Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Taking Us Back in Time...To 2006...

The Hot Wheels HWC Neo-Classics line has been running for nearly 15 years. The Neo Classics line aims to nostalgically evoke the original 'Redline Era' cars of 1968-74ish that made the Hot Wheels brand famous. Spectraflame paint, metal bases, working suspension and redline 'neo' wheels are the touchstones of the throwback Neo Classics series.

Hot Wheels Neo Classics is one of my favorite series to collect. I like shiny things and the neo wheels remind me of redline era cars I can't afford. Sadly, the neo classics wheel has fallen seriously out of favor with collectors. Real Riders are all the rage with collectors and I don't see that changing any time soon. I understand the Real Riders thing. Synthetic rubber tires on 1/64 scale cars are super cool and the most realistic option. Everything premium has 'em these days, whether it's Auto World, Greenlight, M2, premium Hot Wheels or premium Matchbox. But it wasn't always that way. The long-running Hot Wheels premium 'Classics' line featured plastic wheels as did the follow up 'Modern Classics' line. Convention cars and non-series HWC cars all got redline wheels as did (obviously) the Neo Classics line.

Over the years, Neo Classics wheels have faded out of favor. There's a whole new generation of collectors who are younger and didn't grow up playing with vintage redlines. Instead, they grew up with '80's Real Riders. Mattel has responded by dialing back its use of the neo wheel. Only 4 Neo Classics cars, the 3 membership cars and a handful of others will see the redline wheel used this year. It's hard to blame Mattel, when neo-shod cars fail to sell. The recent 'Spoilers' duo? Still warming the shop over at HWC. The verdict is in, and the neo is out. 

The VW Drag Bus has also fallen out of favor with collectors. That's not to say it's a disliked or unpopular casting by any means. Heck, this Drag Bus sold out, even with neo wheels. However, the Drag Bus is no longer what it once was. From it's debut in 1996 to the beginning of the Super TH era in 2007, the Volkswagen Drag Bus reigned supreme. After a decade of dominance, it's since been usurped by castings like the Bluebird 510 Wagon, Texas Drive 'Em and '55 Chevy Gasser. In with the new guard, and out with the old.

So yeah, things have changed. Like everything else in life, collector preferences change over time, and that's mostly a good thing. But today I'm going to live in the past. I'm going to enjoy the 2006 that's packed into this Neo Classic and relish the hallmarks of the good 'ole days: flames, redline wheels and Volkswagen Drag Busses. Tomorrow, it's back to no side tampos, Real Riders and Datsuns. For now, enjoy the photos!

Happy Collecting!!

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