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LOVE IT or HATE IT: The Hot Wheels RANGE ROVER was Final Run’d in 1999.

The #Final Run series was the Hot Wheels version of the double-edged sword. The cool thing was to see a retiring Hot Wheels model go out in style, BUT do the models really have to be gone for good? Hot Wheels castings come and go every year. For as many that make their debut, roughly the same amount are unceremoniously gone for good. That is why the Final Run series has such mixed reviews among collectors today.

For those that remember when the series made its debut in 1999, the idea was to send these models out in style. Special wheels — mostly #Real Riders — and exclusive decos really gave these basic-level cars a premium look in this semi-premium line. The Hot Wheels #Range Rover was actually the first car on the chopping block as it was number #1 in the series of 12. No real reason was ever given why the Range Rover was being discontinued, but a common reason why models disappear from the Hot Wheels lines is that the tool — essentially the giant mold that makes these cars — is worn out from repeated use. The casting had a 10-year run after being introduced in 1990, so it would be reasonable to assume that the tool had simply degraded over time. Instead of replacing it, one more “Final Run” was produced.

The caveat of the #Final Run series was that the packaging stated, “LAST PRODUCTION RUN!”, which legally bound Mattel to never produce the casting again. That is a big deal as that means the casting can never come back from the dead — it’s like the Hot Wheels version of a double-tap. For every unpopular casting —  like the Alien, Treadator, and XT-3 — that was Final Run’d, collector-favorites such as the Kenworth T600A, #’70 Dodge Charger Daytona, and #Lamborghini Diablo met their demise. There is even a rumor that the #Purple Passion had once been considered for this series.

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Hot Wheels Range Rover from the 1999 Final Run series

The #Range Rover wasn’t a trendy Hot Wheels casting at the time, but one has to wonder with the influx of #Land Rovers these days, what if the classic Range Rover was brought back … ’80s and ’90s cars seem to be all the rage these days and this model straddles both decades. You have to think that the boxy Range Rover would be a popular choice to make a comeback in some nostalgic line. Too bad it legally can’t.

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Hot Wheels Range Rover from the 1999 Final Run series (head-to-head with 1993 Collector #221)

A quick eBay search shows values for this #Final Run release ranging between $10 and $25. From an aesthetics standpoint, the other releases don’t compare, so it was great to see this casting go out in style. But the fact that it can not come back, hurts. The Final Run release proves that if this casting was released in a time where #Land Rovers were popular among Hot Wheels collectors, and given the correct premium treatment, this casting may never have been Final Run’d in the first place. We will never know for sure though, as this casting is gone for good.

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Hot Wheels Range Rover from the 1999 Final Run series (rear view)

 

4 replies »

  1. There were definitely mistakes in terms of legendary castings that met their end in the Final Run Series, but as you said, there are a lot of castings which aren’t missed that got a good opportunity to be done up nicely. I don’t see any reason why the Range Rover can’t be brought back in some sense, like they did with the Daytona or the Bronco. They could make a new casting based on the same real-life vehicle, and it’s probably a good thing that the old casting has been retired, so now there’s potential for a more detailed casting to be made rather than hanging on to an old outdated 30 year old tooling.

  2. I was dismayed when Mattel did this way back when and thought it was a bad move. (Final Runs) However, in many years of collecting I have come to accept more “questionable “ decisions by Mattel. Exhibit A: the ‘tooned” line. Maybe the line was successful with kids but from an adult collector standpoint, it was a waste. My primary beef is that HW will do one casting so well, they’ll hit it out of the park, and then they turn around and produce another which is badly out of proportion or have other issues. It’s like the designers draw it freehand out of their head, and it only resembles the real car superficially. SO, there was nothing wrong with the Land Rover, I have several, but there were other FR models which were either old, poor sellers, or poorly designed. I mourned the loss of the 55 Chevy, but ultimately a better one came along. The FR model had no interior, and had little detail and was poorly proportioned.
    I just think Mattel made arbitrary decisions to lump good castings in with ones they wanted to dump in order to get some financial return and made Final Run a simple marketing decision. Although collectors now wield more influence with Mattel, we ultimately don’t have the final say, I guess. Good feature, Brad, of an issue impacting collectors.

  3. Like many, I have very mixed feelings about the Final Run series. I hate the idea that a casting can never be brought back, but it sure is fun to see what they did with them in their last release. Take the Final Run Recycling Truck for example. Who ever thought a trash truck good look so sharp?

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