Here is the Best of what Hot Wheels gave us in 2016…

A couple of days ago I posted your choices and mine for the 2016 Lamley Awards.  There was one I omitted – Hot Wheels Model of the Year.

It is a little different than the other polls.  I consulted with a few other collectors and came up with a list of the 15 Hot Wheels models from all lines (Convention Models and other super low production models excluded) that seemed to be the most significant among collectors.

You voted, and the winners are below, and I added my choices as well.

2016 Hot Wheels Model of the Year:


1. Japan Historics Mazda RX-3
2. Forza Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA
3. Mainline & Forza ’17 Ford GT


1. Car Culture Japan Historics
2. Mainline Batmobile (Basic, Zamac, & Super)
3. Forza Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA

So how does the Mazda RX-3 win Model of the Year and not Best New Model?  No idea, ask the readers.  It could have a little to do with the RX-3 being the new casting in the Japan Historics assortment, which was CLEARLY the most popular Hot Wheels release among collectors this year.  The Alfa Romeo following it makes sense, as it was beautifully executed.  And once again the Ford GT shows up, being one of the most talked about new models, especially since it debuted as a Super Treasure Hunt.

Of course, my choices are a little different, and I didn’t give readers a chance to vote for the Japan Historics in general.  But when I think about the most significant element of collecting this year, there is no doubt it is the Japan Historics.

It is significant for so many reasons, but most notably because it marked the debut of what is easily the most collector-friendly line Hot Wheels has done in a long time.  It speaks to today’s collector, and is also a place for the Hot Wheels Design Team to show off and go in frankly any direction they want.  Car Culture is a great name for the line, as it represents what the car world is all about, and having a separate theme for each assortment means the line can go in all kinds of directions.

Plus, the assortments are small, as is the number of assortments, which means pegs won’t get super clogged.  If you don’t like one assortment, there is a good chance you will like the next.  I have throughly enjoyed collecting Car Culture, and I plan to keep every release until the line in finished (which is hopefully not soon).

But no matter what the theme of each release moving forward, nothing will ever top its debut, the Japan Historics.  Four historically popular models, plus a perfectly chosen fifth to debut with the line.   There was no easing in to Car Culture, or saving the best for last.  It started with the most popular, and got the folks hooked.  I have to guess there are many of you, like me, who after purchasing the Japan Historics, committed yourself to Car Culture no matter what the theme of each release.

Of course the JH also marked the debut of Julian Koiles’ Car Culture card art, which I think was the coolest thing about Hot Wheels last year, but we have already covered that.

Obviously it wasn’t just the Historics that made 2016 such a good year for Hot Wheels.  Designers Mark Jones and Steve Vandervate gave us so much good stuff this year.  Mark designed the new castings in Car Culture, as well as the Alfa in Forza and Nissan Vision in Gran Turismo.  Oh, and he designed the 2017 Ford GT as well.  Steve?  Think of all the decos on Car Culture, Entertainment, and RLC, among other premium and convention releases.  So much good stuff.

All that work culminates on the Alfa, which follows last year’s Ford Supervan (also designed by Mark Jones) as my 2016 Hot Wheels Model of the Year.  It came down to the Alfa and the BMW 3.0 CSL, but the Alfa prevailed.  I doubt that Forza debut can be topped, but I hope they try.  (Car Culture?)

Now look at at my list of three again.  The Alfa is my Model of the Year, but it is number three on my list.  Number two?  Something I would have never thought would make one of my Best of lists.  It’s a freakin’ Batmobile!

I honestly could care less about the Bat cars, and that has probably been made pretty clear throughout my time doing this blog.  Entertainment cars that aren’t cased on actual cars really don’t do anything for me.  There is no doubt that TV Series Batmobile is a significantly cool and well-done model, but I have never been that interested in it.

When it debuted in 2010 I believe, it was a HUGE deal.  It may have been the first of the “hoard” models, meaning those that collectors love having multiples of.  It has since been in the RLC, been a Convention model, and shown up in all kinds of places.  It has also returned to the basic range since its debut, with varying differences.  One year it was a Faster Than Ever model, for example.  But the changes were for changes sake.

