Friday, 29 April 2016

I'm on a Firebird Kick: The Matchbox '71 Pontiac Firebird Formula

This is a bit of a continuation of my last post. There I discussed how the '73 Hot Wheels Pontiac Firebird was my personal choice for the 2016 model of the year. I asked you to share what yours was in the comments below, since it is such a subjective exercise. In the process of digging up my Hot Wheels photos, I stumbled on these photos of the Matchbox '71 Pontiac Firebird Formula, and it has sent me on a full on Firebird-kick.

I absolutely love 1st and early-2nd Gen Firebirds. Of course the later 2nd Generation Firebirds are the most iconic to carry the name, a la Smokey and the Bandit, which vaunted the '77 Firebird to its now revered status. But I love the styling on the early '70's Firebirds. Thankfully, Mattel has given us to stellar options from both the blue and orange brands.

I can't find much fault with either the '73 Hot Wheels Firebird or this '71 Matchbox version. If pressed to pick a favorite, I'd take the Matchbox for its added details and slightly bigger scale. But the Hot Wheels version is hardly a slouch as I pointed out in yesterday's article.

The only issue I have with this Matchbox release is that the front end seems to sit just a hair too high. It's like Matchbox was going for reverse-rake here. But everything else on this one is flawless. Door lines, handles and locks, The 'formula' styling package, trunk lines, painted taillights and dual hood scoops scream mean!

I personally love the 5-spoke wheels on it, but the most recent multipack exclusive red variation proves tri-spoke wheels work too!

I hope you enjoy the photos! I know I do because this is one of my favorite Matchbox castings of all time!!

Seeing the side-by-sides, do you prefer the Matchbox or Hot Wheels release??

Let us know in the comments below!

Until next time, Happy Hunting!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

2016 Hot Wheels Model of the Year: It's not a Porsche or a BMW...

The internet seems to have reached a consensus that the 2016 Hot Wheels Mainline $1 model of the year is either the Porsche 356A Outlaw or the 1973 BMW 3.0 CSL Race Car. I have both colors of the Porsche but haven't had the pleasure of finding the BMW CSL just yet. Both of those models are absolutely fantastic-I don't doubt that for one second. In fact I think the Porsche 356A is THE new model of the year for 2016. Collectors have been begging for this for years. I remember requests for it over on the HWC forums 3 years ago. It is one of the most iconic automobiles of all time and it took Hot Wheels almost 50 years to make it. That gets it New Model of the Year in my books.

I think it's important to separate the model of the year from the new model of the year. Last year, for me, the VW Caddy was without a doubt the best new model of the year. However, sometimes the model of the year for me ends up being something we've seen a dozen times before but Mattel nails the presentation so perfectly that the car ends up being model of the year.

For me, this 2016's model of the year so far is the '73 Pontiac Firebird. That choice might cause some of you to pause. Maybe you didn't bother buying it when it came out because we've seen it before a few times. And that's the great thing about choosing a model of the year! It's so subjective. We can each pick our favorite and that's the fun of it!

I'd love to hear what your model of the year for 2016 so far is in the Comments Below!!

Here's Mine:

Let me know what your model of the year is in the comments below :)

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Wal-Mart Exclusive Hot Wheels BMW Series is Hitting US Locations!

If you've follow any diecast fan on social media, you'll know many US Wal-Marts got bins of the 8-Car Exclusive BMW set. For some reason, Canadian Wal-Marts got the sets way back in January so I've had these photos on deck for some time now. Since most of us can now buy the set in Stores, I thought I'd post the photos here.

Mattel seems to be collaborating with Wal-Mart more frequently on these 8-Car themed sets. Some of them have been knockouts, like the Porsche Series of 2015 and the Corvette Series of 2014. Others have been very good, like this BMW Set and the recent Captain America Set. Others, have been downright dreadful. (Tom and Jerry anyone...)

Personally, I think this BMW Set represents a great trend for Mattel. Collectors have resigned themselves to the fact that the mainline is infested with 'Mickey Mouse', plastic releases that don't belong in their collections. (There are great mainlines but only 50-80 realistic releases a year out of 250) And these cartoony releases have spawned a few cult classics like the Sharkruiser and more recently, the much beloved Fangster.

But my point here is that these 8 Car sets are an outlet for collectors to get 8 realistic, clean cars at once with special card art for $1. If Mattel continues to release sets like this, they solve 2 problems. Collectors get realistic, 1 dollar cars, while the mainline still appeals to the kids who serve as its primary marketing demographic.

I still haven't said anything about the cars, because they speak for themselves. Complaints? No one likes the E-35 casting, or at least I don't, and the bike was a bit out of place. But once I cracked it open the detail on that little bike is pretty astounding. The M1 could've used different rims. But's an cool. I'm keeping the entire set in my collection.

What about you?

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Take me to Church: I'm M2's Newest Convert

The 1963 Ford Econoline Van Go is the brainchild of Church Magazine/Clothing-Line founder Coby Gewertz. The Van Go is intends to be the ultimate fusion of art and functionality and it certainly delivers on this intention. Gewertz's creation is pure beauty. There are dozens of write-ups and YouTube videos of it on the internet that you absolutely need to check out, including an incredible Speedhunters feature on it. 

To call the Van Go an amazing hot rod is an understatement. But this isn't a 1:1 scale car blog, so why are we talking about it? Well 1:64 scale diecast manufacturer, M2, teamed up with Coby and Church to translate his 1:1 scale genius into miniature. The result? One of the coolest things in diecast of the past 5 years. This is in the same league Greenlight's revolutionary Hitch and Tow line or Hot Wheels Gulf Racing releases or the return of Johnny Lightning: it's that cool.

The reason M2 has collectors abuzz with the Van Go is that they didn't simply release a Van Go replica. Rather, they released it as a 3 part set. Showing the stock Ford Econoline, the Gray work-in-progress and the final product: The Van Go. So what you say? M2 took an Econoline and painted it 3 different colors to drive sales. Wrong. They had to make/modify an entirely new casting to come up with this set. 

Comparing the white, bone-stock Econoline to the Van Go, you'll see that M2 has modified the casting to remove body lines, modify the bumpers and fit wider tires under the wheel wells. The interior is also true to the original. You can even see the true-to-the-original round, wooden seats that Coby installed in the real thing. M2's focus on detail here is just incredible. As you'll see in the photos below, they even installed wider tires on the Van-Go.

The development that went into this set tells me M2 cares about collectors, the hobby and producing unique results. This set has made me a dyed-in-the-wool M2 fan-boy. Suddenly, I can't stop buying M2 Econolines!

Happy Hunting All!