East Coast vs West Coast. Nationals vs Convention. Spring vs Fall. Dodge vs Chevy. Us collectors love a good debate.
Mark & Jennifer, the folks at Collectors Events Unlimited (CEU) know how to put on great Hot Wheels Nationals/Convention events, and they know how to pick some killer cars! Every year the Hot Wheels Nationals are the highlight of the spring — and the east coast — as the event typically is held east of the Mississippi River. Due to Mattel being based in Los Angeles (El Segundo), some collectors often consider there to be a “west coast bias” towards the Convention held in LA in the fall. There is definitely more Mattel participation at the convention, but as far as the souvenir cars go, can you really make the case for one event having better exclusives?
Having attended both events, I can honestly say that one of the best things is the speculation you hear throughout the week on what the dinner and finale vehicles will be — when its not ruined ahead of time of course. The #Finale is just that: the last ticketed event for Nationals/Convention week. When the finale vehicle remains a secret until attendees pass through the doors, it is a real treat for attendees to be among the first to have seen this very limited Hot Wheels release and talk about it in-person with other collectors.
If you’re looking for a debate, the #Finale events at the 2022 Nationals (Charlotte) and the 2022 Convention (LA) pitted restomod versus restomod. Both the #’69 Dodge Charger R/T and the #’69 Chevy Camaro SS got their first taste of being #Convention Vehicles. This was the first time these newer castings — both designed by Brendon Vetuskey — were seen outside of the RLC.
Honestly, when the #’69 Dodge Charger R/T appeared at the #Finale in April, I thought there was no way the LA convention finale car could beat it — at least on a personal level. I collect every variant of the ’68, ’69, and ’70 Chargers simply because I love the classic “Coke-bottle” design of the Charger from that era. On top of that, the car was released in a gorgeous, bright metalflake orange — one of my favorite colors — and is a great compliment to the Spectraflame Black and Spectraflame Purple releases from the RLC in the collection I’m building. To add even more fuel to the fire, the fact that this restomod features the classic design with an #Opening Hood revealing a Hellephant engine only adds to this casting’s legacy. Seems like this one already has it in the bag, huh?
Then, two weeks ago I’m in LA. The usual suspects got a hold of the leak of the #Finale car that I had seen a couple weeks prior. The poor, grainy, low-resolution picture did nothing for the release, and when “the leak channels” posted it, collector excitement for the reveal was replaced by grumblings. That sentiment changed quickly Saturday night once collectors had these in hand. What didn’t come through in the initial leaked images was the fact that this #’69 Chevy Camaro SS has a rather unique paint you don’t see too often from Hot Wheels outside of ultra-premium cars — if at all. The paint is known as a “Silver Ransburg” internally at Mattel and is basically what I would consider a “dull spectraflame”, for lack of a better description. Thats the cool thing though: its hard to describe and you just have to see it in person!
Just like the #Charger from the #Finale at Nationals, the #Camaro features a black roof, #Opening Hood, and striping that is period correct to the manufacturer/model circa 1969. The Charger is still my favorite casting between the two, but does the Camaro outshine it? [pun intended]
You decide, please!
Categories: Collection Reflection