While it's tough to pick a favorite Hot Wheels designer, these days Brendon Vetuskey is at the top of my list. Between 2011 and 2013, Brendon designed a handful of '70's and '80's off-roaders for the Garage and Boulevard lines. Just a few years later, castings like the '70 Chevy Blazer, '67 Ford Bronco, '80's Dodge Macho Power Wagon and today's '88 Jeep Wagoneer are now legends.
The Hot Wheels '88 Jeep Wagoneer has been used a paltry 3 times. It debuted in the final mix of the 2013 Hot Wheels Boulevard series and returned in 2014 as a Star-Trek emblazoned Pop Culture release. Towards the end of 2014 it was featured as a US-only mail-in promo car. It's hard to believe that such a well executed casting hasn't been used in nearly 3 years. Mattel, are you listening?! Let's see this beast again.
The debut Boulevard release remains the best-looking release to-date. It features the signature wooden paneling that made the Wagoneer iconic and is otherwise cleanly decorated. Many small details are present, although the 'Jeep' logo featured on the tailgate of the other 2 Wagoneers was missing from the debut release. The Boulevard release is simple, clean and well executed. It's a tough act to follow.
The Pop Culture Wagoneer appeared in the much maligned Star Trek mix of 2014. That Pop Culture mix lingered on pegs across North America for so long that many Walmarts failed to order the next 3 or 4 mixes of the Pop Culture lineup, causing a lot of frustration among collectors. Some Canadian Walmarts even stopped carrying the Pop Culture line altogether for a time. Despite how bad that Star Trek set was, I enjoy the Star Trek Wagoneer. Maybe the casting is just so nice that I look past the poor deco choice. I put this one in the nice casting/subpar deco category.
Finally, there's the mail-in edition of the Hot Wheels '88 Jeep Wagoneer. Hot Wheels mail-in cars require the collector to mail in 20 basic car package backings and they'll receive a free premium vehicle in return. Typically, the mail-in cars prominently feature the 'Hot Wheels' logo in the deco theme. The mail-in Wagoneer is no exception to that theme. The deco is a little busy for my tastes, but it's nicely presented and it's the most detailed of all the Wagoneer releases.
It's a shame there are only 3 releases of the '88 Jeep Wagoneer, because it's a stunning casting. I think you'll agree when you see the photos. Enjoy!