Showcase: Hot Wheels Japan Historics 3 is NOT for you.

Only one theme has been repeated in the tremendously successful Hot Wheels Car Culture line. Modern Classics is coming back, but before it does, the THIRD issue of Japan Historics is here.

AAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!! More JDM!?!?! Can Hot Wheels give it up already? Enough!! There is so much else out there, and yet here we are with ANOTHER JDM-centric mix.

If you want, copy and paste that and put it in the comments. I wrote it for you. Here is another:

This line is such a peg warmer. There are millions sitting on the pegs. Literally millions. Everyone hates this line.

Everyone agrees with you. I can’t believe they are doing more JDM that no one cares about. It is very important that each of us pick only one element of car culture to like, and for those of us who didn’t pick JDM, this is getting old. Mattel will learn eventually.

Alright, in unison, let’s all stomp away and pout. I have never had more reason to be angry. JDM is so played out. Alright, see you guys later. Let’s go meet on Facebook and say more about how lame this is. See you there.

Did they all leave? Look around again and give me the thumbs up when the coast is clear and we will get going again.

Japan Historics 3 is freaking rad. Right? It’s just the few of us left, those that don’t get so caught up on what we are supposed and not supposed to like. Those of us who can appreciate anything from muscle to JDM to classics to current to whatever. There is so much to like, and we all know Japan Historics has been a great way to celebrate classic Japanese cars. JH# might be the best yet, so let us count the ways.

It starts with the choices of models. The Hot Wheels Team is not messing around. There are no bridges here, this is pure Japan. Two new castings that fit beautifully with the other pure JDM models that debuted in Car Culture, namely the C210 Skyline, Laurel, and Hakosuka Wagon. The Datsun Sunny Pickup and Mazda Cosmo will be Wikipedia lookups for many, and for something this pure that is a good thing. Kick open some doors, which Hot Wheels has been doing a lot of with their new casting choices. JDM for this set, but widely international for many others.

And even if a deeper JDM groove isn’t your thing, be happy about it. These are here because Car Culture is working. It means Hot Wheels is that much more fearless. Remember, Hot Wheels is part of Mattel, and Mattel is a big f*#^ing company. That means a billion people making one decision. That means that several years ago if any one suggested a Datsun Sunny Truck, that idea would be shot down before the sentence was even finished. No one could have provided a valid reason to do one and make a few dollars.

Now they can.

“Let’s do a Datsun Sunny.”

“Well, never heard of it, but I googled pics and it looks cool, and that is what Car Culture is for. We can do lots of cool cars we haven’t made before. Go for it.”

“I agree.”

“Me too.”

“Throw is a Cosmo too.”


“Great idea.”

So yes, celebrate JH3. It might be the evidence that that one car you love that you didn’t think would be ever be a Hot Wheels now just might. Car Culture can go anywhere, and some of the mixes this year will prove just that. But that also means returning to where its been, only going a little deeper. Appreciate this set on whatever level you want. Just appreciate it.

And that is not even getting into the others. Each is a gem, a little surprise, a justified addition. I can get excited about each one individually. Like the R30.

I am so glad they brought back the Red Panda look, even though it was already done in basic.

It is how this car should look, and getting it in premium on Watanabe-“inspired” rims is exactly the car of my friend Jay Kho. You’ve probably seen it.

Or the Silvia.

The Silvia was made for JH3, but when the opportunity came for it to be part of a special Fast & Furious line it was put there, preempting its real debut here.

Everything I wrote about the Sunny and Cosmo apply here, and the shock that Hot Wheels did a first-gen Silvia actually surpasses those two. It is truly mind-blowing that this exists, looking like it does. I even dedicated an entire video to it with the crew at JDM Legends. It is a car everyone should see in person, but because it is so rare that won’t happen.

That leaves the Honda City Turbo, the first Honda to join the Japan Historics family.

It has toiled in the basic range, and has looked great, but getting the premium treatment reminds collectors of what a surprise it really is. It might be the deepest dive of all five of the JH models.

Hot Wheels didn’t mess around. This set of five is the most defining of the Car Culture sets so far, but collectively with all the other releases shows that Hot Wheels is willing to go a lot farther than they could before.

26 Replies to “Showcase: Hot Wheels Japan Historics 3 is NOT for you.”

  1. Cool article–I love the smokescreen at the beginning! While JDM is the flavour of the month, Mattel could pick up some of the models made in e.g. Australia in the 1970s & ’80s. The Datsun 120Y, 180B have some nice lines and would look great hotted up in 1/64 scale.

  2. When I see, such beautiful mixes and interesting cars, I feel really annoyed that they aren’t officialy sold in France. No, instead we have the boring character cars or the batman liveries ones or the bad ones…
    And, seeing they price grow and grow, I don’t want to buy them on the aftermarket… unfortunately because every set of car culture is realy well done

  3. JH4 has got to be 90’s this time. NA1 NSX, JZA80 Supra, R33 GT-R, FD RX-7, and go for broke by including both the Impreza WRX 22B-STi and Evo-5. And rather than stock, find their absolute hottest-performance/Super GT racing/rally versions.

