As I write this, it is January 1st, 2020. Putting this post together makes me feel like the dude at the gym on the first day of the year, determined to start his lofty resolution of getting into shape. He is plowing through all the equipment, showing off his new exercise garb and enthusiasm, excited to finally being something he has meant to do for years.
Except those gym employees watching him know that they will see him maybe 3 or 4 more times. Intentions are good, execution isn’t.
That is me with the blog. January 1st is here, and I really want to get the blog up and rolling again. I’ve got my stylish workout headband on, the treadmill is set a little too high, and I want to tell you that the blog will have new content each day. It’s back!
But you know that isn’t true. The blog is the foundation of Lamley, but Lamley evolves. My time is spent spewing out content on YouTube and Instagram, and soon you will see Lamley elsewhere, in new projects I am very excited about. But I have been left with little time to churn out a few blog posts, especially photo posts. Taking diecast photos is still one of my favorite things to do Lamley-wise, but editing them and writing about them has proven hard.
But if I am being honest, the content is still out there. More than it has ever been. I do a lot on Instagram when it comes to photos, and of course my YouTube features are more and more involved. And there are other sources for photo features as well, most notably Orange Track Diecast for you Hot Wheels fans.
But my voice is my voice, and I really want to keep that here. So when I can I will post a photo feature, or a bit of news, or a poll, or whatever. I am working on ways to get daily content up and running on the blog, much that you will really enjoy, but the Lamley voice will be out there.
I think Hot Wheels/Diecast collecting can be cool. Artistically cool. Automotively cool. Forget the word “toy”. Hot Wheels collectors don’t have to be toy collectors. I surely am not. As long as certain itches get scratched as I create a collection of fantastic 1/64, I will keep doing this.
Case in point? The two latest brand new releases from Hot Wheels in the RLC. The Mercedes-Benz 300SL with opening gullwing doors, and the Lamborghini Countach with opening scissor doors. The castings are beautifully done, made to replicate the real cars. The colors make them art.
These castings are significant, and not just because they have opening doors. Both were made for RLC – I don’t think there are any plans at the moment for them to be released elsewhere – and both are classic European sports cars. Actually that is understating. Both are iconic European sports cars.
If I ask long-term collectors about what struggles the RLC has had over the last ten years, two eras will come up. Recent problems with the website and purchasing process, and earlier problems with quality and product being constantly delayed. Both issues were excruciatingly annoying, but they tell another story.
Earlier in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, when quality and delays were the problem, the RLC was a small niche club for hardcore Hot Wheels collectors. Hot Wheels collecting in general was about Super Treasure Hunts, variations, and other basic-range elements. Premium lines were not nearly as popular, and the RLC especially was a place for more nostalgia-driven collectors. Most models were either fashioned after nostalgic Hot Wheels castings and Originals, or truly made to look like them. Neo wheels were used a lot more, unlicensed castings were half the range, and new models were mainly hot rods and other “California Custom” style castings. When the quality issues started, old school collectors started wondering if being a member was even worth it, and newer collectors saw no reason to join.
That changed over the decade. Hot Wheels figured out their issues – sort of – and instead of shutting down the RLC – I think there was serious consideration – they started branching out in model choices. Icons like the Candy Striper and BRE 510 were released, and popularity started growing. That last sentence glosses over a TON of detail, but suffice to say the RLC got more popular. Models became more universally appealing, and collectors who came to Hot Wheels because of their realism and premium brands all of a sudden saw the RLC as a club to join. The RLC has never been larger and more popular, and hence the mind-boggling issues the site has had have been badly exposed. (Although many seen to have been fixed. Fingers crossed.)
So the earlier issue was about too little interest, and the more recent issue about too much interest. The bigger story is that the RLC went from – let’s be honest – bland, to an integral part of the Hot Wheels collecting experience. It is far more reflective of collector interests now.
The Red Line Club is still about nostalgia. If it wasn’t the spectraflame paint would have been ditched a long time ago. But it has expanded to being a Hot Wheels reflection of car culture. JDM creeped in over the last few years, and now here are two new European castings, made specifically for the RLC. Add to that a full collision of car culture styles when the RWB RLC exclusive is released later this month.
So here are two new models, stunners to be sure, but more significant to the collecting experience than you might first think. Designers Brendon Vetuskey and Steve Vandervate are having their fun, and we are eating it up.