If the 2018 A Case is any indication, Hot Wheels’ 50th year is going to be its most Japanese yet.

I think we all go into every diecast year wondering if this one will be the best yet.  At least I hope we do.  I think optimism is an integral part of collecting, especially these days when the way we collect is so internet and social-media based.   We want to be excited about what is coming next.  To be excited about it, we want to know what is coming.

I am totally the same way.  What is coming always excites me.  And I probably create my own narrative about how game-changing it will be.  Well, all that is at an all-time high with Hot Wheels entering its 50th year.

50 years is a big deal.  A really big deal.  And I think Mattel knows that.  So I am sure we will be seeing some truly cool stuff coming from the blue brand, whether it be premium or basic.  I have heard some hints on some of the stuff to come, but I am sure there are some big surprises coming.

But 50 Years or not, Hot Wheels will hit some hot trend buttons, and the biggest trend is easily evident in the first case of 2018.


Pictured here is the brand new ’82 Nissan Skyline R30, the Custom 240Z in a very Japanese deco, and the ’95 RX-7 in an homage to Initial D, a beloved Japanese serial.

What is not pictured is the Datsun 620 Pickup, which also serves as the Super Treasure Hunt of the first batch of 2018.

That is a lot of Japanese.  Not just replicas of Japanese cars, but cars in heavily Japanese decos.  I am going to feature the RX-7 and 240Z today, and the R30 and 620 Super will get their own showcases in a bit.


But start adding up the evidence.  Two of the first five Super TH’s of the year are Japanese.  Japan Historics 2 will kick off the 2018 year of Car Culture.  And by the end of winter 2018 Hot Wheels will debut not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR new Skyline castings.  And a Laurel to boot.

I will get more into that when I showcase Japan Historics 2, but in context of what Hot Wheels was a few years ago, it just crazy to think that a Laurel is coming.  And a C210 Skyline.  And that isn’t just because there are some big JDM aficionados on the Hot Wheels Design Team.  It is because these models will sell.  In the US.

This might be where someone might be compelled to complain about it.  How Hot Wheels has gone all JDM at the expense of something else.  Your opinion is surely your opinion, but let’s go back to that optimism.  Is it that bad that Hot Wheels is embracing an element of car culture that didn’t get a ton of attention a few years ago?  Does it mean Hot Wheels now hates muscle cars or hot rods?  Of course not.  It means they are diving into a very deep well and pulling out a slew of riches, just like they have done with muscle, sports cars, and hot rods in years past.

And it looks like we are hitting a high point in 2018.  Let’s see what else is coming.

(Want to see larger versions of these pics?  Click on them, and scroll down.  You will see a way to get the full view.)


18 Replies to “If the 2018 A Case is any indication, Hot Wheels’ 50th year is going to be its most Japanese yet.”

  1. whats sad is, i wont see anything but pegs FULL of spiderman, batman, and a sh!tton of 50th anniversary camaro peggers. its really depressing how BAD the peggers situation is at our local wallys

  2. It looks like 2018 will be an awesome year for hotwheels and they’re 50th anniversary thumbs up. I can’t wait to see what else is coming out in hotwheels in 2018 thumbs up.

  3. Man that DR30 looks fan-freakin-tastic. Already in the running for Best Mainline 2018. But I reckon the Magnus VolksBeetle Racer is the sleeper hit this case. Great shade of blue, well-done deco, adds a lot to the model.

    Also, 5SP getting lots of exposure in the early cases. It just looks perfect in the stock-done versions like the DR30 and NSX. Any chance we get a wheels spotlight?

  4. Me: Hey HW! Whats new for this year?
    HW: Well we got a lot of new nostalgic japense cars!
    Me: wow!… and what else?
    HW:Ehh… a lot of new nostalgic japense cars!
    Me: …
    MBX: Hi dudes!
    Me: Oh hello MBX. Whats coming this year?
    MBX: just look….
    HW: I have a lot of new nostalgic japense cars…

    1. Wait, MBX is still in business? I guess I haven’t noticed what with HW doing all the interesting cars these days. ^_____~

    2. 👍👍 Could comment on this forever but I’ll just repeat this. Where is the variety? Why is we can’t have JDM and American cars? Why is it one or the other? I don’t get it with all the junk sitting on their pegs. Recolor, recolor, recolor why can’t we get new models?

      1. There was a time not too long ago when Hot Wheels was making new Camaros, Mustangs and Chargers every year and no one complained, while the JDMs were almost ignored (I still remember when the Hakosuka, Kenmeri and R34 came no one really paid attention). Why is that now Hot Wheels is making Japanese cars and suddenly people are offended?

  5. Sounds great to me ! The japanese models blow a fresh wind on the Hot Wheels (& Matchbox) universe. This Skyline R30 is pure coolness.
    I’d like to see a similar hype for the european vintage cars in the future (especially the french ones ! R8 Gordini, R17 TL Phase, Peugeot 504, 304 wagon, …).

    1. Completely agree . . Love the new japs but similar attention to classic Europeans won’t hurt either . . So many classic alfa romeos to choose from too like the tipo 33 for example. . Especially with ferrari being discontinued from the HW lineup

  6. As cool they are – Yes some more varation would be nice. European, eastern european, south asia, south african, some more south american (vw sp2 back to mainlaine),..

  7. I am all for bringing on more JDM! I love the new Skyline R30. That deco is perfection! Speaking of perfection, the tarnished green livery on the Datsun 620 is my favorite yet! The recolored Fairlady Z is beautiful and the more FD RX-7’s the merrier. The Initial D deco is alright, though I generally prefer a more stock look.

    In the meantime, can’t wait to find my P case Honda Civics. And when can we expect that wonderful new Honda City Turbo?

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