A couple weeks ago, I published an article on HotWheelsCollectors.com — exclusively for Red Line Club members — that explained where the Hot Wheels Race Team originated, in addition to including some interesting collections within the segment that seemingly has no bounds. Under the section titled, “The Hot Wheels Race Team Series is Official”, I briefly mentioned that a couple vehicles wore the #Hot Wheels Race Team livery in 1994, including three #Ex-Corgi Castings, before the segment was officially dubbed, “Hot Wheels Race Team” in the 1995 mainline. With the only prominent wording on the packaging being “Hot Wheels Auto-City”, this 3-Pack is not an easy one to track down. It wasn’t until I scrolled through all the Auto-City listings on eBay before I started having success in finding them — yeah, I have a couple I acquired after scoring them for rock-bottom prices thanks to (what I assume is) poor keywording in the listing.
The Hot Wheels Auto-City #Multi-Pack Exclusives from this era were actually pretty cool as they not only came with three themed vehicles, but also a few ancillary pieces that enhance the play value of the given theme. The theme of this 3-Pack is clearly #Hot Wheels Race Team despite not mentioning it anywhere on the pack, and the extra pieces were just too cool to leave out of the photos today. A set like this is something I’d love for Hot Wheels to do again, but I am sure the bulky packaging and extra pieces would have collectors cringing at the added price point such a set could produce. Instead, we are left with a set that is essentially a relic by today’s standards as this historical piece represents a few short years in which #Ex-Corgi Castings infiltrated Hot Wheels lines in the mid-’90s. Even the castings themselves — despite wearing the flamboyant Hot Wheels Race Team attire — still have “Corgi” on the base.
Of the three vehicles in this set, the #Hot Rod Custom Van was the vehicle that initially attracted me to this set. There was a black one that came as part of the Sto & Go: Gas Station playset in 1993 before the casting would ultimately become a promotional billboard for Chuck E Cheese and JC Whitney promotions in the late ’90s. The casting definitely has a cool, racing heritage to it with that front diffuser and side-exhaust; and for years sat right there with my meager collection of Hot Wheels #Super Vans. When you think of #Vans on the race track, you think of support — unless you’re a fan of Dajiban racing in Japan — then you assume all vans can be raced to some extent, muddying the waters on whether this is support van or race car.
The only dud in the pack is the #F1 Race Car which (to me) is a chunky, over-sized IndyCar. I know Hot Wheels scale isn’t precise as we have all sorts of vehicles at different scales but this one just doesn’t fit. I don’t mean to be overly-critical, but you can tell — despite my love for two-thirds of this pack — I am not a fan, so I digress…
The #Jaguar XJR12 has slowly become the star of this 3-Pack as this car would fit in well with modern Hot Wheels if it were released today. The front lens detail — with the headlights being part of the windshield piece — is reminiscent of the #Porsche 917 LH that was designed in 2018. The covered rear wheel was something Hot Wheels didn’t do too much of beyond the #Purple Passion, and the little cut-out that is found on the real XJR-12 is a cool touch that only adds to the casting detail.
As far as #Hot Wheels Race Team vehicles go, this #Jaguar XJR12 actually ranks among my favorites. Partially due to the obscureness of the release, but also partially due to the spot-on HW Racing color scheme that was used. That blue paint with white spray on top, along with Hot Wheels, Dunlop, and Jaguar logos give this car an authentic feel despite the Hot Wheels logo looking a little “hand-drawn”. Aside from the wheels, this car screams Hot Wheels, and its always fun to see newer collectors come across it as they are often taken-back by how Hot Wheels it is for an #Ex-Corgi Casting.
A special European-only release of the #Jaguar XJR12 in the Hot Wheels mainline would later label it as an XJR9 despite the base of the casting saying, “Jaguar XJR12”. The casting remained unchanged. That 1997 “Smokin’ Ghost Racing” XJR9 actually goes for a good chunk of change if you can find one.
Obviously, the stand-outs from this 3-Pack are the Van and XJR12 as they look good alongside the rest of the Hot Wheels that wear this ’90s-era race team look. The Hot Wheels Team Racing Auto-City 3-Pack remains a relic in Hot Wheels lore, but is certainly a must-have for any #Hot Wheels Race Team collector of today. Finding it for a good price may be a challenge, but if you’re willing to put in the work searching the Hot Wheels Auto-City listings, you’re bound to score sooner or later.
Categories: Series Profile