In the oft-quoted words of modern American poets Cinderella, “Don’t know you got (’till it’s gone).”
And oh is that the case with Hot Wheels Ferraris. So many collectors are sadly sitting over their collections, lamenting that they didn’t appreciate the little red sports cars until it was too late. Then they feel that urge to put on their best white spandex, enlarge their hair as much as possible, and go play guitar in the desert.
(Tangent: I sure do miss hair bands filming videos in National Parks. You didn’t even have to visit the National Parks. The hair bands did it for you. Just flip on MTV and boom, instant National Park tour. The Scorpions gave us a full tour of the Land of the Morning Star in just one song! Then Creed ruined it. Back to topic.)
I miss the Hot Wheels Ferraris. When Mattel had the license, each year you could count on at least one new Ferrari casting, a Ferrari 5-pack, and a slew of Italian Stallions scattered all over the various Hot Wheels lines. We took it for granted people. And now they are gone, and some of us are scrambling to find those that we missed.
If you want them all, it is an impossible task. I remember meeting a collector at Hot Wheels Nationals that focused solely on Ferraris, and he was carrying around a binder that listed all he had that resembled the budgets of some countries. It was super thick.
But since we can’t focus on any new Ferraris, there are some that are totally worth pursuing. Some are getting harder and harder to come by, others are fairly easy. But all that I am going to show are, in my opinion, must-haves.
Since I have already dubbed 2006 to 2011 the Last Golden Age of Matchbox (although it is looking more and more like the work “Last” has to be removed), I don’t think I can dub the same time period as the Last Golden Age of Hot Wheels Ferraris, but it deserves it. Surely we got some nice Ferrari castings like the FF the last few years, but during that time collectors were bathing in a plethora of Ferrari gold, most notably the Ferrari Racer series.
So over the next few weeks, I will be showcasing the Ferraris that I feel are must-haves. This is by no means a comprehensive list. I have been very selective in my Ferrari collecting. Many of the models I will feature aren’t complete, meaning I only have some of the examples issued. And if you go older, into the 90’s and 80’s, I have none. But there are so many you can collect however you want. Just look all the listings on eBay…
And to start this series, it seems that the Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole was a good choice. Not only because it is one of the best-looking Ferraris ever made, but because I can’t think of a better Ferrari casting by Hot Wheels.
The 308 is iconic for many reasons. It was a dream car for many of us growing up, it was Magnum’s car, and yes, Christy Brinkley. That flat nose, the targa top (GTS only), and that dramatic side intake. Just awesome.
Hot Wheels has done a few of 308 replicas. The hard-top GTB, of which I own a total of zero, a very rough Corgi replica from 1995, and this one, the GTS Quattrovalvole. The GTB was nice, but the GTS is, like I said earlier, one of the best Ferraris Hot Wheels has ever done. Every detail is there, including the all-important stance.
The GTS debuted in the rapidly-becoming-legendary Ferrari Racer line. I wasn’t paying too much attention back then, but from what I know, this series was a Toys R Us exclusive in the US, as well as a “rest of world” line elsewhere. Meaning there were some exclusive to TRU, but other models could only be acquired in overseas markets. Trying to determine which is which is hard, especially since every Ferrari Racer I have acquired has come from eBay or other secondary stores.
We are Real Rider obsessed these days, but what made the Ferrari Racers great was the use of Comold wheels. There is something about the Comolds that looks great on Ferraris, as well as sportscars in general, as was proven in the Speed Machines line. As great as the Real Riders look on later versions of the GTS, the two Racer versions are my favorite.
After that, the 308 GTS made its way to the basic range, but only once. It debuted in blue and then was recolored red. The blue debut surprised a few people, as Hot Wheels Ferraris always debut in red. They must have forgotten that this model had already been released.
Blue might have surprised, but the 308 in everyone’s minds is red. That is why, of the eight models released, only two are not red. Yes, the second Racer in more maroon, but that is essentially red. But not even counted the maroon, there are four straight-up red models. And that is how it should be.
The other two reds are the premium versions released later, one from the Garage Series, and the other from Retro Entertainment, in full Magnum PI garb. Color is essentially the same, wheels are the same, and there are only a a few small differences, like the color of the interiors. But I am happy to have both. Looking back, it is crazy that both of these premium versions tended to hang on the pegs. Cue Cinderella.
The rest we will say with photos. The model is beautiful. It is Hot Wheels perfection. It is sadly missed.
Now go out and get a couple HW 308s before it is too late, and you find yourself playing guitar in the desert…