Hot Wheels Col­lec­tors Na­tion­als Event Cars

Die Cast X - - HOT WHEELS HIGHWAY -

Ask those who at­tend a large-scale Hot Wheels event what their fa­vorite thing about at­tend­ing is and they’ll prob­a­bly say it’s the ex­clu­sive cars that are pro­duced just for that event. Ask col­lec­tors who can’t make it to the event what they re­gret most about not be­ing able to at­tend and they’ll prob­a­bly say miss­ing out on the event cars! These event cars are pro­duced in very small quan­ti­ties, mak­ing them de­sired by col­lec­tors around the world. Pro­duc­tion runs can range from 2,500 to 5,000 pieces, and they come with rub­ber “Real Rider” tires and pre­mium paint­work.

The 18th An­nual Col­lec­tors Na­tion­als were held in Dal­las, Texas, April 4–8, 2018. It was pre­sented by Col­lec­tors Events Un­lim­ited, which, with the help of Mat­tel, pro­duced four ex­clu­sive Hot Wheels cars just for the event; at­ten­dees were al­lowed to pur­chase these cars with their paid event ticket. Ticket hold­ers were al­lowed to pur­chase up to three of each car per ticket—at an av­er­age of $30 per car. Two cars were avail­able upon reg­is­tra­tion, and the third car, the Fi­nale Car, was only avail­able to at­ten­dees of the fi­nale event. The fourth car was the Din­ner Car, which at­ten­dees re­ceived with their paid din­ner ticket. The din­ner is usu­ally in honor of a Hot Wheels de­signer, past or present, and the car pro­duced for the din­ner could be one of the de­signer’s fa­vorite de­signs or even a replica of the de­signer’s own full-size car. At the din­ner, at­ten­dees also re­ceived a spe­cial cus­tom car made by the event or­ga­niz­ers, which was lim­ited to the num­ber of at­ten­dees at the din­ner.

The gasser-style Drag Car has been a pop­u­lar cast­ing for the past few years, and it con­tin­ues to be a strong run­ner for this year’s col­lec­tors. The first of three event cars is the Larry Wood–de­signed ’66 Su­per

Nova “Cop­per­head.” The car is painted in Spec­traflame cop­per with a snake­skin etched on the roof. Ev­ery­one, es­pe­cially the

Hot Wheels de­sign­ers, was ex­cited about this new process— it looks amaz­ing! The Nova looks race-ready, with its big chrome Su­per­charger stick­ing up out of the finely de­tailed en­gine com­part­ment. The grille and head­lights are also de­tailed with the tra­di­tional gasser fuel tank bolted to the top of the bumper. The front and rear bumpers are part of the highly pol­ished chas­sis, mak­ing them look chrome. The rear is finely de­tailed as well, right down to its lit­tle black para­chute. The sparse 1-seat black race in­te­rior looks right at home in this Nova gasser, and it in­cludes a gray full roll cage (well, for half of them any­way.). It seems that half of the No­vas were pro­duced with a roll cage, and the other half didn’t get them. Ev­ery now and then, vari­a­tions oc­cur even in these short-run cars, and the Su­per Nova had one, mak­ing it an even shorter pro­duc­tion. Five thou­sand of these Gasser Nova cast­ings were pro­duced for this event, and each is num­bered on the back of the card within a holo­gram sticker. It looks that the first 2,500 or so were as­sem­bled with­out the roll cage, and the cars num­bered af­ter 2,500 have the roll cage—which ac­tu­ally makes these cars ef­fec­tively two smaller pro­duc­tion runs of 2,500 for each vari­a­tion! It didn’t take long for col­lec­tors to no­tice the vari­a­tion. Within min­utes, it was the talk of the Na­tion­als, and within an hour of the first ones go­ing on sale, they were sell­ing on the sec­ondary mar­ket as a pair for a good sum of money.

