Ask Brad

Ask Brad #10.5: RLC Sales, Tracking down Hot Wheels, Future of AcceleRacers, Steampunk Truck, and even a little Matchbox (& MORE!)

Thanks to you guys for stuffing the #Ask Brad inbox over the last several weeks, I had to break your questions into two articles! You can see the first half >> HERE << while catching the second half below:

Jim Longan • Woodland, California
Q: When you purchase something, mainly when you renew your membership, why doesn’t Hot Wheels take it out at the time you order it, instead of waiting till the item is ready to ship? It would be easier if they took the payment right out as soon as you order the item! If the money is not in the bank, the person doesn’t need to order something, instead, we who have the money in the bank have to be punished and made to wait! Thank You!
A: This actually should have changed now. With HWC’s new flash sale platform, you should be getting charged immediately. Starting with the 6/9 Datsun 510 sale, you should be seeing this.

Rob K • London, England
Q: Hey Brad. How does Mattel know how well a particular casting sells at the end-consumer level? Logic suggests that once Mattel packs a J case (say) in the factory, and sells it to a wholesaler or retailer, they lose the granularity of what castings sell well and which ones sit on the pegs for months & months. When I buy a bunch of different Hot Wheels at the supermarket, my receipt just lists multiple items described simply as “HW single diecast”. It doesn’t distinguish the Manga Tuner from the Wheelie Chair, for example. Is there even a difference in the bar codes between different HW castings? And if there is, how does the granular casting-level sales data filter back to Mattel from each individual retailer? Surely they can’t compile sales statistics based solely on the factory sealed cases sold to wholesalers/retailers?
A: The answer I’ve always seen is that they don’t track each car in a numeric sense, rather, they use consumer feedback and check the pegs themselves from time to time. 

Brandon • Longview, Washington
Q: Hi…. So I was a 2019 RLC member and was really excited to re-signup for 2020. I stayed up all night and got in the waiting room early only to be kicked out and was unable to apply. So my question is whether or not there is an exact date every year that RLC offers memberships? And if so what is that day so I can try again in 2021?
A: Sorry to hear that you didn’t get in. I did not think the memberships would sell out as quick as they did, and given the shop problems that day, it surely wasn’t ideal. There is no exact date the RLC memberships go one sale year-to-year, I just know that it will be near the end of February for 2021.

Oscar • Portland, Oregon
Q: Thank you so much for all of your articles and info you provide on this site. I’d like to ask you if you know or would like to give your opinion about this: in the world of die-cast and specifically Hot Wheels, what would be considered vintage cars? I’ve tried to research this, but it’s really murky! Thanks.
A: Typically Redlines have always — at least since I started collecting in 1995 —  been referred to as”Vintage Hot Wheels”. As the years go on, the definition expands. Think of real cars, a “vintage car” by definition is anything over (I think) 25 years. Would you consider a ’90s vehicle vintage? Some may say, yes, while others would disagree. Same goes for Hot Wheels, hence the murkiness you’ve encountered. I also collect wine and vintage in the wine world simply refers to the year the grapes were grown. It’s basically anything from the past. Honestly, I try to avoid using the word in a Hot Wheels sense unless trying to convey a general term for older Hot Wheels.

Noah Aldiano • Iowa
Q: Would you be able to find out what happened to the 5th and 6th Hot Wheels AcceleRacers movies? I’m a huge fan of the Highway 35 and AcceleRacers lines and was also wondering if those lines could be brought back or if the Hot Wheels Acceleracers movies could be finished?
A: Most of the people involved with the AcceleRacers have left Mattel. I suspect that since the cartoon/line didn’t do too well at the time, that they were never produced. Personally, I thought those movies were cool and the cars were awesome. If I ever get the chance, I’d love to pitch the idea to have Hot Wheels release a tribute series for one (or both) of the lines. I know there are a lot of younger collectors out there that have been buying these up so there is a market for them. The movies on the other hand… I think those have gone kaput.

Wilbert Johnson • Missouri
Q: I have a SERIOUS QUESTION!! I have been killing myself trying to find a particular 2004 ZAMAC. I’ve heard that it was made, it’s hard to find, Mattel didn’t make it. All kinds of stuff. My question is… Was there ever a 2004 ZAMAC twin mill? It was supposed to be #20.
A: Your search is over! Yes, they did make it, but it was the Hardnoze Twin Mill.

Bobby • Morgan Hill, California
Q: My question is in regards to the 2012 Custom Volkswagen Beetle HW Racing. Blue, purple, and white (K Mart Exclusive) but what do you know about a green version? I saw one online (eBay) not long ago. I looked it up (Wiki Hot Wheels, etc.) but found nothing on it. I figured maybe someone did a custom paint job but I liked it so I bought it. Anyway, when it arrived I started looking at it closely and now I’m not convinced it’s a custom paint job. I would appreciate your knowledge and feedback.
A: I don’t recall there ever being a green one. Its possible you saw one that was dyed, or are confusing it with this green one.

