Slammed Nissans, California’d Beetles, new and old Muscle, and a long awaited Toyota. Hot Wheels Cruise Boulevard marks four years of Car Culture.

Man this feels nostalgic. Not the slammed Nissan Hardbody, or the classic Chevelle, or any car in this set. Each feels actually quite new.

I’m doing a photo feature and write-up. THAT feels nostalgic. I picture a Depression-era newsboy shouting “Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Lamley actually wrote something!”

But let’s see if remember how to do this. Ok, here we go.

Cruise Boulevard is rad! You should get it! I’m not hyping it! I love JDM!

That last sentence was a little extra to keep folks on their toes. Alright the real stuff.

Cruise Boulevard marks the end of the…count it…FOURTH year of Car Culture. It is kind of crazy to think that Car Culture has been around that long, but it has. After so many iterations of premium lines – Cool Classics, Heritage, Boulevard, Garage – that have come and gone, it is fantastic to see Car Culture not only continuing on, but thriving. Releases of Car Culture mixes are approaching the same level of interest as Super Treasure Hunt reveals. Each mix will surprise, and excite.

I still remember sitting in a restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky, during HW Nationals, with a Hot Wheels marketing friend of mine, as he said he wanted to share a new line that the team is in the early stages of developing. He called it Car Culture, and shared the first couple of mixes with me, including Japan Historics. He asked for my thoughts, I gave him a resounding “It’ll be a huge hit!” – which he already knew – and it went from there.

Keeping the theme line generalized to Car Culture means the team can go anywhere with a theme, and they have. We have seen all kinds of directions, a ton of new castings, and very few misses. Mark Jones’ designs, Steve Vandervate’s colors and graphics, and Julian Koiles card art have made each mix a must have. And Jimmy Liu in marketing deserves a ton of credit as well. That dude is tapped in, a passionate car nerd himself, and has always made sure Car Culture hits the right collector notes first.

The result is a bonafide hit for Hot Wheels, to me the best line they’ve ever done. And that isn’t hyperbole from me. I truly think nothing comes close. A massive variety of stuff, full of collaborations with car-related brands, with no plans on shutting down.

And Cruise Boulevard epitomizes all of that. Showing off is the theme, and many elements are represented. Muscle, Japanese, VW, and of all the things a 90’s-Era slammed truck. Who would have thought?

There isn’t a dud in the bunch. Every model represents a customized car. Things have to start with the Nissan Hardbody. Think about what it takes for a model to be approved, developed, and released. There has to be justification, and if you would have asked me if a 90’s Hardbody slammed to hell would be approved, I would have told you there was no chance. Yet, here we are, in full 90’s regalia.

The biggest surprise for me is the Beetle. Beetle castings seem to pop up a lot, and I have no idea how many Hot Wheels has done. So a new Beetle usually doesn’t grab my attention. This one does. Done California style, with a classic VW deco, this thing is gorgeous. Yes, gorgeous. It photographs well too.

The other three are no slouches either. The Supra is getting a lot of attention as the official return of Toyota to Hot Wheels, but that plain red can’t be ignored. Same with the Mustang and Chevelle. Car Culture does need a little more muscle, and these are most welcome.

Car Culture jumps right back in with Doorslammers next, and the return of Japan Historics. And I have heard 2020 might be the best year yet. Based on the the evidence I have seen, I will wholeheartedly second that.

16 Replies to “Slammed Nissans, California’d Beetles, new and old Muscle, and a long awaited Toyota. Hot Wheels Cruise Boulevard marks four years of Car Culture.”

  1. YAY!!!! Finally a photo feature on Lamley!! Feels like a whole eternity since the last one. Can we please have more of these? Or else I think some people are going to riot.

    Anyway, getting to the cars, I’ve expressed my opinion on these many times before so I’ll take this opportunity to talk about something else. What would have made this the best mix of the year is if there was a supercar. Car Culture does not need more muscle (there have been more than plenty). What it does need is more supercars. We’ve literally seen only one in four years. ONE IN FOUR YEARS. That’s how underrepresented they are in Car Culture. Hoping there will be some next year.

  2. I don’t want to rain on the parade but for me this set is at best ….meh . I also feel car culture has run it course and Mattel is just making jam labels now , as per the FNF pulp there pumping out . This will be the first complete car culture set I wont buy and probably the same with future sets from now on . Throwing some real riders on dollar cars just doesn’t cut it any more . New casting with full detailing is what I want for the premium price. Just sayin …

    1. “New casting with full detailing is what I want for the premium price.” Well, Car Culture has had its fair share in doing that. Thanks to this series, we’ve gotten plenty of detailed new castings such as the Nissan C210 Skyline, the Nissan Laurel, the bug-eye Subaru Impreza WRX, the Mazda RX-3 (in Japan Historics 2), this new Nissan Hardbody and Volkswagen Beetle, the Mercedes-Benz 190E, the Nissan C10 Skyline Wagon, the Honda Odyssey, the RWB Porsche 930, and the Pandem Subaru BR-Z.

      1. I’m not looking back , I’m looking forward . I’ll continue to buy new casting but not the quasi premiums that make up the set . There punching out so many premium sets now it’s becoming hard to keep a track of. We’ve already seen one spin off with the team transport and now another with the Boulevard and it’s not going to stop there .I’m just going to take a leaf out of John’s book , tranquillity rules .

  3. I’ve been collecting car culture since the 1st Japan historics came out and I love em. My only thing would be for them to make 5 trucks. There was a series like this but I’m talking about rig trucks. The kenworth and so on. How cool would that be!?!?!?!

  4. I like this set a lot. I don’t collect many Mustangs, but this one will join the white SVO I have. Love the 90s Hardbody! The Supra looks really clean. The Chevelle looks nice, like the grey & red ones from that FnF set. The Beetle looks fantastic, but whats the deal with the trunk lid (engine cover, “boot”)? Does it open? Is it just part of the casting, and Californians do something weird with their custom bugs? Very curious indeed!

  5. Just found these today and they look so much better in person!! The pick of the litter is the truck and the supra!! They all look great!!

    1. Where do you live? That was a lightning fast shipment, if you live outside US. I haven’t even seen the street tuners or furious off road sets..

      1. The fast and furious off road set showed up and so did the street tuners. If you’re interested, I can find what you’re looking for and you can pay me back or we could trade for something I need. I might have xtras also. My number is six,six,zero three,six, two- 2,seven,seven,three.

  6. I know it’s often said that “pictures don’t do it justice”, but man, these Lamley photo shoots are fantastic! I was “meh” about the Beetle before, but now I think I might have to have it. This could prove a challenge though, as anything Hot Wheels Volkswagen seems to be scalper fodder around here. Lamley’s photo spread of the Mustang is also having me second guess my decision to pass on this model. Wow that Mustang looks great! My only gripe is the rear wheel looks excessively large, like a funny car dragster.

    What I am certain of, is I want that Supra! Looks great in this clean red paint with black wheels! But… since this is my favorite car of the group, I’m also the most critical of it. The rear wing looks big and clunky. I’m also not that fond of the modified grill. I wonder if the team will ever redo this casting with the proper “basket handle” spoiler and stock grill?

    I’m not much of a fan of 70’s muscle cars, so the Chevelle doesn’t interest me. I’m not much of a pickup fan either, even though I did appreciate the Nissan Hardbody back in the day and would be open to picking up a $1 basic if it were done up stock. What I will never appreciate however, is a “slammed” vehicle, no matter if it be muscle, pickup or even JDM.

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