The sec­ond event car is a beau­ti­ful low­ered ’83 Chevy Sil­ver­ado, also with a pro­duc­tion of 5,000 pieces. Done in tra­di­tional two-tone paint­work, the Square Body pickup is done in bright red enamel with a tan belt­line in­lay. The rear bed is cut open to see the notched frame and air tank for the sus­pen­sion, which rides on wide chrome Rocket Rac­ing wheels and Real Rider tires. The at­ten­tion to de­tail is spot-on, from the black pin­strip­ing on the hood and the “Sil­ver­ado” em­blem on the front fender to the Texas li­cense plate and event de­tails on the tail­gate,

which make this truck wanted by col­lec­tors ev­ery­where.

The third event car, the Fi­nale Car, is al­ways a sur­prise cast­ing. At­ten­dees are not told what cast­ing will be used un­til it’s pre­sented at the Fi­nale event. As noted ear­lier, the gasser theme has been a big hit with col­lec­tors, so why not bring out the Bren­don Ve­tuskey–de­signed ’55 Chevy Gasser to go with the ’66 Nova? Any­time that Chevy is re­leased, it’s a huge suc­cess and highly de­sir­able, es­pe­cially when the pro­duc­tion is lim­ited to

2,500 pieces. The paint­work for the ’55 Chevy is done in Spec­traflame pearl gold with a black roof. The en­gine com­part­ment is also painted black, with much at­ten­tion to de­tail even on the brake mas­ter cylin­der and ra­di­a­tor. The en­gine is chrome, along with its big Su­per­charger in­jec­tion sys­tem and tra­di­tional fend­er­well head­ers. Hot Wheels graphic de­sign guru Steve Van­der­vate did the graph­ics on all these cars, and the spon­sor­ship de­cals on the ’55 are noth­ing less than per­fect: a large Hot Wheels “50th An­niver­sary” logo on the door, “327 Chevy” on the front fender, and “Han­dler’s Garage” on the rear quar­ter panel. The trunk has the event de­tails on it, along with a vin­tage Cal­i­for­nia li­cense plate that reads “Fi­nale” to fin­ish it off. To say this car was a huge hit would be an un­der­state­ment; it was in great de­mand be­fore the Fi­nale was even over.

The fourth car of the set, the Din­ner Car, was in honor of Hot Wheels de­signer Phil Riehlman’s 25th an­niver­sary with Mat­tel. Phil has de­signed many cast­ings dur­ing his ten­ure with Hot Wheels, in­clud­ing the Volk­swa­gen Drag Bus and the PR5 wheel de­sign. Phil is a lover of ev­ery­thing Volk­swa­gen and en­joys off-road­ing as well, so why not have a Hot Wheels cast­ing re­flect­ing both in­ter­ests? For his Din­ner Car, Phil de­signed an Off-Road Volk­swa­gen T1 Rock­ster pickup truck. Painted in two-tone yel­lowand-white enamel, it has black brush guards and fender flares to ac­com­mo­date the enor­mous knobby Real Rider tires. This mini mon­ster looks as if it could climb over any­thing. The de­tail on the T1 is just as good as the other three event cars, with its front lights, VW nose em­blem, and bumper winch. As with all the other cars, the event de­tails are on the tail­gate along with de­tailed tail­lights and a “PHILTHY” Cal­i­for­nia li­cense plate.

All four of these event cars can be found on the sec­ondary mar­ket for much more than their orig­i­nal price tag, re­in­forc­ing my open­ing state­ment re­gard­ing the rea­son col­lec­tors re­gret not at­tend­ing the event.

An ex­clu­sive col­lec­tor pin was also given out at the din­ner.

Larry Wood’s “Cop­per­head” ’66 Su­per Nova was the first of three event cars. Half of them came with roll cages and half with­out, cre­at­ing quite a sen­sa­tion at the Nats! 53

The slammed ’83 Sil­ver­ado with its two-tone paint and Real Rider tires was a big hit.

Left and be­low: Phil Riehlman’s Volk­swa­gen T1 Rock­ster was the car given out at the din­ner event to cel­e­brate his 25 years at Hot Wheels.

Above and right: The sur­prise Fi­nale car was an­other Gasser: the ev­er­pop­u­lar ’55 Chevy Bel Air, de­signed by Bren­don Ve­tuskey.

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