Thursday, 12 May 2016
Love it or Hate it, the Hot Wheels Custom Chevy Greenbrier Sports Wagon is Automobile History!
Lately, I've been featuring the legendary '60's Ford Econoline van on this blog in 1/64 scale and in the meantime building up a little collection of Hot Wheels '60's Dodge A100 vans. But before the dog house-engined (engine mounted between the driver and passenger seats) Dodge A100 and Ford Econoline, there was the rear-engined Chevy Corvair Greenbrier Sports Wagon. It was America's answer to the Volkswagen Type II platform. Just like the VW, Chevy offered the Greenbrier in a camper option, a standard windowed 'wagon' version, a pickup version, and a paneled, work version.
While I'd love to see a lowered, panel version to sit beside the lowered Dodge A100 from Hot Wheels, I absolutely love the Hot Wheels Greenbrier. Designed by Mark Jones, the Hot Wheels Custom Chevy Greenbrier Sports Wagon has a mouthful of a name. I'll just call it the Greenbrier. This casting generated a lot of buzz on the RLC forums when it was first sneaked, but the reaction to its debut in the Real Riders vein of the heritage line was tepid at best. Collectors complained about the huge blown engine in the back, the extreme California-style rake, tiny front wheels and the surfboards molded to the casting. While I've heard all of these complaints being made, the casting wasn't a total flop. A few of us love this casting and the rest tend to be rather indifferent towards it.
I am one of the ones who absolutely loves the Greenbrier. I have a soft spot for '60's vans and the Hot Wheels Greenbrier combines everything that is '60's vans and everything that is 'Hot Wheels' into one casting. Let's face it, Hot Wheels has never been about dead-on accuracy or replicating stock models to a tee. I'll leave it to brands like Auto World and Greenlight when I'm looking for a perfectly scaled, stock release. If I want a more traditional Hot-Rod look, I'll turn to M2 or Johnny Lightning, but the Greenbrier is everything a Hot Wheels should be!
The very features that made Mattel's spectraflame redlines famous in 1968 are rolled into this Chevy Greenbrier nearly 50 years later: California Rake, a Ridiculously Oversized Engine, Surf Boards and Redline tires. Just like Hot Wheel's rendition of the Greenbrier's German competitor, the Beach Bomb, this one's got the dual surf-boards. It's got a nasty rake and a massive engine showing through the back. I like the big engine because no one will ever forget that the Greenbrier is a rear-engined van when they see it. And the recent Nestle release even got redline tires.
So far we only have the blue Heritage version and the Pop-Culture 'Chunky' version in silver. The Greenbrier will make its 3rd appearance later in 2016 in the Peanuts pop-culture mix. Mattel can't do enough releases of this one in my book. It's 1:1 scale counterpart is true automobile history, while the 1:64 scale rendition just screams Hot Wheels!