The same could be said for the 2016 Basic release.  The model is black, it has the red trim and classic Batman logo, but look close.  There be ghost flames in there!  Doing the model in flat black with gloss black flames was a brilliant idea, but then Hot Wheels took it to two higher levels.

First as a Super TH.  The TV Bat had never been a Super, but it obviously deserved to be.  What a perfect year to do it too.  The black moved to a more spectrflame blackish color, the Real Riders were awesome, and those ghost flames appeared again, only gray.

But the culmination of the ghost flame Batmobile is the Zamac.  If the Alfa is the Best Model released this year, the ghost flame Zamac is BY FAR the coolest.  Unpainted with ghost flames.  It seriously can’t be better, and I am so glad Hot Wheels decided to do a Zamac on this release.

I love the Zamacs.  I hope Hot Wheels and Walmart never stop doing them.  The variety is there, and the look is so unique.  The Batmobile, at least for me, as someone who doesn’t care that much about the casting, the best Zamac Hot Wheels has ever done.  There is no getting around how exciting the model is.  Even a high-up at Hot Wheels I happened to be talking to at one point mentioned the ghost flame Zamac as his favorite model of the year.

So there are my three – call it four with Julian’s art – “Best things about Hot Wheels” in 2016.  The Japan Historics and Car Culture, the brilliant execution of the ghost flame Bat, and the Forza Alfa Romeo.  There was a lot more good stuff, but these top the list.

On to 2017…

12 Replies to “Here is the Best of what Hot Wheels gave us in 2016…”

  1. Last time I'll talk about these two, so just bear with me for a while…

    To me, it's the modern race cars that I can give a special Most Improved medal to. The retooled C7.R,$ Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo and Renault Sport RS01 epitomized that sharp move up from '15. A one-dollar car has but a few rights to look and feel premium, and yet when this site put the HW casting of the Huracan side by side with the Kyosho version, I did a double spit-take. THEY NAILED IT. I knew they can. Next to no compromises. Picture-perfect accuracy. Had it released in a premium line it would have been a unanimoys vote, but even as a mainline, that Lambo and that Renault deserve more applause.

    Pour one out for both of them, and pour one out for the Hot Wheels Design team for such a fantastic 2016 in little toy cars.

    This makes me get more excited for the next batches in 2017.

  2. #1. It's, I couldn't care less, not I could care less.
    #2. The TV series Batmobile is based on a real car, the Lincoln Futura. I suggest you fact check before making a post like this.

  3. Hey.. the Lincoln Futura was released in the Boulevard series…
    But anyway folks.. on a more serious note.. I THINK the Batmobile is awesome! I think the Super Treasure Hunt Batmobile is an insanely great idea.. I never would have thought about it before, but it makes sense when you think about it. The ghost flames add another layer of mystique to enhance it's appeal!

    I can't wait to find the ZAMAC version and it seems to be like a Super in all it's premium yummy-ness! John is pretty much on par with his assessment about the whole concept describes about the again popular Bat ride. Did you check out how many bills the Super is going for on E-bilk?

    Makes me wonder if HW's has another idea up it's sleeve for another fresh execution for the classic Batmobile in the future!!!

  4. #1: thanks professor d-bag.

    #2: perhaps it's you who needs to “fact check”, as the tv batmobile is the lincoln futura, it's not based on it. the actual concept car, of which there was only one ever made, was customized into the batmobile for the show.

    in the future, if you're going to attempt to troll a blog about cars, actually know something about cars. thanks.

  5. The Batmobile is and was always a great car. The fact that it took so long for Mattel and HWs to put it out confuses the hell out of me!

    I mean come on
    1. it is iconic
    2. It's one of the badest cars ever
    3. Most importantly is the fact that there are more Batman fans, collectors then there are HWs collectors.

    So the fact that this is the best that HWs gave us this year is no surprise to me. The BMW is well done but the RX-3 is so on point. I mean I'm not a JDM enthusiast by no means but this was a cast I had to track down. The Japan Historics had to be the best over all as a whole. The Ford GT is great as is the Lambo. To be perfectly honest any licensed car that HWs dose is usually greatas are MBXs. The problems is and I think many will agree. They don't make enough of them. There are so many cars that haven't been done and they choose to put out some serious garbage.

