Sunday, 5 June 2016

Ford Transit Supervan Joins the Ranks of Hot Wheels Coolest Van Castings...

Hot Wheels '60's vans like the '66 Dodge A100 and Chevy Greenbrier Wagon are mad cool. The Ford Transit Supervan debuted in 1971, but it's just as cool as its '60s counterparts. Given the Ford badging, one would think this is an all American classic, but in reality it's more of a product of British auto heritage. The 1:1 scale version made its first appearance at the iconic British speedway Brands Hatch in Kent. A van that can handle what racing driver Gerhard Berger called the 'greatest circuit in the world' is a special kind of van indeed.

Basically, Ford UK took a Ford Transit van and slapped it on a GT40 chassis with a mid-engined V8. The result was nothing less than amazing. You can check out the real thing in the Ford Heritage collection here.

Fast forward from 1971 to 2015, and Hot Wheels gave us a near perfectly scaled replica in the Heritage line. This was one of the rare times Hot Wheels perfectly nailed a release. The deco was accurate to the 1:1 version, right down to the paint colors and graphics. The Ford Transit Supervan was easily one of the biggest hits of the Heritage line. If the photos don't sell you on it, I don't know what will.

The second release of the van left a little to be desired, but I'm happy it isn't a one-and-done casting from Mattel. Collectors have complained about the Star Trek faces that have decorated 2 pop culture mixes now. The first time around I thought Star Trek was going to kill the Pop Culture series. In fact it did at many Canadian Wal Marts which have refused to carry the line since. The second round of Star Trek releases was helped by the casting choices and that the faces were a little less obnoxious. I still only bought the Supervan from the mix, and at least it's a woman's face and not some greasy dude decorating the sides.

I digress. There are some obvious changes from the 2015 Heritage release to the 2016 Pop Culture release. First, the Heritage was Malaysian made while the Pop Culture release was made in Thailand. The Star Trek version has fatter tires, bigger rims and a taller ride height. Obviously the Heritage release is more aesthetically pleasing, but the Pop Culture version has more of a stock ride height. Maybe Hot Wheels should change the casting name to The '71 Ford Transit Van and drop the 'Supervan' moniker when it releases taller, more stock versions. Either way this release is a winner from designer Brendan Vestusky!


Happy Collecting!

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