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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.