Modern Classics & the new Mercedes-Benz 190E makes it official. Car Culture is Hot Wheels’ best line, ummmm, ever.

I am making a lot of people squirm with that statement above.

There is probably an army of Redline collectors with torches and briefcases full of Redlines embedded in padding heading my way right this second.  Or blue card collectors with pitchforks.  Or the “import is crap” crowd ready to make their standard illogical arguments.

Bring it all on.  Car Culture is the best thing Hot Wheels has ever done.

I know I will get some pushback on that.  It is my opinion, of course, and the point of collecting is that your own opinion is all that matters.  You collect what you like.  There is of course a school of collectors that love the retro, nostalgic stuff, whether it be the actual old Hot Wheels or the current models that pay homage.  But the growing group of collectors that I see are those that love Hot Wheels for the cross-section of the automotive world it creates, from stock cars to race cars to all kinds of elements of car culture.


Hence, the name.  Car Culture does just that.  It is one of the first lines that Hot Wheels has kept fairly loose in terms of themes.  Every assortment not only has a different theme that loosely fits under the “Car Culture” umbrella, but even the artwork for each is completely different.  It means Hot Wheels can go wherever they want with each assortment.

And this is where one of you might say “yeah, but they don’t do enough muscle with this series”, or “where are the hot rods?”.  I hope they do them.  The point is, they can!!  The only thing they are locked into with Car Culture is that each theme is different.  I can see Rally.  Or Nostalgic Race Cars.  Trans Am Racers.  Station Wagons.  Gassers.  You think of a theme, there is no reason Hot Wheels couldn’t do it under Car Culture.

And you can tell there is passion behind these.  We have seen several new Real Riders introduced in Car Culture, and more importantly a wonderfully diverse group of new castings.

And that trend continues through 2017 into 2018.  In 2017 we will see a BMW M1 Race Car and Subaru Impreza “Bugeye” WRX.  In 2018, we already know about the Nissan Laurel, Skyline C210, and Skyline C10 Wagon, with more yet to be announced.

The one complaint I hear most about Car Culture?  The lack of complete deco.  I agree, and so does Hot Wheels, so even that changes in 2018.  That removes the only real complaint I have.

So yeah, I love this line.  I hope it continues past 2018.  I hope I can fill the wall display I have dedicated to Car Culture.

So I have been of the opinion for awhile that Car Culture is the best thing Hot Wheels has done.  I didn’t need any convincing.  But the Mercedes-Benz 190E Evo II?  My goodness, it is so good I might have to fight you if you don’t share my opinion on Car Culture.  On the video, I call it “perfect”.  I mean it.  It is perfect.


One of those “quit now, because it will never be better” models.  I don’t need to type all the hyperbole I used in the video above, so I won’t.  Just know that if Car Culture doesn’t exist, we don’t see a model like this.  But here it is.

Same goes with the Porsche 964.  Last year’s Track Day release was only there to whet the appetite.  This model in black is its fulfillment.


And it goes from there.  A BMW, Honda, and Renault.  All welcome, all different, all going into the collection.


I love this line.  It is the most fun I have collecting Hot Wheels.  I am all in, and that won’t change anytime soon.  Go ahead and say I drank the kool-aid.  I most surely have, and it’s delicious.

30 Replies to “Modern Classics & the new Mercedes-Benz 190E makes it official. Car Culture is Hot Wheels’ best line, ummmm, ever.”

  1. Please do some photograph that fits for wallpaper on mobile phone. I love your photograph, but i can’t use it as a wallpaper cause it’s to wide. Hope you will make a special album for it. Thank you

  2. I like and I love the car culture car’s. Those new car culture modern classics car’s are all awesome. I will be on the hunt for all 5 of those thumbs up.

  3. You won’t get any push-back from me…Car Culture IS the best series Hot Wheels has ever done. There have been some epic premium lines before (I think maybe Speed Machines comes closest for me) but this is where it’s at. I think it comes down to consistency. Some of my most cherished models come from lines like the Garage series and Boulevard, but those series were so hit or miss when viewed as a whole that the average “cool factor” is kept relatively lower. Car Culture, on the other hand, has been pretty much all hit, no miss. They’ve kept out the shitty generics, which helps IMMENSELY…I just have flashbacks of seeing that damn Bubble Gunner piece of crap from Heritage clogging up the pegs. After all this time, I think Mattel has hit on a formula that works, and the increased tampo coming next year is just icing on the cake. Amazing.

      1. Jonathan full tampo like Hot Wheels’ most premium lines. That means a price increase as well, but worth it I think.

  4. As a longtime redline collector, I like this evolution of the brand. I consider this series and some of the recent JDM castings as a much-needed blood infusion. I think these will sell fairly well.

  5. For me, the Vintage Racing Series will always be the best. But as far as “entry level” premium goes, Car Culture is at the top of my list. The first series was a bit hit or miss, but this second year has been near perfect from start to finish. I wish the details were there sometimes but that gave me something to do 🙂
    Glad to see full tempos are coming next year. Does it have anything to do with the move to thailand? Any idea if there will be a price hike to go with it?

    1. Production for Car Culture is already in Thailand, so this is a choice Hot Wheels made. There will be an increase to a price point similar to Pop Culture

    2. The first series of Car Culture was Japan Historic bruh. A HUGE hit, all including 2000GT, check out the prices now on ebay..

      1. Japan Historics was the first set if the first series. I didn’t like Euro Style after that and passed on most of the Trucks set. But I have buying complete sets after that.

