I should call this series “The Gems of Boulevard not called Datsun 510 Wagon”. Lamley and the debut of Jun Imai’s signature car have been intertwined for years, and I have probably written more about it than any other model.
But Boulevard is much more than the 510. It is one of the most interesting releases Hot Wheels has created in the last decade, and makes for an interesting story. One that I have told many times before as well. Too many models coupled with too many mixes over-saturated the market, and Boulevard clogged the pegs, motivating the big box stores to ditch it after 2012. Sadly that was right when Hot Wheels figured it out, creating smaller mixes and releasing them far less frequently. The releases were hard to find, and those models have now become must-haves for so many collectors.
That 2013 mix and the demand among collectors for it led to Car Culture, which is 5 years in and still going strong. So much of the stuff we love now really owes a lot to Boulevard. So much so that Hot Wheels brought it back, and it is bound to be a success.
So I decided it would be a cool idea to dig into some of the individual models from what is now called the Original Boulevard. Essentially give them their due. We get so obsessed with what is coming – I do too – that I think we don’t spend enough time on enjoying what we already have. Boulevard is one of those sets. I don’t have all from the Original, and there are still a handful I would like to have, but I’ve got most I want. So let’s feature them.
Original Boulevard can be broken down into two eras: Pre-2013 and 2013. Pre-2013 was the bloated era. Too many models, too many mixes. Each mix had a theme, and the abundance of models really drowned out the gems interspersed in. 2013 was the Datsun Wagon era. Hot Wheels ditched the themes, and ran with a “what would Hot Wheels folks drive” overall theme. Models were all licensed, and a ton of new castings were introduced.
One of those was the Porsche 993 GT2. This model doesn’t need the attention that others do, as the casting is wildly popular, but it is a good place to start.
We have seen the 993 all over the place. It has been everything from a Zamac to Super TH to RLC Exclusive to Car Culture mainstay. It has been a hit everywhere it’s been, but none can surpass the original, at least in my view.
Jun Imai designed this one too, and that is important to know. Jun is known for his JDM creations, but his lasting legacy might be the wide variety and alignment with various elements of car culture he brought. Sure, he is responsible for plethora of JDM, but this Porsche arrived soon after other collector gems like the E30 M3, Greenwood Corvette, and ‘65 Galaxie, among many many others.
It didn’t just lead to more 993’s, either. Like the Wagon was a precursor to the JDM era, the model ushered in the Porsche era. Hot Wheels had done several Porsches before, but not like this one. The 993 GT2 is a replica of a stock Porsche, but its flared wheel wells and over-the-top spoiler were new to Hot Wheels. Since then we have seen all kinds of Porsches done, most notably the RWB. Jun doesn’t replicate the RWB without doing this one first.
And this one might be even harder to come by than the Wagon. It was, I believe, in the final batch of Boulevard, and was essentially relegated to Tuesday Morning stores – in the western US. Hobby dealers got them, and that how collectors at the time filled their collections.
Even now, there are very few on ebay.
So call this a signature Boulevard, maybe tops alongside the Wagon. I will show a few more that can be considered “Signature” as well, but not at the level of this one.