The stellar Hot Wheels Modern Classics of 2008, and the legend of the antifreeze Silverado…

If you started collecting after 2008, here is a fun set to pursue.  It isn’t large, it only lasted one year, and it really is chock full of cool models, many of which made their debut in the line.

And with the way Hot Wheels collecting has gone the last few years, it has some relevance.  It can easily be argued that this line set the stage for lines like Boulevard, Heritage, and now Car Culture.

The line I am talking about is Modern Classics, released in 2008 and sadly cut short before it could finish.  But before it was cancelled, it made its mark, and what a mark it was.  Modern Classics marked the debut of the ’92 Mustang, ’83 Silverado, ’07 Mustang, ’80 El Camino, ’77 Pontiac Firebird, ’70 Ford Torino, ’70 Chevy Nova, ’68 Olds 442, ’67 Shelby, and ’70 Roadrunner.  That is a who’s who of signature models today.  The line also contained the Datsun 240Z, Honda Civic Si, Camaro Concept, Buick Grand National, and others.  It was loaded.

I hope to do a few features on the Modern Classics in the coming weeks and months.  There are some gems in the line, many of which I don’t have, but I will show what I can.  But it makes sense to start with what I would consider the two most significant debuts in the line, the ’83 Silverado and ’92 Mustang.

It seems like we see these models every year in one line or the other.  Premium and basic.  The square-body Silverado in particular could be called an event model.  Like the ’55 Gasser and 510 Wagon, it is an event when a new version is released.  The ’92 Mustang isn’t far behind.

But they had to start somewhere, and that was in the Modern Classics.  Hot Wheels Classics had been a very popular line for a few years at that point, but that line was exactly what it sounds like.  Classics leaned more towards nostalgia than anything else.  Modern Classics was a different take.  Jun Imai was in charge, and designed most if not all of the new tools for the line.  We are so used to Jun’s designs and approach today, but his take was very new back then.  There were vehicles from the 80’s and 90’s, some Japanese, and others from more fringe car scenes at the time.  They sported the new OH5 wheel, which was a modern, low profile take, and they kept one bit of nostalgia with the spectraflame paint.  It was definitely a fresh take for Hot Wheels, but one that maybe collectors weren’t totally ready for.

The line sadly hung on the pegs, and was cancelled before it could finish.  At the time, the ’92 Mustang and ’83 Silverado were two of the more popular models from the line, but still relatively easy to find.  As the castings got more popular later, the desire to have these originals increased, and now prices are pretty high on the secondary market.

And that is just for the two pictured.  The blue Mustang and red Silverado actually have rare counterparts, one of which could be the modern equivalent of the Pink Rear-Loading Beach Bomb.

We start with the ’92 Mustang.  Blue was the first issue, olive green the second.  But that olive green version was released right at the end of the run, and was only released in limited numbers.  I can’t remember if I ever came across one, because I was sadly one of the collectors essentially ignoring the line.

photo credit: hobbyDB

It occasionally pops up on eBay, and I would love to have one, but the price has exceeded what I want to pay.  Some others clearly don’t mind paying it.  Maybe one day.  For now, I can only enjoy the pics.

But that Mustang pales in comparison to the alternate color of the ’83 Silverado.  It has essentially become something of a legend.  An eBay find the equivalent of a once-in-a-lifetime garage or estate sale find.  I couldn’t remember all the details so I asked Hot Wheels guru doomus to write a little about it:

The Modern Classics ’83 Silverado in the yellow/antifreeze color was quite an anomaly. The cars in the series were originally planned to each have several colors. Unfortunately none received releases in more than two colors, while about a third had one color released. The Silverado was believed to only have one color released, but a fateful eBay auction and one lucky bidder obtained what is likely to be the ’83 Silverado Holy Grail: yellow-antifreeze. The auction (won by HWC member Jolmstea) contained numerous desirable premium line releases from around 2008 through 2011. Many were believed to be FEPs. All had been seen before, except that yellow-antifreeze ’83 Silverado. While an FEP had been shown in a collector magazine back in 2008, no one had seen (well, fessed up to it) one in a collector’s hand. It is the only one known to be among a collector.


There it is.  The holy grail Silverado, and judging by the popularity of the casting, maybe the holy grail Hot Wheels of any kind in the last 15 years.  Many speculate that it is the actual model in the promo photo Hot Wheels provided Lee’s Toy Review back in the day.  It could be the only antifreeze Silverado anywhere.  Only the folks at Mattel would know.
So yeah, if you are a Silverado collector, and I know many of you are, you might just want to set your sites on the Fire and Military Rods models, and not worry about this one.  And surely get the Modern Classics spectraflame red.  To me it will always be the signature Hot Wheels square-body.















5 Replies to “The stellar Hot Wheels Modern Classics of 2008, and the legend of the antifreeze Silverado…”

  1. I'm lucky to have gotten all the models I like before they skyrocketed. Could you imagine a new line with Japanese and European cars in spectraflame?

  2. Jon, you mentioned that these castings “sadly hung on the pegs”. But, I'll tell you that I never left any Silverados hanging. Snagged everyone I could find. Cut-up and customized 5 or 6 of them long before the prices ever went up. I still have 7-8 in package, hoarded these bad boys long before you knew what a Bluebird wagon was all about.

  3. I remember when Jolmstea found that Silverado! Back when HWC was actually worth visiting. It was a fascinating thread trying to find out what the heck this car was.

  4. And then Van chimed in and showed the E-Sheet for the Silverado, which confirmed the multitude of colors planned.

    Such a bummer the series was a flop at the time. I only came across the gold Torino and 80 El Camino at retail. Obtained the black Road Runner eventually. I might have another one or two but really don't recall…

  5. I was lucky enough to get all but that last Silverado I remember the conversations around it like others before stated. Super sweet!

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