While the 'Neo-Classics' wheel is fast losing favor among collectors, Mattel continues to use its original-redline clone wheels on a handful of cars released annually through their HWC website. The Neo-Classics Series once featured 6 cars a year, but has since been whittled down to 4 cars and features more and more vehicles that don't really fit with the original Redline vibe. However, over the years HWC released 5 Olds 442 service cars that are perfectly suited to the Neo-Classics Series.
Between 2007 and 2015, Hot Wheels released 5 different Olds 442's that mirrored Original Redline versions of the casting: The 'State Police', 'Chief's Special', 'Mattel Security', 'Military Staff Car' and 'Maxi Taxi'. Excepting the Security Car, the other 4 Neo Classics releases of the 442 are strikingly similar to specific Original Redline releases. Together in Neo-Classics form, these 5 Olds 442's cue the nostalgia and make for a great looking set.
Aside from good looks, these 5 Olds 442's show the direction the Redline Club has taken over the years. The first 442 release was the Series 6 Police Cruiser. It got the full works treatment: painted headlights and taillights, opening hood, working suspension and hand-polished Spectraflame. The Series 7 Chief's Special got the same treatment. The Series 8 Security Car was a definite disappointment. The hood was sealed and there were no front or rear details. Series 10 brought the Military Staff Car. It's perhaps the most beautiful release in the set. Mattel went back to the opening hood and painted taillights for this one, but the headlights and license plate remained un-tampo'd.
After Series 10 many collectors gave up on ever seeing the 'Maxi Taxi' 442 reproduced in the Neo Classics set. Many collectors over on the Red Line Club forums voiced their desire to see the taxi reproduced and it was the next and final logical car to join the Neo Classics 442 lineup. Finally, in Series 13 the 'Maxi Taxi' was made. The sealed hood was back, the hand polished Spectraflame replaced with a cheaper finish and there were no front/rear details save for taillights. But, we got our Maxi Taxi, and together, these 5 Olds 442 re-makes are a fantastic and aesthetically pleasing set in their own right! Enjoy...