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Origin Story of the RLC sELECTIONs ’55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser known as “Dirty Blonde”

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.

Orange Track Diecast

Hot Wheels “Dirty Blonde” ’55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser from the 2019 RLC sELECTIONs (rear view)

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.

QUICK LINK! “Dirty Blonde” Gassers for sale.

Orange Track Diecast

Hot Wheels “Dirty Blonde” ’55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser from the 2019 RLC sELECTIONs

10 replies »

  1. 😎Article BRAD as always. Articles like this is why I follow you on this site & the HWC/RLC Site.The Dirty Blonde was well done. I voted every round. I am glad that I ordered xtra’s. Members who ordered over 1,000 are licking their chops now. If a car in my opinion has the HW symbol on it it will sell and at double or more the original offering.The SPECTRAFLAME Yellow used the 1st time on that BADGIRL also was one of the many reasons I bought a few xtras. Van really do a great job on our cars. In fact all MATTEL personnel does a great job making sure we get our cars. Again BRAD thanks for the great article. πŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎ

    • Man I forgot about the other names to choose from. I really wanted yellow fever… that mosquito with helmet was just too cool and wanted that on there.

  2. I knew people were ordering a lot of the selection cars. The year before Dirty Blonde, was the blue Datsun Z. I remember seeing people selling those on eBay that were showing 50 available. But a 1000 pieces? That’s crazy. If there was ever a chance for these to gain any value it’s ruined now with people buying 100’s or 1000. I normally buy 6, 3 on each account that I have, and I think I’m being greedy buying 6. I don’t buy to resell immediately for a fast buck. Though I do think about future value & will sell a car if the price is right. But I’m more of a collector that buys extras so I can have at least one open and I do sell some of the cars I buy to the group of friends that aren’t a part of RLC & when I sell to them it’s not for profit, just what I paid is all I ask of them. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with for the Willy’s. I voted, but like last year, I lost out on the wheels and color, but I’m still excited for it & still gonna get six. TY Brad.

  3. I had no idea that there was any voting on a theme. I voted every round previous to that. It seems alot of other members didn’t know that as well if less than 600 voted.

    • John

      I agree with you. I have been a RLC member since year 1. I VOTED for what I thought was every round of this selection and never saw the poll for a name vote. I just checked the site and poll again. All selections still posted but no round for naming or decoration. Probably why so little members voted. Great car I bought 2, but the RLC is not what it once was and recent sales have become a techy driven disaster and not about collecting these little treasures

  4. Thank you Brad.

    Last year was my first year as a member, so my first year voting – and buying.
    I only bought one. I thought that was enough. Haha. Newbie. At least it shows I’m not a flipper!

    This year, I plan to buy two – but only cause a good friend loved that movie Blue Velvet and turned me on to it. And he’s a gearhead.

    In 20/20 hindsight, I do indeed think “Checkered Past” would have been the best selection.

    Yep, love those colored headers, and the Spectraflame Bright Yellow with White roof.

  5. I bought an extra so if anyone ever makes the Checkered Past decal set, I can make the one I voted for.

  6. Great article! I so wish Yellow Fever had won, I almost didn’t buy one of these because I find the name and the ‘dirty blonde’ pony tail on the car absolutely ridiculous. Hoping for something better with the Willys.

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