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.