Showcase: Hot Wheels RLC Lamborghini Countach & Mercedes-Benz 300SL and the evolution of the RLC.

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.

17 Replies to “Showcase: Hot Wheels RLC Lamborghini Countach & Mercedes-Benz 300SL and the evolution of the RLC.”

  1. Well said. The point of collecting is right one. I really like car design and collecting 164 scale gives one the chance to have and own cars that would otherwise wpuld never have. These cars look great. Keep up the blog. This worth the work you put i to it!

  2. Your blog is indeed well received, so please keep attending the gym beyond the first week of the new year! I never check out your YouTube or Instagram content, so your website/blog is it for me. Cheers!

  3. The Countach needs better wheels. These look horrible and really aren’t doing any justice to an otherwise stunning model. Oh, and the Countach is the one car that needs really wide rear tyres (like on the RWB). If they fix these two things then this will easily be one of the best models they’ve ever made, along with the 300SL.

    Also I’d love to see non-opening-doors versions of these in Car Culture or Boulevard (because that’s the only way I can afford them).

  4. I like the article. I have both and the LAMBO is my favorite. Just wished tires were different like a lot other collectors have stated. Keep the articles coming and thanks for sharing.

  5. Love your blogs and absolutely love your photos. So glad you gave these two their due. They are simply amazing.

    I really hope they continue in this direction. Classic European cars and even more so classic/iconic cars from the 80’s and 90’s. That would make us collectors that grew up in those decades very happy.

    Would also love to see Ferrari come back so maybe we could get a proper Testarossa casting to go along with its rival the Countach.

  6. Wow… you showcase these very well my man!
    I am lucky to get the Lambo (not so for the MB), and it is stunning – wheel choice doesn’t live up to rest of the Lambo’s execution though.. Boooo – so it goes. I’m still looking out for the Benz, but if it was a more appealing color combination, I would have been all over it like defenders trying to tackle Lamar Jackson (Yes, i’m from Baltimore, so go Ravens!!!).

    Ok, so now we’ve gotten some premiere examples out of the doors of the RLC, let’s begin to started on getting that 2019 $uper Treasure Hunt set out for us to grab hold of!

    Keep up all the nice work John and yes, I agree that posting stills & writing about them are taxing, but it’s what I’ve come to grow with from the first years at Lamley… it’s what got the hook in me and it kept tugging.
    Just don’t get burnt out & you’ll maintain a good balance for us all to take in!

  7. Can anyone confirm this Mercedes gullwing is not a revamp of the ‘old’ red or silver Corgi Juniors version which I suspect Mattel have the dies for in their inventory?

  8. I really enjoy your articles and photos, both are top notch! I hope you continue!

    I have been an RLC member since year one. There are many adjectives that come to mind in describing the RLC. But “bland” isn’t one of them. I have a very nice collection of both Real Rider and Neo releases and I consider them to be about as far from bland as is possible. To be fair you didn’t specifically call the cars bland…. maybe you are referring to the overall Club experience. Just my .02.

  9. Beautiful castings with beautiful paint, but that’s where the praise ends. The wheels on the Lambo are too cheap looking for this model. The wheel casting is fine, but they appear to be a bit too tall, and even more, the unfinished plastic does not dance well with the amazing spectraflame. I have seen a modified model with neos, and it looks perfect. Perfect.
    The Merc suffers from other issues. The casting is wonderful, opening doors and all. It gets down to the details. The wheels are too wide. The interior would have looked better in cream rather than the garish red. The green finish is not a flattering shade. If it was a pale elegant shade, it would have been so much better looking. Like the Lambo, there is a modified Merc on the RLC site modified with neos, and it is the knees of the bee.
    Mattel has a habit of getting 90 percent right, and ten percent wrong, be it MBX or Hot Wheels. That 10 percent often is the make or break for these models. I own both of the casting in this topic, and like them. However, I don’t love them. That’s a difference that matters, and very frustrating for this collector.

  10. Here’s to sticking with our resolutions in 2020!

    I have noticed a definite drop in the number of postings on the Lamley site over the past few months. I suppose I had become accustomed to being able to find just about all my Hot Wheels news right here at Lamley. But we often take for granted the amount of time and dedication it takes to provide us with this content day after day, week after week. For that, I thank you. I’d love for this to remain your primary outlet for Hot Wheels collector info, but I’m slowly training myself to check YouTube as the main source. Instagram? Well, maybe I’ll have to work on that.

  11. I love what you do for the hobby. Way back when , when you posted that picture of the Greenwood Vet you blew me away. And have been a fan ever since, loved getting your e-mails every morning. But when you made the change , I got lost in the shuffle. Please put me back on your list and keep up the good work. This
    hobby needs a person like you to keep the interest going. And thank you for all the years you have been doing this and all the time you have put in. We all appreciate it.

  12. I am excited for the direction RLC is going in the past year or so. Both the Countach and 300SL are truly stunning! The castings and detailing are top notch. These types of iconic European sports cars are definitely the cars I’m interested in and would love to have in my collection. I have never been an RLC member because quite honestly, they’ve never had much that appealed to me. Mine has always been more a love of real cars and car design than about Hot Wheels culture or Hot Wheels nostalgia. So the closer they move towards realism, the greater the chance they’ll get me hooked.

    I wasn’t sure I cared for the deep red/maroon paint on the Lamborghini when I first saw it, but it is slowly growing on me. And it looks good against the gold wheels. But I’ve said it before about these gold Real Riders, on most every release they’ve been used, they look cheep and unrealistic cast in colored plastic. If only it were possible to paint them gold. I’ve liked the olive green on the Mercedes from the get go and the red interior is a sharp contrast. It’s just too bad the plastic used is so translucent. A more opaque plastic would be a huge improvement.

    Finally, this may be sacrilegious, but I’m not a big fan of Spectraflame. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautifully done and looks high quality and premium. It’s just to me, cars shouldn’t be chrome (Audi Avus excepted). The candy-colored chrome finish makes these look more like toys or ornaments to me than miniaturized models of the real thing.

    1. I hear you. I’ve calmed my OCD brain by telling myself Hot Wheels and Matchboxes are more like stylized 3D sketches, leaving room for artistic interpretation, and I apply the expectation for realism to bigger scales like 1/43 and up.

    1. If you want realism, there is Tomica TLV, AutoWorld, Schuco, and plenty more. The foundation of Hot Wheels was fantasy, hot rod and custom car culture. Why not let those dominoes stand?

Leave a Reply