Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Real Cars - Nissan GT-R

The new Nissan GT-R is a spectacular car. Quality, performance and value are the virtues it possesses as recognized by the automotive press and the sports car enthusiast public. For a car in the $100,000 price range, it may seem that these be a minimum requirement, but considering the competition, in relative terms, this car is a stand out.
It is only fitting that a Hot Wheels model was made of this car to celebrate its release in 2009. Here, in pictures is the initial model run for both Nissan and Mattel.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Real Cars - Ferrari California

Here is another fun idea - I am digging through some of my photo collection to find pictures of the real cars along with their Hot Wheels counterparts. Today's post will be showcasing the Ferrari California. The California is one of those cars that has to be seen in the flesh to be fully appreciated. The design is so subtle and well thought out, but the essence of the car's shape rarely comes through in a photograph.

Also, I thought it would be a good opportunity to give a sneak peak of an on-going project - The Ferrari Hot Wheels collector site. It is a Hot Wheels site dedicated entirely to Ferrari models. It is a work in progress, so be sure to bookmark and return in a few months if you visit.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Not all Treasure Hunts Are Created Equal

There are Treasure Hunts and there are Treasure Hunt$! You probably know that there are a series of 12 cars released every year since 1995 which are made in limited numbers. They have some enhanced features like rubber tires and special high-detail pain treatments. Because of that they are highly sought after by the collecting community. If you are in a "competitive" area like I am, you would rarely see one in stores because they rarely make it to the shelves (insiders and shelf stockers usually get first dibs).

If you are lucky enough to get one it is a treat, but if you are particularly lucky, you might find a "SUPER T-HUNT$". I have some high resolution pics of both below, see how many differences you can spot!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

All Time Favorite List - 2005 Shelby GR-1 Concept

Awesome in chrome
 Also good, but not as awesome as chrome

At a recent car show I had the opportunity to see the actual concept car which this model was based upon. It was indeed made with a chrome finish. When this Hot Wheels model was released back in 2005 as a First Edition, it was available in chrome and gray. I made a point to scoop up a few extra chrome ones because I really like the look.

My son stands in front of the actual Shelby GR-1 Concept at the Shelby show

Saturday, July 3, 2010

All Time Favorite List - 1995 Pearl Drivers Series - Purple Passion

Back in 1995, I was just starting to collect Hot Wheels as a hobby. I knew this one was special when I first saw it. This particular car has been sitting on my shelf for years. What I like about it is the excellent custom design based on the '49 Mercury. Also, the series that this one is from had a pearescent paint theme. Each car in the 4 car series had a special paint job which was part peal, part chameleon. This one looks metalic purple with some green highlights. Although it has been released in many variations over the years,  I most appreciate the colour of this one. It is impossible to show the complex way the light dances off it but if you look closely you can see the green and white highlights.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The End Of Hot Wheels Pop Offs

There were only a handful of models made to be "Pop-offs" in Hot Wheels history. The first one I know of was the Mini Cooper from the 2000 First Editions. They are a neat idea. They do not have the standard rivets holding every component together. Instead they are clipped together and the body can be taken off of the chassis.

The Pop-offs were different, they had to be specially detailed throughout the interior because when the body is removed, everything is visible. I also liked the idea that every time they came out with a new variation, you had an increasing number of combinations of tops and bottoms to fit together.

And now, it seems Mattel has decided to remove the "Pop-off" ability of these models. I have 2 examples from this year where the clips have been replaced by standard rivets. I have to say I am surprised that this feature has been taken away; and disappointed too.

The following pictures show the 2010 Race World Earth Scion XB with clear green body (Right). Beside that is a previous variation, the 2005 First Editions X-Raycers version of the same model (Left).

Here is the previous model, popped off - pretty cool.

Something different with the green one...

Old one on the left, current one on the right... Hmm, no clip - no way to pop it off, its just a normal car now. :(

You can see the clip on the red one, missing on the newest version.

The next set of photos shows the 2010 Hot Wheels Performance Ground FX in yellow. Beside that is a previous variation of the same model.

 What it looks like under the skin

The new one (yellow) with no clip

My disappointment confirmed - no clip.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

All Time Favorite List - 1999 First Editions #18 - Turbolence

What is this one all about? To me it could be a few things. It has the stretched lines of a salt flats racer, attempting to break a land speed record. It could be a pre-war endurance racer or maybe a prototype from some past era. In reality it is a great piece to be able to conjure up those images for me. And it has a solid feel too. This is one of the increasingly rare models with die cast top and bottom. It feels heavy and rolls great. I think the colour and tampos for this First Edition model are well done too but now I'm curious... what do you think? What does this model remind you of?

Monday, May 17, 2010

All Time Favorite List - 1989 Speed Fleet - Pontiac Banshee

Now this is a perfect Hot Wheels car. Based on an actual car - a prototype built by Pontiac in 1988. It has a futuristic look, smooth and sleek. It has some familiar lines (1990's Firebird) but it is unlike anything on the road then or now. The "Ultra Hot" rims compliment the look of this model particularly well and the colour of the original release (1989) is true to the one-of-a-kind show-car.