    3. Too continue: Euro Style just suffered from following the Japan Historics’ histeria. Nothing can match the Datsun’s gang. But, overall, it is a pretty good set. Love the Porsches too. Trucks series were all awesome too, except Ford ranchero which was bland. But four others were hit.

  6. These are nice, but certainly not better than the original Redlines from 1968-72. Those were iconic. They were beautiful toys which revolutionized 1:64 diecast. They made the brand what it is, and will likely always be more desirable than any of the modern cars.

    1. Depends from what perspective you see it all. I was born in 1986, so the original Redlines don’t hold any direct nostalgia for me, other than the fact that I used to play with my dad’s old Redlines while visiting my grandparents’ house. I do appreciate those cars as the proverbial “that’s where it all started” set, but I don’t think it could argued that those were more realistic than the current Car Culture releases. Iconic, absolutely…and they changed the world of diecast permanently. But I think it just really depends on what you define “better” to be. Without the Redlines, we wouldn’t be having this conversation at all, so in that sense I see your point. But I think it’s possible to say that one of these modern premium lines is the “best” ever without lessening the significance of that original lineup.

      1. If one takes out the nostalgic content of the original Redlines, there is still an amazing and cohesive product which could never be confused with any other brand. With that first generation of Hotwheels, it went beyond the cars. The packaging and sets all felt like they were part of the same family. These new cars are indeed pretty decent, but one could put them in, say, a Matchbox blister and most would think they were Matchbox. As for realism, that was Matcbox’s DNA. Hotwheels was fantasy and possibilities, plus they went fast. I collect both vintage Matchbox and Redlines. and love them both for what they were. I also collect new 1/64, but miss the days when each brand had its own distinct character. I suppose that’s where these fall a little flat for me – they don’t stand out as something special beyond believable detail.

      2. Those are fair points. It’s kind of funny…you’d think that since the two brands came under common ownership they’d be more keen to differentiate, but it seems that’s been the case less and less. Regardless, my fingers are crossed on finding these.

  7. WOW! I concur. I am so happy this line exists. I have already laid down my money for quite a few car culture cars. The 911 will have a place in my collection. I wasn’t going to get it, but damn, that Benz is too nice to ignore.

  8. To think we haven’t scratched the surface…man this is exciting.

    Do GT3/GTE next!!! With retools of the C7.R (needs another retool, the first one’s not enough), Aston GT3 Vantage, new Z4 GT3 retool (based on E89, not the E84 that was used for the Super)…

  9. Considering the beautiful artwork, more attention to detail, the release of the Mercedes-Benz 190E and Porsche 964 in beautiful iconic liveries, the chances of finding these will be a lot like the very first set, Japan Historics. All are highly sought-after, well-executed cars with an awesome new casting to boot. I’m hoping Target will continue to carry these, as long as the Air-Cooled and Race Day series still don’t clog the pegs! I don’t want to spend a small fortune on eBay if I really want them. Crossing my fingers on this one!

  10. Car Culture IS the greatest thing to happen to HW in some time! There, I said it. Of course I say this because this is exactly the type of cars I am personally most interested in. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is certainly getting me excited as a collector.

    First off, the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 is sublime! I’m not sure what more we could want. Please keep up this level of attention to detail Mattel! Perfect casting, perfect stance, appropriate wheel choice, perfect deco – clean without unnecessary graphics plus front and rear tampos hitting the headlight/tail lights/marker lamps/grill, no funky blue windows or chrome interior. Just pure clean perfection!

    The Porsche (964) 911 is also a casting to behold. While the deco is generally clean, I could do without the red skirts, rear apron and chin spoiler. Probably ditch the red interior as well for something a bit more conservative. A rear tampo would also be much appreciated on this model. The BMW M3 is another iconic car which deserves inclusion here, but I think falls a bit short of its potential. Maybe it’s because I own various mainline versions of this casting that it doesn’t strike me as something overly special here. More likely it is because this premium release is still without full front and rear tampos. Getting the M3 with Real Riders is nice, but having front and rear tampos would have given it new life.

    I applaud the inclusion of the Renault 5 and Honda CR-X, but wish the 5 was done in the yellow Renault Sport racing livery of the time. I suppose red, white and blue are the French national colors, so that’s what we get. The CR-X, which has the most context personally, is a bit of a letdown. I am honestly not at all familiar with these heavy modifications and am not really a fan. What is with the orange? The black hood and roof stripes just compound the issue. Maybe if it were rendered in white over graphite it would look less atrocious? Come to think of it, the orange may have worked well on the Renault and the blue better suited to the CR-X.

  11. My top five :

    5 – ’70 Dodge Charger R/T (Redliners)
    4 – ’60s Fiat 500D Modificado (Air-Cooled)
    3 – Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R (Japan Historics)
    2 – Datsun Bluebird 510 (Track Day)
    1 – Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 (Modern Classics)

    The best series for me is the Japan Historics one.
    Euro Style was the most disappointing.

    The Modern Classics series is not so great in my opinion.
    The Honda CR-X Boulevard is not as good as the Boulevard version.
    The BMW M3 is suffering (again) the lack of front and rear tampos.
    The R5 Turbo would have been better in a stock version, with front and rear tampos (to make it really different from the Boulevard version).
    I don’t care about the Porsche.
    The mercedes is the only must-have for me : side-view mirrors, front & rear decos, cool wheels.

  12. I totally agree… Car Culture is THE BEST… Period! The Japanese and German Sports cars of the 80’s got me to collect: The Actual cars AND the Hot Wheels.

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