All hail the surprising Hot Wheels Pegwarmer of the Year

Who would have predicted this?

Pegwarmer of the Year is not a designation I look to give out each year.  In fact, I don’t think I ever have.  There have been some legendary pegwarmers in the past – the first Datsun 510 release, all the Cool Classics, 1:55 Fast & Furious – but I have never singled them out like this.

But let’s run with it this year, because there is a very common sight right now at many Walmarts and Targets around the country.  A model that has become a legendary pegwarmer in not one, but two popular lines.  A model that I don’t think anyone would have predicted would be a pegwarmer.  Yet, here it is.

The sight I am referring to?  This one:

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And this one:

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What happened?  How did a model as cool as the ’60’s Ford Econoline Pickup get to this point?  I don’t think anyone would say they truly dislike this model.  Maybe not the cuppatea for some, but not ugly by any means.  When the model was first released in Pop Culture as part of the Star Wars mix, it was an instant hit, and I think the consensus was it would be a popular model.

Mattel obviously thought that too.  It quickly went from Entertainment to the 50th Favorites set, taking a prominent place in Hot Wheels’ 50th Anniversary celebratory lines.  And soon after it joined the pinnacle of Hot Wheels collecting at the moment, Car Culture.

But here they sit.  Econoline after Econoline, waiting to be grabbed by someone.  And they continue to wait.  Why was there such a whiff on this one?  Mattel went all in, even double packing the Econoline in the Shop Trucks set.  That was problem #1, but even without the double packing the model hangs.

We must all have a thought, and feel free to share it.  I honestly don’t.  Clearly too many were made, but still.  Why this one?  It seems like it would be a no-brainer hit.

But alas, it is the Pegwarmer of the Year.  A super good-looking one at that.

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28 thoughts on “All hail the surprising Hot Wheels Pegwarmer of the Year

  1. It’s nice looking, but doesn’t fit my collecting parameters so it’ll likely never follow me home.

    Actually, it might be smart to grab a few and stash them, eventually this one will be rediscovered by collectors.

    1. Now that was a strange model to be a peg warmer. The Gulf Transit van was a fantastic release in my book. It might’ve been my favourite in the set, if it weren’t for every model in that set being superb.

      1. Hmmm. JDM is one thing but, BDM (British Domestic Market)…they made some upgly stuff. BDM MBX have historically unpopular w/ American collectors. Not sure why HW thought this casting would be a good idea. The White Van Man is a thing in the in the British Isles, but the buck stops there.

  2. Really ? People are leaving this on the pegs and picking up plastic crap like a toilet on wheels or a shopping trolley instead ? Not convinced John, this is a cool truck and I have all 3, over here in the UK they are popular and sell out very quickly. As Donald would say, this is fake news.

    1. Most definitely NOT fake news, these are ALL OVER THE PLACE here. Oh, and we hear that term enough as it is, we don’t need our British friends adopting it as well.

  3. Nah. John is right. At least in the US. I see these at most targets and wal marts (I live in the suburbs of the third largest US city so I go to plenty). Sometimes you see them on four pegs all the way to the back. One store had about 30 of the 50th favorites. Sometimes you see the Brat. Sometimes the AMC javelin. But mostly the only premium licensed non pop culture models are these two Econoline trucks.

    Personally I do not care for them much. Too slammed. The deco on the 50th one is not cool. The shop trucks one is ok. The M2 Econoline is way better. That said better decos and colors would not hurt on these HW econolines.

  4. I have experienced this too. You’re right, John, the Boba Fett version was snatched up (I still find other castings from that set on the pegs), but the Caballero and 50th are still hanging. I see lots of the Javelin, too, and even a few 50th 510 wagons, it’s weird! The Gulf Transit stuck around for a long time as well, and I love that one, too. I was worried I’d never see the second 50th mix around here, but they just showed up the other day at a couple stores.. Gulf Galaxy!!!!

      1. Putting the Gulf logo on random Ford vehicles isn’t a thing, it’s not going to be. Not sure why all the diecast companies are doing it.

      2. I get that it’s not strictly historically accurate, I just meant that a lot of people really like the Gulf livery, and a lot of people really like the Galaxie casting, so I’d think it’d be a more popular model than it’s turning out to be.

  5. I love the casting. Never get tired of it. The 50th version has a weak deco on it in my opinion. Not the greatest choice. But i still don’t understand why it hangs and hangs. Same with the Javelin (incredibly under-used). They’re both way better than the ’56 Chevy in that assortment.