It is amusing to think that the technology of this car was  extreme for its time, and yet conveniences like GPS and rear view cameras are commonplace today. My inner child sometimes feels like he has been transported to the future.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

New 2010 First Editions - Mazda Furai

The Mazda Furai Hot Wheels 1/64 scale model is fun to look at. It is a First edition car (#31 of 52) for the 2010 model year. The actual car this is based on is a Mazda concept car with the underpinnings of an American LeMans race car from a few years ago. Unlike the Hot Wheels car, I have never seen the real car in person, but I would like to. It seems to me that the flowing lines would be best appreciated up close. The name Furai means "the sound of wind" in Japanese.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

New 2010 First Editions - '71 Maverick Grabber

The Ford Maverick was a compact car produced in the '70's. The early years of the car coincided with the tail end of the muscle car era. Though the Maverick was not really a muscle car, there was a "Grabber" trim option available in 1971. "Grabber orange" was the name of Ford's bright orange paint. The graphics, spoiler and hood were what set a "Grabber" apart from a normal Maverick. This car was ahead of its time in many ways when you think about the phenomenon of custom graphics and tacking some aftermarket hood and spoiler onto a compact car to make it look more like a bigger faster sports car. Like any good Hot Wheels car, this one is a celebration of small things trying to be bigger faster things and imparting some of that 'larger-than-life' feeling to whomever holds it in their hands.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

All Time Favorite List - 2002 First Editions #25 - Lancia Stratos

Yes I am a fan of Italian Exotics of all types. The big names are more familiar: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati; but this 'Lancia' is not as well known. The Lancia Stratos was a purpose built rally car - and quite successful at that. It first appeared in the 1972-73 race season and won a number of championships throughout the '70's. I had always admired the originality of the design. It was wild and different, styled by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. That might not mean much to some people, but others will recognize the name of the man responsible for the styling of some of the most beautiful cars on the road. A short list of his other works include the Alfa Romeo Montreal, Lamborghini Miura, Countach and Diablo.

So as is usually the case, a beautiful road car makes for a beautiful 1/64 scale replica, but there are other things to consider with the Hot Wheels version. The colour of this one is a very nice shade of red, characteristic of the "Italian passion" for the automobile. The details are well represented, pop-up headlights, hood vents, fender flares and all.

I truly appreciate the aesthetics of this car and I would have a place in my dream garage for this piece of automotive history. Having a Lancia Stratos in my pocket is a good compromise.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

2010 Hot Wheels Poster

Click the picture below for a huge .jpg of the 2010 Hot wheels lineup poster. For all of the collectors out there, this is a great guide for what to expect for the rest of the year. It is a fun look at the entire 2010 main line of Hot Wheels cars. Each series is listed and most of the cars are shown in their final form, or if that was not available at the time of the posters creation, a rendering is used for some of the first editions. Enjoy:

Friday, April 2, 2010

New 2010 First Editions - April 2010

It has been a few weeks with nothing new on the pegs but now its a flood of awesome cars. I am saving a few choice models to show here later. Those are the ones that deserve their own post. Until then check out these:
Cadillac CTS-V

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

All Time Favorite List - 1998 First Editions #6 - Jaguar D-type

Another favorite from the collection: a classic racing Jaguar D-type from the 1998 model year. This one is based on the legendary Le Mans race car produced in the mid 50's. This Hot Wheels model is a fantastic scale recreation. The detail is great, but not over-done (I like the molded gray side exhaust). The car feels heavy in the hand due to the die-cast metal on top and bottom. The seam is higher up than typical models which adds to the unique look of the race-car. Dark blue metal flake paint is striking and compliments the elegant shape of the car.The tampos are true to the period and very evocative of 50's era racing with the large numbers and front stripes. Trivia fact: the #4 Jaguar D-type was not the winner of the 1957 Le Mans, but came in 6th position. The #3 D-type was the overall winner that year.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

All Time Favorite List - 1993 Collector # 238 - Zender Fact 4

I have begun to dig in to the earlier pieces of my collection and pick out some of the cars I find particularly awesome. What you are looking at is the 1993 Zender Fact 4. An actual supercar produced in Germany in the late 80's as a concept car. the proportions of the car are not the best match to the real version, but still I appreciate the distinct style, reminiscent of the Lamborghini Countach. What grabs my attention with this one are the understated tampos, the UH rims and the blue metal flake paint. I have tried to photograph it in such a way as to show it off but my camera skills are not the greatest so the image does not do it justice. It is a beautiful shade of blue, offset with the dark tinted glass bits. Now that I am looking at it again I have to say it is the coloring  that makes this one so striking to me.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

2010 First Editions #5 0f 52 - Scorcher

This latest first edition has a definite import tuner feel to it. I'm not sure if it is based on a real car but the front does remind me of some Peugeot designs. I doubt a real car would have such a low roofline, exposed carbon fiber engine cover with windows and a roof scoop. Its a nice casting, it looks fast when its standing still.