Once the most-detailed HWC release, the “Carroll Shelby” Cobra was the perfect bridge to the modern Red Line Club

20 years ago the Red Line Club was launched on The slogan “we still make them like we used to” could be seen in print advertisements in various diecast magazines trying to bring a community that had largely existed offline, online. The RLC was all about breathing new life into popular and retired designs. Today, the RLC is a beast that can sell 30,000+ vehicles in a matter of minutes. The designs are elaborate new castings comprised of nearly a dozen pieces.

The landscape of the RLC looked entirely different in 2013. The club was still producing stellar pieces but interest had waned. Some vehicles sold in quantities of 3,000 and 4,000 had a hard time selling out. You could tell that the team had tried to inject some new flavor into the club by introducing a few new premium — often heavy — castings, but it still relied on old favorites like the #Shelby Cobra 427 S/C for guaranteed success.

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Hot Wheels “Carroll Shelby” Shelby Cobra 427 S/C, a 2013 HWC Special Commemorative Edition

The 2013 HWC Special Commemorative Edition of the #Shelby Cobra 427 S/C was touted by the team as the “most-detailed” HWC/RLC car yet as it featured an interior with a two-tone steering wheel, painted roll bar, and the coolest little brown seat belts. Even the gauge cluster on the dash was hand-sprayed at the factory. It was one of the last vehicles manufactured at the China plant before the era of hand-polished cars went away — only to resurface 4 years later after quality control and backorder issues from the “mirrorized era” almost killed the club. That is a story for another time as this Cobra served as the perfect bridge between the RLC of yesteryear and the RLC of today.

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Top-Rear View of the Hot Wheels “Carroll Shelby” Shelby Cobra 427 S/C, a 2013 HWC Special Commemorative Edition

Carroll Shelby was an automotive icon and there were no shortages of Hot Wheels tributes to him over the years. I think, however, this one may have been the last. He died in 2012, and this “special commemorative edition” was released as a tribute to his legacy and the great relationship #Shelby had with the Hot Wheels brand. As a result, the HWC team at Mattel went all-out: #Spectraflame Paint, #Real Riders, iconic casting, and more detail than ever before! The #Shelby Cobra 427 S/C — often referred to as the “Classic Cobra” — was an obvious choice. The basic-level casting still featured the #Opening Hood, and the ultra-premium tool already existed with the 2008 Neo-Classics release coming five years prior. The release was undoubtedly popular, and the secondary market value has only climbed over the years.

QUICK LINK! Find the RLC Cobra on eBay.

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Hot Wheels “Carroll Shelby” Shelby Cobra 427 S/C, a 2013 HWC Special Commemorative Edition with the 2008 Neo-Classic release in Spectraflame Red

When you look back at the 2013 HWC Special Commemorative Edition #Shelby Cobra 427 S/C today, it is easy to see that this release provided us with a road map of what would be popular today. Hindsight is 20/20, right? I am not sure if it was ever used as such by the HWC team, but popular casting aside, the spectraflame paint, real riders, high level of detail, and opening feature all come standard on just about every RLC release of today. This release combines classic casting with all the features of today!

This release was the last time we saw the Classic Cobra in the ultra-premium realm. Given the direction of the club to dedicate all-new tools to highly complex models, we will probably never see it in the RLC again. The casting by today’s standards is extremely outdated so unless it comes back as some sort of tribute, seeing a follow-up to this release looks bleak. Cobra collectors eat your heart out: there was an outside chance of this casting returning back in the 2018 RLC sELECTIONs, but the Cobra eventually lost to the Datsun 240Z in the final round of voting by a mere 250 votes! Today, the value of this 2013 release is in the $600 to $700 range — ranking among some of the most coveted RLC pieces of all time.

2 replies »

  1. That is one I regret not grabbing years ago when I thought 50 bucks on ebay was a crazy price for it. Little did I know just how insane prices on rlc cars would become these last few years. Remember when the candy striper was 60 bucks on ebay? or the green 83 silverado was only around 150-200? Wish I would have bought every single one of em

  2. I may have paid approx. $45-$50 for this about 6 ish or 7 yrs ago, but I had to have it considering it is the most coveted of commemorative diecasts paying homage to the legend Carroll Shelby. Considering how the RLC included Mr Shelby’s likeness on the package made it extra appealing.
    My late father was a past owner of a brand new 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 with the 427 so the Shelby name was commonplace in the house growing up, so a release like this with awesome Spectraflame finish and details made it a must have I was taken back when I saw the prices selling upwards of &300, $400 and even at least $500, but wow!

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