000. And even the most recent releases are either 12,500 or 15,000 for the Datsun 510.


  6. I didn’t realize the story about this. All I know is I got one and I love it. I miss the virtual vending machine program. I remember everyone looking at the shipping weight to see if they got a bigger prize. Lots of people crabbed about what they got. I never did. I knew the rules. But also twice I got a grand prize. Once a series 2 complete boxed RLC set. Another time a complete series 3 RLC boxed set

  7. I purchased this car out of the shop in February 2018 along with the TNT Bird and King Kuda. I didn’t start collecting until 2017 and 2018 was my first RLC membership. It is amazing how much demand has increased for premium cars in such a short time.

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