I like throwing around the term “Golden Age”.
Actually, I should say rather that I like the term “Golden Age”. It is a great way to describe certain eras of our hobby. Matchbox hit a Golden Age from around 2006 to 2010, and is trying to bring in another. Hot Wheels has had several too, and I am sure there are many collectors that can cite them all.
Well, it is clear we are entering another. I could argue we are in a diecast golden age. Castings, whether the $1 kind or more premium 1:64, are so diverse, so well executed, and catering to many more people. Sure, there is cost-cutting that is more than frustrating, and yes, too much plastic on many. But there are far better tools these days, and if eliminate nostalgia as a factor, the replicas are far better.
All that aside, however, Hot Wheels is on a massive roll with its premium lines. There are not as many lines, but I am totally fine with quality of quantity. Previous premium lines like Garage and Boulevard had some definite gems, but the assortments were too bloated with stuff no one wanted.
And even recently some of the premium lines have been too “nostalgia” based, meaning the lines hearkened back to Hot Wheels of old as opposed to realistic replicas of older cars. Neo Redlines are nice, but my feeling is that most younger collectors prefer Real Riders. We are seeing that shift.
Look back at previous premium lines. Going back a few years there was the Classics, and Garage, and Boulevard, then the Hot Ones, Flying Customs, and Cool Classics. There are quite a few highly desired models in those series, but all of them came and went. Looking at them now, there were to many unlicensed castings, the lines were way too big, and too much of a nod to vintage Hot Wheels.
Of course, during that same time Retro Entertainment debuted, Pop Culture kept running, and we saw ultra premium lines like Vintage Racing come and go. And there were exceptions to what I am talking about too. Speed Machines would be wildly popular today, but only a few years ago it was a massive pegwarmer.
Nonetheless, the slow and steady shift to more real-looking replicas among Hot Wheels collectors seems to be happening. We saw what happened with 2013 Boulevard, when the castings were based on interesting real cars from several eras, and the assortments were small. The models were gobbled up. But it was a little too late, and Hot Wheels shifted to nostalgia again with Hot Ones, Flying Customs, and Cool Classics.
Based on how long those assortments sat, I can’t think they performed too well. Heritage came after, and did ok, but notice how much faster the Real Riders assortments sold than the Redlines? There are many still hanging now.
Which leads to where we are now. Hot Wheels shifted to what 2013 Boulevard was, and created Car Culture. And hopefully they aren’t looking back. The assortments are not hanging, and there are pics of these assortments all over Facebook and Instagram. Collectors love them.
And Entertainment has followed. We previewed Forza last week, and now we take a look at Gran Tursimo. I know our friends in Canada have had these awhile, and they are just hitting in the US, so it seems a good time.
I have said that I don’t play video games, so I don’t know the significance of the models as they relate to Gran Turismo. That is except for the Ford GT and Vision 2020. When the castings debuted as the Ford GT LM a few years ago, it seemed to be based on a Ford GT mockup made for Gran Turismo.
So it seemed a matter of time, and here it is, in full premium form. Seriously, you can retire the casting now. Nothing will top this one. And yes, a full feature on the GT LM casting is coming soon. What a great model it has been.
Of course the 2020 Vision Concept is a take on the Nissan GT-R, made for the game. Right? I am sure more info can be shared by you gamers. And yes, a side-by-side feature with the TLV is coming too.
Anyway, the photos are already popping on IG. Collectors are picking up entire sets of this one. That has been the case with Car Culture, and will be the case with Forza. Hot Wheels is doing it right…