Hot Wheels Embraces the Imports for Summer
2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of the car brand that almost all of us have owned at one point or another: Hot Wheels. As car enthusiasts, most of us grew up on these $0.97 bad boys, readily available at most grocery and department stores. Many hours were spent walking the aisles as children, spending our hard-earned money on the attainable versions of our dream cars.
Despite a wide variety of models, in the past, Hot Wheels hasn’t had strong licensing for many of the popular tuner brands (Honda/BMW/Nissan) and neglected many of the exotic brands (McLaren/Lamborghini). Lucky for us, this has changed for the 50th Anniversary!
From left to right, we have the McLaren 720S, Nissan 180SX, Honda Civic EF, Scion FR-S and Honda Civic Type-R.
Hot Wheels has officially embraced the aftermarket. They're not just licensing popular tuner-friendly vehicles, but some aftermarket brands as well. This has opened up the catalog for the “real” cars that enthusiasts dream of and modify. Nothing's better than having a 1:64 version of your real car for $0.97!
For the JDM fans, Hot Wheels has unleashed a nice lineup of Honda Civics includes the old school '90s EF chassis and the latest 2017 FK8 in the fifth generation Type-R. The older vehicles are part of the “Then and Now” series of cars, while the newer models are part of the “NightBurnerz” group. There are several color variations along with different liveries available for each model. The NightBurnerz and HW Speed Graphics cars have known aftermarket brands such as Eibach and Bisimoto to grace their liveries, just like the full size real deals.
Following along with the old-school JDM theme, a recently released version of the '80s Honda City Turbo has a lot of us nostalgic for the good old days of hot hatchbacks. The full-scale version had been unavailable in the U.S., but with the 25-year import law, we’re starting to see a few of these stateside. No need to wait for the full-size version, though. You can grab one now as part of the “HW Speed Graphics” lineup.
For the Euro guys, there is the sporty compact BMW M2, accurate down to the flared fenders and five split-spoke wheels. This one in particular is quite close to the original “Long Beach Blue” launch color for the F87 chassis, as well.
The proportions and level of detail for a $0.97 toy are incredible. Kudos to the Hot Wheels design team for nailing the looks of these current generation models. The BMW M2 is part of the “Factory Fresh” series, which focuses on a more clean and OEM-looking design.
If you’re short the $330K needed for a McLaren 720S, you can get an OEM paint-matching volcano orange miniature version.
Hot Wheels launched its current lineup of McLarens with the P1 back in 2015. Two short years later, Hot Wheels released the 720S, also as part of its Factory Fresh line, just as customer cars start to hit the streets. The active aero and styling from the real car are nicely detailed and, once again, properly proportioned in the 1:64 model.
Just like modding a car, collecting car-related toys can be a never-ending cycle. Hot Wheels has made it easy for enthusiasts to get addicted with affordable prices and so many popular options available. It’s easy to amass quite the collection just by picking up one or two at a time. As they say, “A man’s most expensive hobby starts with $0.97.” Truer words were never spoken.