It’s clear that the vast number of Red Line Club members buy the cars. The sellouts of pieces produced in the tens of thousands are evidence that the RLC is as popular as ever. What many RLC members fail to utilize, however, is their right to vote in the yearly RLC #sELECTIONs. Why? I have no idea, but its a sentiment that echos society as a whole. Maybe people feel like their vote doesn’t matter — I get that. Elections are won (and lost) by voter turnout, and the RLC sELECTIONs have proven that every single vote matters. Decisions in the yearly event on the RLC Forums of HotWheelsCollectors.com have literally come down to a single vote in the past. So if you ever think your vote doesn’t matter, guess again. To my knowledge, no other diecast company has ever let their members decide every facet to a specific release, once a year, like sELECTIONs offers. It’s awesome to think that you can literally have an impact on the casting, color, and wheels chosen for a yearly RLC release.
The origin story of the “Dirty Blonde” takes us back to just last year. After five weeks of voting from March 6 to April 8, 2019, RLC members chose the #’55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser over other previously released RLC cars like the #Datsun Bluebird 510 and the #’17 Ford F-150 Raptor. The brand-new #Spectraflame Paint color, “Lemon Yellow” beat out Aqua, Antifreeze, and Bright Orange; while the #Real Riders Pro Stock / Drag Slick combo handily beat its competition. The voters voted. That wasn’t it, however.
Hot Wheels Graphic Designer, Steve Vandervate (known as “HWCVan” on the forums) created an additional topic which allowed RLC members to help decide the theme of this yellow gasser. Van’s early favorite was the “Cruel Twist” design for the gasser, which featured a lemon peel as the “S” in twist. It was a nod to the new spectraflame lemon yellow paint. Users “JAMHOL” and “ARMATAZ” suggested the names “Dirty Blonde” and Checkered Past” respectively. “Checkered Past” and its taxi-themed nod to the original design of the HWC web site seemed to be an instant hit, and its name clearly represents all the highs & lows of the RLC. Then, a couple days later, a new concept named “Yellow Fever” entered the mix as the design featured a mosquito in a crash helmet with stars around his head. A formal vote was needed as it seemed the latest concept had muddied the water.
There were five options presented — two of which, were the taxi cab theme. “Yellow Fever” jumped out to an early lead over “Dirty Blonde” while both taxi cab options (combined) were a distant third. It was evident that the voting for “Dirty Blonde” was being driven by sales — or people with multiple memberships — as the collectors posting clearly favored the other designs. The poll was closed on 4/16 with the “Dirty Blonde” theme edging out “Yellow Fever” by a mere 4 votes. Out of nearly 18,000 memberships, only 567 voted for what ultimately would wind up being on this release. Van then took the “Dirty Blonde” name and turned it into what would eventually be seen on the final piece.
The end result came out great — despite my clear favoritism towards the “Checkered Past” design. Van has always done an amazing job and has served us RLC members well while designing for the RLC. You just knew he would take the name and deliver something truly unique. The “Dirty Blonde Los Angeles” logo gives the car a sponsored look by what could very well be a fictional tavern. The names of various Mattel employees associated with the RLC found their way on as sponsor graphics as well, including: Rettberg Dyno, Inc., Liu & Son, Barnum Balancing, Koiles Springs, and Vetuskey Induction.
Perhaps the coolest elements to this release are the colored headers, pearl white roof, and the amazing card art. Of course, you can forget that extremely bright, spectraflame lemon yellow paint. How many were ultimately made? We won’t know for sure, but its clearly a number north of 20,000 as the card doesn’t feature a limited edition sticker on the back. Some resellers have boasted about ordering quantities in the hundreds, with one or two even stating they ordered over 1,000. At $19.99 each, that was quite the investment. With the RLC as hot as it is right now, it seems to be paying off for them as they are still commanding a decent price on the secondary market two months after they began hitting collectors mailboxes. It speaks volumes as to the quality of the piece and the epicness known as the “Dirty Blonde” gasser.