Hot Wheels of the Day

HWOTD // Hot Wheels 1983 Real Riders: SHELBY COBRA 427 S/C

Hot Wheels of the Day

Shelby Cobra 427 S/C

Mainline / Real Riders

RELEASE YEAR: 1983 • CASTING DESIGNER: Larry Wood

Orange Track Diecast
Hot Wheels Shelby Cobra 427 S/C from the 1983 Real Riders series

The #Shelby Cobra 427 S/C is one of those classic Hot Wheels that has ranked up there with the most desirable castings for decades. And, even with the hood being sealed shut in the mainline casting a couple years back, collectors are still enamored by what has to be one of the most gorgeous car designs in automotive history. This year, we will see it as the last Super #Treasure Hunt for 2021 — complete with Spectraflame Paint & Real Riders.

Back in 1983, #Spectraflame Paint was no longer in the mainline as the Redline-era had ended several years prior. Instead, it was the dawn of the #Real Riders era where a special plastic compound was developed to form a synthesized rubber known to Hot Wheels enthusiasts as “Real Riders”. The special tires were made to “look and feel like the real thing”, and brought Hot Wheels to a whole new level in terms of play value and collectibility. 

One of the first vehicles to wear these new #Real Riders was this #First Edition of the #Shelby Cobra 427 S/C. The Cobra — as collectors affectionately call it — was released in both the Real Riders segment of the mainline, and the Hot Ones with plastic blackwall wheels, in 1983. In 1998, for the 30th Anniversary of Hot Wheels, the Real Riders release was deemed the first release of the casting and a special replica 30th anniversary edition was made to celebrate it. Today, however, we are showcasing the one that started it all…


Orange Track Diecast

Color (material): Blue (metal)
Chassis (material): Unpainted (metal)
Windows: Clear
Interior: Black
Deco: Two White Racing Stripes
Wheels: Gray #RRT w/ Goodyear Tampo
Country of Manufacture: Hong Kong
Toy# (SKU): 3923

CURRENT MARKET VALUE (Carded /Set, August 2021)

$43.84 ▲

For being 38 years old, this #Shelby Cobra 427 S/C doesn’t command high dollar, but finding one in good shape — loose — can be a challenge. Not all of it is because of time and/or playwear though. Even straight out of the blister, the paint is a little uneven, and the #Real Riders tires aren’t near the level ones of today are. You could say, the Hot Wheels team — which consisted mostly of Larry Wood and Bob Rosas at the time — was still figuring things out, transitioning the brand into the new era and trying out new things.

Orange Track Diecast
Hot Wheels Shelby Cobra 427 S/C from the 1983 Real Riders series (rear view, hood open)

The #Shelby Cobra 427 S/C casting may not have utilized the modern 3D software designers use today, but as a testament to the casting’s design, it is still beloved by collectors. The #Opening Hood was done extremely well as even the “played with” ones have stood the test of time. It was this release that kicked off over 100 variants over the next 40 years, and what many would consider to be a Top 25 Hot Wheels car of all-time.

As a bonus, @aussiehotwheelscollector was nice enough to send over some pics of his complete Shelby Cobra 427 S/C collection…. check it out!

5 replies »

  1. This exact Cobra has been in my collection for many years, probably from the early 1990’s when I bought it loose at an antique shop for probably $5. It is one of my prized cars and is in near mint condition. Brad, you are correct in that both castings and paint quality from these years is not up to today’s standards, but I have to take issue on the Real Riders. I have always thought that these tires really captured the look of the 60 and 50 series bias ply tires of the 1970’s. The tread was detailed, they came in blackwall, redline, and, like our featured model, with Goodyear white letters, which are admittedly difficult to represent in 1/64 scale. I know because I was there in the 1970’s when every muscle car and wannabe muscle car was shod with slotted aluminum wheels, (think Mattel Retro Slots) L60’s in the back and G70’s or such in the front, and the requisite Gabriel HiJacker air shocks to provide proper wheel well clearance.
    The Cobra has been a winner all these years because of a great execution of a classic design, and I think these Real Riders also represent very accurately what was available from many manufacturers during that period of time.

  2. I also wish to comment on the Real Rider wheels. Originally offered in gray or white, these wheels copied that “latest new wheel design “ of 1/1 cars, called a Turbine, or Vector if found on a General Lee Dodge Charger. It seems as if Mattel was copying this design. The real versions flopped, though and Mattel seemed to phase theirs out too. Soon, though, Mattel was offering a chrome version that mimicked “chrome reverse wheels” and this was the Hot Wheels premium wheel for what seemed to be a long time, and a wheel for some of the first Treasure Hunts, although I may be mistaken.

  3. Thank you for posting this Hot Wheel of the Day! I am a Classic Cobra enthusiast and have been collecting this casting since it was first released in 83. I only collect visual variations and am very interested in the collection owned by @aussiehotwheelscollector. There are questions I have about some of the ones shown in his pics. Does anyone have an email address for him? I don’t have a Facebook or Instagram account. Cheers!

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