John • California
Q: I amassed a number of Matchbox cars as a kid, and in recent years, have casually picked up a few Hot Wheels here and there, since they are the only ones readily available. I know the Matchbox brand has had its issues, and was eventually acquired by Mattel. But I’m curious why Mattel bothers to keep it around, since it’s obviously treated like a neglected, second-class citizen, with poor distribution and selection of mostly utility vehicles, quite unlike what the brand used to stand for. Why does Mattel do this? Personally, my interest is in real-life cars, and not the originals that make up a large part of the Hot Wheels lineup. My wish would be for Mattel to leverage the brand equity in the Matchbox name and expand its lineup, particular as an outlet for the European marques, and have Hot Wheels concentrate on the American and Japanese marques. I think both brands can prosper, and not come at the expense of damaging the Hot Wheels brand. Instead, it’s squandering the opportunity. Mattel already has the shelf space; they just need to make the mix more even. Is that a crazy idea?
A: I think the cars the Matchbox brand has put out recently have been terrific. I have even picked up a few myself. I never seem to have a hard time finding them. Is it just that Matchbox is given far less peg space at retail? If that is the case, I would probably just buy cases from a distributor.

Marco • Jakarta, Indonesia
Q: Hi Brad, I’ve been looking into ZAMACs lately and I’ve been wondering. Do you know what is the first ZAMAC car hot wheels ever made? Like the first unpainted car they ever made.
A: The first official ZAMACs were made for the convention in 1998 — though the cards don’t say “ZAMAC” anywhere on them. Production on those is rumored to be around 500 pieces. Before that? Not sure. I’m thinking there was at least an unpainted car somewhere in there. Can’t think of one though.

Cullen Lane • Michigan
Q: Hey Brad I was curious if you knew when Hot Wheels started doing short cards like we know today in checkout lanes? I know they were around in the mid 90’s at least, but wasn’t sure what year exactly they started. Thanks!
A: Good question. Mid-’90s would be my guess too. I don’t recall seeing any before then. 

Travis F • Indianapolis
Q: Why do you think the 2019 RLC Steam Punk Truck isn’t more popular? Seems like it would be with its size, the moving parts & being limited to 6,000.
A: The Steam Punk Truck is relatively a new casting, that is unlicensed. Combining the steampunk genre with a tow truck was a great idea, and made for a super cool design with lots of parts and moving pieces. You’re right though, it hasn’t gotten much love. I rarely see collectors posting loose pics. I have both releases. I think I’ll have to give it a proper showcase soon to show it some love. For those that don’t have one yet, its probably a good time to pick one up!

Orange Track Diecast

Hot Wheels Steam Punk Truck, a 2019 RLC Exclusive


Luke • Cairo, Georgia
Q:  I have a few questions. Here we go.
1. OK, this one’s not a question, I’m just celebrating the fact that HW is making a Koenigsegg Jesko and McLaren Speedtail. I am definitely going to collect those.
A: Cool, me too.
2. Does HW ever collaborate on a car with a HW customizer? There’s the very limited edition ’55 Bel Air Gasser that just came out, and I think the guys at Lamley Group said that a HW customizer did the paint job, has that ever happened before?
A: Yes, the ‘55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser that was on The Lamley Group was done by Chris “Nightstalker” Walker. He collaborates with Hot Wheels all the time — hence why he signs autographs at the convention. The “Gas-Hole” is considered a code-3 custom, but there have been past instances where Mattel has collaborated with customizers for actual Mattel-released product.
3. Do you collect Matchbox cars at all? Just curious.
A: I don’t collect, but I do pick up a Matchbox car or two, once in a while.
4. I have a Ferrari Testarossa Cal Customs in pink, what is it worth (not that I would sell it)?
A: $15 Loose, $30 carded. You can always check the eBay “SOLD LISTINGS” to see what things are going for.
5. OK, this is a little bit of a weird question, but here it is; Does the Hot Wheels community respect customizers? Customizing a car ensures that it is not stock anymore, is that even accepted?
A: Of course, there is huge respect for customizers. Customizers are collectors. They just collect a different way than someone like myself. You should make it out to a convention one day and see the level of passion some of these collectors have.
6. What is your favorite kind of Real Rider?
A: Depends on the car.
7. How much do the RLC Exclusive cars usually cost?
A: This year… $24.99 for carded releases, $29.99 for acrylic display pieces. Always check for the latest pricing.
8. Do I have to go to the RLC Conventions to be an RLC member, or can I just stay home and do it? I mean, even if I wanted to go the conventions and had the money I still wouldn’t be able to. So yeah, it’d be great if I didn’t have to go.
A: You should make it out to a convention one year. I went to my first one when I was 21. I remember being in awe the whole time. To answer your question though, no. The Red Line Club is totally separate from the conventions. The RLC is affiliated with Mattel and whereas the conventions are put on by Collector Events Unlimited.

Dustin • Ohio
Q: Inquiring about the value of a Final Run 1999 1 of 12 Range Rover, never opened, package still in perfect condition.
A: Check eBay “SOLD LISTINGS”, it can be your friend when trying to establish market value. According to this, its anywhere between $10 to $20.

THANK YOU ALL for your awesome questions! Keep them coming. To be part of the #Ask Brad segment, please fill out the form below.


Categories: Ask Brad

2 replies »

  1. Hey to answer Marco’s question about zamac’s. Brad is right that the first official zamac was from the 1998 convention, but there were a few unpainted modes prior to that. There were several unpainted vehicles in the 1984-1985 Ultra Hots series, including the Silver Bullet, Sol Air CX4, Jet Sweep X5 and Flame Runner. There may have also been an unpainted version of the California Cruisin Super Van from 1979, but don’t quote me on that.

  2. Hi Brad, I am looking for the ’67 camero die cast collector set that came with the 2018 Hot Wheels camero. I now own the camero and would love to get the collector set that came with it when the camero was bought brand new. If you can help me find this that would be great!
    Thanks Brad!
    Bruce Dudek

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