- Written by webmin
photo courtesy 1stopdiecast.com
Hot Wheels’ Garage series, now in its third year, has finally figured out this whole premium-diecast thing: $3 price point, metal body and chassis, soft tires, and attractive cars done to a high level of detail. (In other words, they discovered Johnny Lightning’s old niche, a decade on.)
Now that they’ve got a grip on that magic-yet-strangely-overlooked piece of the market, they’re not letting go. Recall that in 2009 it started as Larry’s Garage, all cars selected by the longtime, now-retired Hot Wheels designer, Larry Wood. For 2010, responsibility for the decorations was split three ways: between Wood, Phil Riehlman and Wayne Scott. And for 2011, the cars are running without attribution, called simply “Hot Wheels Garage” and eschewing any of the traditional Hot Wheels Blue on the card. Cars will be split into marque-related garages: GM, Ford, Mopar, VW, and Ferrari.
Pluses? Eight new castings (including a ’70s Dodge Power Wagon, a ’67 Olds 442, a ’65 Mercury Comet Cyclone, a ’63 Plymouth Belvedere 426, a ’69 Dodge Super Bee, and more). Metal body and chassis, including on a bunch of cars that had never had them before. All on Real Rider tires. And a total of 70 castings in the series, total – with only 20 re-colors, making a ton of these machines one-and-dones; no waiting around for the second color.
A peek at the back of the Ford card shows that there will be a fine variety of ’50s, ’60s and ’70s Fords and Mercurys – 20 in all. Hoary old tools like the ’65 Mustang ‘invertible and Shelby Cobra tools were expected, frankly. But some little-seen Ford tools come in for the quality treatment as well. The ’64 Falcon Sprint hasn’t been seen since the Since ’68 series three years ago. The ’70 Ford Torino has only been available as a Wal-Mart Exclusive series of Classics, or as a bonus car in a 10-pack. The ’72 Ranchero has either been in the defunct Classics series or in the Delivery series, where it was festooned with some of El Segundo’s ugliest wheels ever. And there are the new tools, as well: besides the ’65 Mercury Comet, there’s also a ’56 Ford listed that we don’t recall – unless it’s a retooled version of the old 100 percent stock-car casting, in which case, it would still qualify as a new tool in our eyes. Other mainline castings have never looked this good before: The black ’66 Fairlane, in particular, benefits from the high-end treatment, with correct stripes, lettering, badging and tail panel tampo work. Some custom-type paint work will be drizzled in through the line, but lots of these look fairly factory – which is cool by us. And the new Shelby Cobra-look wheel that they’re using in the line, whether the centers are done in color or not, just look tough.
The local big-box emporium may carry these, but to get everything you want (plus maybe enough extra to trade with friends?) we recommend buying from a dealer, like www.1stopdiecast.com.