Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Metal Base/Metal Body Hot Wheels a thing of the Past?

Collectors have complained for years at the diminishing number of basic Hot Wheels models Mattel offers with both a metal body and metal base. In the 80's and 90's it was rare to find a Hot Wheels car, even at a 1$ price point that didn't have a metal base and a metal body. Throughout the 2000s, Mattel released new models with either a plastic base or plastic body in order to shed costs. This was all well and fine because us collectors had those metal/metal models from the 90s that were still being re-colored throughout the 2000s. But with each passing year Mattel seems to re-tool longtime collector favorites, making metal-on-metal models nearly non-existent throughout the mainline.

A quick scan of Hot Wheels 250 basic, 1$ releases from 2014 and we noted only 5 castings had both metal bases and metal bodies. The '71 Mustang Funny Car, the Meyers Manx, Volkswagen Beetle (Herbie), Custom Volkswagen Beetle (Mooneyes) and the Morris Mini, which we review here today. A grand total of 5 models had both metal base and metal body out of the 250 basic cars Hot Wheels released last year. That amounts to a mere 2% of the mainline. 2 of the 5 models had opening features, the Funny Car and the Mini.

Out of only 5 metal/metal models used last year, yet another, the Morris Mini has been retooled with a plastic base for 2015. It has also lost its opening feature, or pop-off body.

Here at TWDR, we are more bothered by the lack of traditional metal base than the loss of the pop off features. Trying to pop the top on our 2014 Mini was a nightmare. We chipped a couple finger nails, damaged a ball point pen and bent the axles on the Mini. The loss of the pop off feature doesn't bother us.

What we will miss, however is the metal base. Sure Mattel has to cut costs, but maintaining a few solid metal base/metal body castings throughout the mainline would go miles in maintaining collectors' interest in basic 1$ Hot Wheels. It is a sad day for us as die cast collectors to see the Morris Mini lose its metal base after so many iterations with it. It just looks wrong somehow to have a plastic base on the Mini despite the fact that almost every other 1$ car does nowadays.

Morris Mini: 2014 vs. 2015

Stay Tuned!


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