Caution! Reading more will make you want this piece… The #’57 Buick from the 2010 RLC #sELECTIONs series is often a forgotten release in Red Line Club lore. This charismatic casting from the mid-2000s was a #Larry Wood Design that — outside of this and its first release — never really saw a clean deco. And, with its last release coming in 2015 as part of the HW Road Trippin’ line, you can all-but-assume this is another #Discontinued Casting.
The circumstances surrounding the Hot Wheels ’57 Buick are truly tragic — of course I mean that strictly in a collecting stance. In 2007, its debut was met with a great collector response as the not-yet-retired Larry Wood was still reaching into his hat of Hot Wheels design magic and pulling out rabbits like this: a long, ornate #Station Wagon with an #Opening Hood. The #First Edition of the casting in orange can be seen below paired with the 2010 RLC sELECTIONs release that is capable of captivating today’s RLC crowd. The sELECTIONs release came into fruition when collectors voted it into existence by winning head-to-head battles against the #Olds 442, ’68 Dodge Dart and the ’70 Mercury Cyclone — a true high-point for the casting! Unfortunately, like other castings that possess large, flat surfaces; the #’57 Buick was relegated to a few graphic-heavy lines ( ie. Pop Culture and Themed Assortments) and the casting fell out of favor with collectors.
After the RLC sELECTIONs vote in 2010, I remember being so stoked that I would have another version of the #’57 Buick that I could pair with the lone Ultra Hots release from 2007. This was just one of those Hot Wheels castings that deserved the two-tone approach with some fat #Real Riders Deep Dish Wheels, whitewalls or not. What this casting didn’t deserve was to become a billboard before it was discontinued.
The cool thing about sELECTIONs when the idea first came about was to elevate some basic and premium level castings to the ultra-premium HWC/RLC level. This release of the #’57 Buick certainly showcases the reasoning behind that. Not that there is anything wrong with the diverse selection of RLC vehicles nowadays; it just allowed for the normal retail castings collectors found “RLC-worthy” to get their chance. Like this one!
The fact that the Hot Wheels ’57 Buick’s rear bumper and lights were cast as part of the base allowed for the RLC version to truly shine. When the chassis received the Red Line Club’s signature chrome-plated treatment, so did the back end, making for one hell of a color break that certainly appeased the #Spectraflame gods. It was one of those things that truly elevated a premium casting to ultra-premium status before the era of ultra-premium castings existed.
Only 3,455 of the RLC #sELECTIONs release were ordered making it one of the lower quantity RLC releases out there. While that quantity will make the jaws of today’s collectors drop, it was actually on par with the other HWC/RLC vehicles of the time as the world economy was struggling to emerge from the recession of 2008.
Spectraflame Ice Blue ended up beating out Aqua, Bright Orange, and Red in the voting. Rumblings of the “Blue Real Riders Club” persisted as RLC voters had a tendency to vote for blue cars with #Real Riders back then. The reality of this one was that two of the four color options were in the hue of blue, and only Real Riders (no Neo-Classic Wheels) were given as options in the Wheel Selection Round. Honestly, I think collectors got this one right as Spectraflame Ice Blue and #Real Riders Deep Dish Wheels w/ #Whitewalls both won in the final round with a 2:1 vote — nearly a landslide in RLC sELECTIONs voting.
For every magical moment the update of this casting from premium to ultra-premium presented, I would be ignoring the few shortcomings doing so also presented. These are extremely minor but in comparison to today’s RLC releases, they are worth mentioning for that ultra-particular collector — especially if you’re going to drop the $100+ this one goes for.
Since the casting selection was subject to the vote, there wasn’t time to develop a new tool. Rather, it appears the premium tool was shipped from Malaysia to Thailand for production. The RLC tools of today in China are built with a higher compression rate allowing for cleaner fits, smaller details, and smoother bodies. Some of the HWC/RLC releases from this era were produced in Thailand using premium-level toolings. They look great still, but if you get real close you can see some of the pitting in the casting. Some spectraflame colors hide it better than others, but with this one being ice blue there isn’t room to hide the dark contrast pitting presents. The internal optimist in me spins it as the “ice” effect with this color, but I know some collectors can’t stand it. Other things to point out are the lack of contrast in the interior and the lack of detail under the #Opening Hood (thanks, Darren!). These are minor things that weren’t standard at the time, but these are things modern collectors have become accustomed to.
Ultimately, the 2010 RLC #sELECTIONs release of the #’57 Buick isn’t perfect, but neither were many cars of this era. What you should appreciate is the fact that RLC voters got this one right, and the low quantity of 3,455 means you rarely see these warming the tables at your local swap meet. This grocery-getter is from a bygone era of RLC, yet, it still holds up today as one of my all-time favorite Red Line Club releases to date.