    We could have a complete FE series that could be the best of the year. Proof is in the Japan Historics. That series was the most sought after series that I could remember. The RX-3 is still one of the most sought after casts.

    P.S. Mattel wake up! If you want to make castings for children fine but if you want to improve your bottom line make a line for collectors. Premium lines are good but we like to walk into the store down aisle and look through the pegs without having a bunch of junk falling all over the place. I mean did the first comode cast sell? Why in the hell is there another?

    I could name disaster after disaster but it is useless. I just keep asking why. Why do they keep repeating mistakes.

    We the collectors need to voice their distaste with all that is wrong with HWs so we can get what should be on the pegs. Weather your taste is Hot Rods, Muscle, JDM or Race Cars there is too much space being taken by junk to get what we want. Licsensed vehicles are what I think 95% of collectors want. So speak up everywhere, they will listen!

  6. The Japan Historics were a huge disappointment for me, because as far as I'm concerned they don't exist. They never hit the pegs anywhere in northern Virginia. None of the stores even had an empty peg for them. I found every car from every other Car Cutlure assortment, though.

    And no, I will not go to eBay for them. I'm not giving money to the scalpers that apparently raided the cases before they ever left the stockroom.

  7. Garland, I feel your pain about going to eBay to pay for cars that just can't be found on local pegs. It's a fact that not all stores will get all assortments/series. But!! You really shouldn't ignore eBay just because scalpers sell there. I buy boxes of cars all the time at or below retail cost. It's just a matter of finding the right sellers. And keep an eye on the blog for heads up on cases that might be in high demand going on sale early.

    I can't remember the whole seller, but I bought two boxes (20 cars making four sets) of Japan Historics for retail price. I think I paid $10 or $12 for shipping but I think that's an easy trade to bypass the madness of hunting in the stores.

    I've almost always been able to get great deals on eBay when buying the whole set instead of singles.

  8. yeah.. there are some listings of sets that are selling for a reasonable price. Not all sellers are scalpers and if you have the time, check back often throughout the day to see something you might like with a really good buy it now price.
    If I really wanted a car or two and if it wasn't available (I feel your pain because here in MD, I won't get choice offerings like certain HW's Retro or Greenlight releases), I go on Ebay to buy and it actually gets a little addicting… if I want it and don't have the patience to wait, I'll spend a couple bucks more instead of waiting a few days longer, but I'll hunt and peck t get a good deal.
    Sometimes even if they don't have a “Make Offer” available, i'll write to ask if they'd like to consider a lower price either on the product or shipping charges. Doesn't hurt to ask.. business is business!

  9. Garland I hear you when it comes to ebay but the others are right. You can find what your looking for at a decent price sometimes. I found the ones I wanted at a flea market. The guy had cases of them. There was a slight bump in price but as you said they were nowhere to be found in retail stores. That was the whole point to my rant. It's hard to find what your looking for and they(Mattel) tend to be selling the bulk of the stuff we want to secondary markets. All the while their putting junk in retail shops. I've talked with managers at both Walmart and Target. They are getting stuck with a lot of stuff that just don't move. At one point Target considered pulling HWs from their stores but just pulled Matchbox instead. Then there are the scalpers and even some collectors that go in the retailers and are disrespectful and ignorant. There is a reason that the retailers aren't getting the good stuff or not enough of it. The secondary markets are now able via ripping off the buying public to buy larger quantities. Again this is why we need to be heard.

  10. Funny you mention about stores getting stuck with “dust collectors” that won't move. Walmart, for example, getting hoards of Retro Ghostbuster Ecto-1 vehicles… I still see some hanging around. I just went to one yesterday and saw one of those cardboard sidekick displays adorned in Star Trek theme and tons of the U.S.S Enterprise models! Why HW's? Or is it Walmart?
    Anyhow, those Star Trek units are some of the last remaining.
    I noticed too, dwindling MBX cars from Target shelves also, but you'll find plenty of the Fast & Furious models from Jada! Plenty!
    How about tons of those multi blister packs of HW's at WM? The pack with a flat piece f cardboard and 9 blisters? Plenty of those too.

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