Collection Update

Collection Update: the epic Datsun Bluebird 510 collection is complete again!

At this point, not much more can be said about the #Datsun Bluebird 510. The once-peg-warmer, is now one of the most sought-after Hot Wheels castings in the 54-year history of the brand. Every release of it is an event from the initial shots of the upcoming model to the impending hoarding at retail courtesy of collectors. For RLC and convention releases, the 510 sales have been known to break sites online, and cause extremely long lines in-person. The 510 has cemented itself in Hot Wheels lore as much as any other casting.

Unlike previous Hot Wheels collector favorites, the #Datsun Bluebird 510 has had a running mate in the midst of one of the largest cultural shifts of the brand, and Car Culture in general. In the early 2010’s, an affinity for historical Japanese vehicles increased in the US. You can attribute that to whatever you’d like as I’m sure anything you can think of played a role. As far as Hot Wheels is concerned, it was former designer, Jun Imai who introduced that flavor into a Hot Wheels brand that was long dominated by American muscle cars and heavyweight castings like the Volkswagen Drag Bus & Dairy Delivery. He designed the 510 sedan in 2009 as a race car with fender flares, roll cage, and a front chin spoiler to give the sporty family car an edgier look. Then, 4 years later, after debuting his own 510 wagon at Japanese Classic Car Show (JCCS) that year, the #’71 Datsun Bluebird 510 Wagon dropped. Since then, both 510s have dominated the headlines in every mix of every line they have been released in.

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Hot Wheels Datsun Bluebird 510 with ’71 Datsun 510 Wagon, both in black MOMO livery

Jun didn’t solely change the culture of the brand as he had running mates of his own as Ryu Asada & Mark Jones played huge roles in developing Japanese castings after Jun left Mattel in 2018. For as much as Jun did in his 13 years at Mattel, he will forever be connected to the Hot Wheels “JDM movement”. In reality, Jun designed over 150 Hot Wheels castings, bringing an intense swagger to the brand, and the 510 was only a small part of it.

13 years after the first release of the #Datsun Bluebird 510 hit shelves at retail, the casting collection has grown to epic proportions with a smattering of 510 across all lines. This group shot of this casting collection is evidence enough…

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Hot Wheels ’71 Datsun Bluebird 510 — all of the releases (family photo, May 2022)

Honestly, where does this casting go from here? In 2022 (so far) we’ve seen three releases of the 510 sedan – Japan convention, Mystery Models, and RLC in #Gulf Racing deco – all on the heels of a #BRE 2-pack which collectors stalked Target stores for. The Japan convention 510 holds a distinguished record in my collection as, “the most I’ve ever paid for a single Hot Wheels car” — but hey, I needed to get back up-to-date on this collection. My favorite part of this one is the black-chrome #Real Riders 8-Spoke Wheels w/ Red Lines, but not to overshadow the awesome deco by Japanese artist, Toshikazu Nozaka of Asian Wave Studio. It actually pained me to rip it from its blister card art to add it to my loose collection. In addition to the Japan convention 510, the Mystery Models “chase” piece is hitting Walmart now, and the Gulf 510 was sold via the Red Line Club just a couple weeks ago.

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Hot Wheels ’71 Datsun Bluebird 510 — 2022 releases with 2021 BRE Datsun

With the semi-recent additions of the two #Datsun Bluebird 510s that came in the #Car Culture 2-Pack, I would be remiss to not have an updated #BRE Datsun 510 photo for you — 6 releases now! Some will attribute the rise of this casting in collector fandom to the high prices of the 2011 Vintage Racing and the 2013 HWC Special Edition. Had those two pieces not been released, you could drive a hard argument that the 510 may not be as popular with Hot Wheels collectors. The value of those two pieces rose so quickly that many collectors noticed, driving demand further and increasing to secondary market prices into the stratosphere. Even the other diecast manufacturers took notice, quickly establishing licenses with Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE) themselves.

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Hot Wheels ’71 Datsun Bluebird 510 — all of the BRE Datsun variants

The truth is, we could talk about the #Datsun Bluebird 510 all day — and maybe there is a collector that is doing just that today on the holiest of car model holidays, May 10 (5-10). I feel extremely grateful that I was able to establish a collection of every release of this casting — sans variations — and definitely wanted to partake in the 5-10 festivities today. I highly recommend that you check out the “Heavyweight Battle” that Lamley Group did on YouTube where he pitted the 510 sedan’s Hot Wheels legacy against that of the Nissan Skyline (BNR34).

9 replies »

  1. Different wheels, different paint, SAME CAR. Appreciated are the tasteful deco’s and such, but what I see is an overwhelming desire to spend a dime on paint, but a cheap reluctance to spend a dollar on a new casting. Sad commentary for the “worlds best selling toy”.

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