  6. There’s 3 per case, while the vw are only 1 per case in these respective cases. VW has a dedicated diecast collector base, the Ford Econoline truck doesn’t. To me it’s surprising that they pushed this truck so much. It’s a nice model, but I would never had thought that it would be on high demand. Sometimes designers focus too much on what they like and lose sight of what actually sells.
    Note to Hotwheels: stop short-packing VWs, they will sell! Maybe they should pack 2 per case, as in 10/5=2

  7. I guess you have to be my age. Growing up in the 60’s these were popular. And i love them. The dodge a-100 is beloved. I’m not a Ford guy but i like this one. I wish someone would produce the Chevy Corvair, Corvan, rampside, and Corvair wagon. All that being said the Hi-po Hauler is exceptional and if you didn’t get one you missed out.

  8. I love the Econoline pickup, so I’m glad it was easy to snag them, but it’s worrying how many are sitting. I never would have thought they’d pegwarm so aggressively, especially with the cool deco the Shop Trucks one has. It’s surprising, but I think I’m more surprised that the Gulf Galaxie is warming pegs where I am, just like the Gulf Transit did (and actually still is). My impression was that anything Gulf is red hot. The Supervan is one of my favorite castings of recent years, so I would’ve thought they’d disappear immediately.

  9. Real cab forward trucks/vans aren’t that popular as compared to regular trucks and muscle cars of the same era. Especially when you compare it to a Mustang or Beetle. Only so many people will end up buying them.

  10. At least the Car Culture Shop Trucks Econolines are available in your areas. That entire series hasn’t even appeared near me. And it probably never will.

  11. It seems like it has a lot to do with how many are sent to a given area. I have seen both releases here in Ontario, but never enough of them to be considered peg warmers. The 50th Faves series came and went with only a few cases ever pegged, and the Shop Trucks have been around but none of them hangs for that long.

    The Gulf Transit Van from Cargo Carriers, on the other hand, is a different story. I loved the Transit, and it was a great release, but my area got a lot of that mix. Not to mention putting in three per case versus one per case for the Sunagon turned the Transit into a peg warmer and the VW into a chase of sorts. I think they ought to stop trying to predict which models will be more popular and just stick with the tried and trusted formula of two each per case.

  12. It’s funny because I never had to worry about the Car Culture Ford Econoline being a pegwarmer because I only saw it once and never again. Shop Trucks never made it into my town and never will since our Target just got in the new Circuit Legends set. Shop Trucks was a one and done deal at a Target out of town from me a couple months ago. However, I didn’t find the whole set; I never found the Volkswagen Caddy. I’m still missing it to this day. I can’t agree with any of you about the Subaru BRAT being a pegwarmer but I can agree with you on the 50th Anniversary Econoline. Even Publix is filled not only with Econolines, but with many of the whole set in general. This is the reason I never found the second set of Anniversary Favorites. The first one didn’t sell all that well and stores kept on ordering them. And this is the result.

    On a side note, another major pegwarmer (mostly in Target) is all or most of the Car Culture Eurospeed set! I am so sick of seeing these almost everywhere I go! I wish they would vanish already! Why couldn’t they be as popular as Japan Historics so I can never see them again and stores can concentrate on getting the next set?

  13. I’m seeing the same thing everyone else is reporting. Euro Speed seemed to get a second wave even after the first wave was still hanging around.
    I saw Brats for a while but they are all gone.
    The thing that surprises me is like others have said, the AMX. I was dying to get my hands on it. I can’t believe I can still find them, especially considering it has Watanabes on it.
    But by sheer number the Econolines take the cake. It’s the kind of pegwarmer that can kill an entire line.

    I believe both releases were over-packed. Even the 510 wagon is still available in places around here because it was so over-packed. It doesn’t help that the wheels are undesirable on the 5oth and not terribly great on the Shop Truck and the axles are super short.
    If these were under $5, I believe they’d have been bought by now.

  14. I think it’s just because this is the one that’s double-packed into cases, meaning that anyone who buys an entire set doesn’t need this one, and it gets left behind (also decreasing demand in the secondary market). If this were the model that was single-packed, believe me, their wouldn’t be many of them on the pegs. It sure would be great if Mattel would stop packing triples of some cars in these limited sets and singles of others – rolls eyes. I picture Mattel execs sitting around at a meeting and asking each other “Which upcoming Car Culture should be the one we increase demand for by undersupplying them, and which should be the sacrificial lamb by oversupplying them??” They decided on the Econline this time.

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