$6. More specifically $5.50 plus tax.
Just focus there for awhile. Forget the price increase, just focus on the fact that each 2018 Hot Wheels Car Culture model will cost about $6.
Then think about this: That is dirt cheap.
Focus on $6. Think about the things you have spent $6 on lately. Even today. How many times do you question that something cost $6?
The only reason some are questioning the $6 cost on the Japan Historics 2, the first batch of the new Hot Wheels Car Culture, is because Car Culture used to be cheaper.
But guess what? They are still cheap. Way cheap.
We are in a 1/64 renaissance. Matchbox is returning to form, US-based premium brands like M2, Auto World, and Johnny Lightning are churning out amazing stuff every month. Japanese brands like Tomica continue smack-dab in their groove, and new brands like Tarmac Works and (wait until you see them) Mini GT are moving in. There is almost too much good stuff.
And leading the way is Hot Wheels. More specifically, Hot Wheels Car Culture. The line has been a revelation. Small mixes, each with a different theme, aimed squarely at the collector. It was made for the collector, and it is the collector that can make it better.
And collectors, as they have lapped up every new assortment, have asked for near-perfection, and Hot Wheels is delivering. As far as I can tell, since Car Culture debuted with Japan Historics (let’s call it JH1), collectors have praised the casting selections, the assortment themes, the incredible artwork, the new castings and Real Rider wheels, and the overall execution. What they have complained about, justifiably, is the “incompleteness” of the models.
For something so good, skipping certain graphics like the front and rear details seems especially frustrating. So Hot Wheels changed it for 2018. Full graphics – a la Pop Culture – becomes the norm. Add to that better paint, crisper upgraded decos, larger cards and more card art, and expanded casting and new casting choices. All because we asked for it.
Let’s get into a little more detail:
- Full graphics. Pretty explanatory. Front, rear, top, side, and any where else that needs graphics. No more blank spots where the headlights and taillights should be.
- Better paint. You won’t see spectraflame here, because realism instead of nostalgia is the key with Car Culture. But the paint used is a step up from basic and mid-premium models like Car Culture used to be.
- Crisp upgraded decos. Last year Car Culture moved to the Thailand plant. Fewer leaks to be sure, but there are processes there that create crisp details. Look at the front of the JH2 Laurel for example.
- Larger cards. Car Culture is the signature Hot Wheels line now, and more card space allows Julian Koiles to work his artistic magic on a larger canvas.
- Expanded casting options and new casting choices. This is one of the most exciting developments. The higher price point means more options for new castings in the line. More metal, more details, more options. Models that would have been nixed before can now be developed.
And all this starts with Japan Historics 2. The first set of 2018 might be the most anticipated, but with Cargo Carriers, Drag Strip Demons, and the mind-blowing Team Transport coming, among others, there is a lot more to cause collector frenzies.
So far the price increase hasn’t been an issue. JH2 is being gobbled up the second it hits the pegs, if it even hits the pegs. And frankly, I don’t think it should be an issue. JH2 looks and feels different than other Hot Wheels. I have mentioned this particular mix, with its Japan Car Meet theme, and cleaner-than-clean look, is more art than toy. And when you compare them to other premium lines and brands, they are a comparable price, or even much cheaper. I can’t look at the Laurel and C210 Skyline, for example, and think they should have cost me $3.
And Hot Wheels even proves this with the look of JH2. Some of you might not like this argument, but it is asinine to complain that these models are too plain. TOO PLAIN!?!? You want flames on these? Busy racing graphics? An unnecessary stripe? Mattel didn’t rip you off by not including side deco. The goal is to make these models look their best, and that is what they did, showing off the colors over decos. And don’t forget the killer ghost “BRE-inspired” deco on the 510. Collectors for years have said they don’t want graphics for graphics sake, and I still haven’t heard anyone legitimately argue that they would pay more if Mattel made the models look busier.
Even with Hot Wheels celebrating its 50th birthday, nothing will garner more attention than Car Culture in 2018. It has started loudly with JH2, and the set is worth not only the hype, but the price. Golden Age indeed.