20 years ago the Red Line Club was launched on HotWheelsCollectors.com. 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.
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.
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.
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.