    Go out with a bang.

  4. Great article and I can’t wait to find these in the store (if that’s possible).

    I only kind of wished they’d left the Sunny in a stock mode with the wheel wells/flares. But then I guess it wouldn’t be a HotWheels…

    I don’t count that F&F version of the Silvia with that horrendous paint. This stock version is so much better, and it is a great color.

    Great article I found about the Cosmo:

    1. Matchbox is slated to issue a stock Sunny this year. I plan to get both versions. It will be as close to getting something similar to the Nissan 1400 that was once sold in South Africa.

  5. These casting are amazing. Mazda Cosmo! We as collectors have seen thousands of Camaros,Vettes,Mustangs and other american muscle cars and pickups for decades. I would like to see more European castings. Not just the usual supercars and hypercars. Renault,Citroen,Peugeot. I guess I have to wait for those castings to come from Matchbox. I thought this blog was different. I can see this what will be the norm since we have “more” writers. Guess I need to find a new source after all these years.

  6. the city turbo is really cool. its a replica of a real race car that was in a racing series, but the other cars were lost in an earthquake, and the orange one was a survivor

  7. I like 3 of 5 so that’s good enough for me. The card art is phenomenal. The whole set out does the the second set by a long shot. Still, not to disappoint…. we need some Muscle in the Car Culture series! There, I said it.

    1. Could definitely use some Car Culture Muscle beyond the Fast’n’Furious Entertainment series-es; more in the non-stock, Hot Wheels-originals vein like Vetuskey’s Custom ’67 Firebird

  8. The consternation from me is the horrid yellow colour of the R30 and City Turbo wheels. Why are they not a metallic gold?

  9. Great article! The essence of Hot Wheels Car Culture: taking diverse segments and giving them their due. Cool to see the team taking more risks. Had to laugh about the wikipedia part… been there already.

  10. I’m posting again, my comment doesn’t show up here.
    So, this title is unfortunately right for me, as we don’t have the opportunity to get such interesting castings and series here, in France… No instead, we do have the bad ones like the Batmobile liveried ones, the even worse character cars and some others like that. What a pity.
    And from 2019 in mainline, I have yet to find the XE SV Project 8 (certainly the one I wanted the most with the Alpine), the Alpine, the Bugatti, the Velar, Audi RS6 (didn’t found the 2018 either) and RS5… Unfortunately

    So the day I’ll see Car Culture Ones (certainly the best series to date) in my country is certainly a mirage (i don’t to buy them on the net, way too expensive)

    1. That sucks you can’t get an Alpine or a Bugatti in France, the homeland of both marques… incroyable~
      Conversely, I wish we still had Majorette in the US

  11. My only wish is that someone at Hot Wheels could start designing some American models that are realistic like the Japanese models they keep making.

    Sure, we already have (insert every american muscle card ever made), but wouldn’t it be nice to see some of them without the cartoony proportions and massive rear tires?

    1. Totally agree. Most muscle car castings are not good. They need to revamp 95% of them to fit the increasing demand for more realism.

      Great set for sure JH3.

  12. There is so much to like, and we all know Japan Historics has been a great way to celebrate classic Japanese cars. JH# might be the best yet, so let us count the ways.

    John, you typed “hash” instead of 3 🙂 Caps lock overload LOL! 🙂

  13. I’m a little bit on the fence with this set. I can surely appreciate that it has nice cars but somehow it doesn’t get me excited like JH1. But it’s a good set.

    My favourite is the Skyline. This is the best version of the R30 and if I was asked to keep just one R30 in my collection, this is it. The Honda City looks cool but never been my cup of tea (I’m definitely more of a Civic person) I’d preferred to see it clean just like others. Speaking of clean cars, I’m glad HWs decided to keep the Silvia, Sunny and Cosmo livery-free. And this Silvia goes to show how horrible the FnF one really looked.

    I hope with this set HWs will realize that cars don’t always need liveries to look good. And I’m also hoping that just like how they’re deep diving the JDM world they’ll also do the same thing with Europe, which is waaaay deeper than Japan. We’ve seen the Merc 190E and Volvo 850R already but I hope they keep digging more.

  14. AAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!! More JDM!?!?! Can Hot Wheels give it up already? Enough!! There is so much else out there, and yet here we are with ANOTHER JDM-centric mix.

    I Just Could not Resist….=)

  15. I’m late to the show but I finally picked up the missing puzzle piece to this set. I hate to say it, but the City and Silvia are major peg warmers here. Actually, all but the R30 are found almost anywhere at any time. I hope they keep doing more JH because I entirely missed the first 2 sets. I think they’re due for some mid-90s Japan historics since there’s just so much to go on; Integras, Celicas, MR2s…I would totally pick up a mid-90s Accord in premium before literally any muscle car.

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