|HW Kenmeri Skyline on ebay|
I know, calling a Hot Wheels Skyline underrated could be just bad click bait. But hell I do like it when you read this stupid blog, so why not try to draw you in? At least I didn’t use “That Skyline had no idea the camera was rolling” or “The photographer caught the Skyline at just the right moment.” Ah, click bait.
So, is the Kenmeri underrated? I might say it is, but that is only because it is one of my all-time favorite Hot Wheels castings, and I just want to see it used more often. Is there an overrated Hot Wheels Skyline? There totally is. It’s the R32 GT-R, which is in dire need of a redesign, but that is an article for another time.
Back to the Kenmeri. Why is it one of my favorites? Well, just look at it. It has two things going for it. One, it is a replica of what is to me a stunning car. Whether the stock street version or the GT-R, it has a unmistakable silhouette with its straight sloping front and more rounded rear. To me it is also the best housing of the surfline, even better than the Hakosuka. The lines move while the car stands still. There is a lot more brilliance in Japanese auto design beyond Skylines, but nothing beats the Kenmeri for me.
The second thing it has going for it? Jun Imai nailed the casting. Using the interior piece for the front and rear and encasing it with the body and chassis works so darn well. The details are all there too. And for me, it sits slightly low, but not too low. The casting can pass as a modified or stock GT-R.
Then there is that fabulous debut. Back in 2011 Jun dropped two nostalgic Skylines on us – the C10 Hakosuka and C110 Kenmeri. To me, these two models kicked open the door for the JDM craze, and the 510 Wagon stamped it a couple of years later. The Hako got a classic racing livery, and the Kenmeri went gloriously plain white. Here is where the #lamleyhype kicks in. There has never been a more perfect debut for a model. Plain white, VUM (chrome) chassis, detailing on the iconic tail lights, and the Skyline logo on the rear panel. And then a perfect Hot Wheels touch with the gold MC5 wheels. Got to have a touch of flair. It’s perfect. I already said the C110 was one of my favorite Hot Wheels castings, but I will go further and say the First Edition is one of my favorite individual Hot Wheels releases.
We have seen it five times since its debut. Twice in the basic range, three times in premium. That sounds good, especially since it debuted in 2011. It also sounds good that it has been in premium ranges three times.
But look closer. Both mainline releases are awesome. The debut and the Tokyo Motor Show homage a couple of years later. The premium releases leave a little to be desired. It was part of the now legendary Japan Historics line, so it has that going for it. And while the police design at first was a little disappointing – the lower half needed to be all black – it has grown on me. Quite a bit in fact.
But the other two. One in the Flying Customs line and the other in Heritage Redlines. I am not one to get too excited about the vintage Hot Wheels wheels and decos. They are just a little bland. In the whole scheme of things, as we pile up more versions, it won’t bother me. But let’s get to piling.
I really hope we see this model a little more. Maybe a return to the mainline. Or Car Culture. Or RLC. Wherever. The possibilities for Jun’s gem are endless. How about sitting on those little 4-spokes the Fiat 500 sports? Or a straight up Tokyo Motor Show version for the RLC (with that one-seat interior)? I have plenty of ideas. Mattel, shoot me a text and I will pass them on.