Just last week I mentioned that I thought Hot Wheels Car Culture was well on its way to being one of the best – if not THE best – lines Hot Wheels has ever done.
Hot Wheels has figured out a perfect collector-aimed line. 5 assortments a year, with 5 models each, with each assortment highlighting a different element of automotive cultures. The number of directions each assortment can take is endless, and there will always be a something for everyone. And it appears I am not alone in thinking this is one of the best things Hot Wheels has done. Car Culture has sold much better than previous lines, and it has generated a ton of excitement among collectors.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its flaws. The most common complaint I have heard from collectors – and one I completely agree with – is the lack of front and rear tampos on many of the models. While the models do get the premium treatment in many ways – diecast chassis, Real Riders – the decos still follow what is done for basic. Two, maybe three, tampo passes. That generally means if there is side deco, there won’t be front and rear deco, and vice versa. And that is most certainly a bummer.
This Mazda RX-3 from Japan Historics is a great example:
This was a tremendous debut for the RX-3. It marked the debut of the fantastic new 4-spoke Real Riders, and it looked great in its Advan racing livery over purple. But one of the signatures of the RX-3 is the front grill and elongated tail lights. Because the RX-3 had the side tampo prints, the cool front and rear did not:
The model still looked nice, but HOW much nicer would it have been with the front and rear detailing?
So why, on a premium model, did this model not get that detailing? Cost. Mattel priced the models in a way they thought would sell ($3.99) in the US, and to do that they couldn’t apply premium deco methods like 4-sided prints or deco wraps. So we see many “incomplete” Car Culture models, like the RX-3 and Fiat 500:
So now compare the Hot Wheels Entertainment Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint:
This was easily one of the most exciting debuts last year, and it benefitted from being part of the Forza assortment in HW Entertainment, a full premium series. Two-tone paint, and deco on ALL sides, including the fantastic stripe down the front grill. And it makes me somewhat sad that the upcoming Car Culture release of the Alfa will most likely not have the front and rear detailing.
But this one looks amazing. And the Alfa sold well, even at its much higher price point of $5.50. That price allows for all the premium elements, including full tampo prints AND a bigger blister card, which allows for larger models to be used when needed. This Ford GT from Entertainment Gran Turismo is another example:
So that got me to thinking: WHAT IF Hot Wheels raised the price of Car Culture to allow for a more complete premium treatment like Hot Wheels Entertainment and Pop Culture?
Knowing Mattel does see this goofy blog occasionally, I thought I would ask, and see what you think. My guess is raising the price to something like $5.50 would mean complete decos and larger cards, bringing more model variety.
But that also means a full two dollars more, and maybe most of you are fine without the complete deco, as long as it means you buy more with the cheaper price.
I go back and forth, but I want to see what you think. So, a poll:
Would you pay more for HW Car Culture if it meant more deco and model variety?
Be sure to vote here, and leave your comments below. I think it is a valid question, and one that might spark discussion at Mattel. I want Car Culture to stick around for awhile.