Battle of the ’82 Toyota Supras: Hot Wheels vs Matchbox

The new Toyota GR Supra is getting plenty of diecast attention right now. Tomica’s basic range version has already appeared in several colours – including the attractive yellow version in the shareholder set, as detailed in the Lamley article by Hotkustoms (Chen) right here on Lamley – while Kyosho and Hobby Japan have made premium versions.

This post however looks at two of the oldest 1:64 Supra models. I’m not a serious Hot Wheels collector – Matchbox outnumbers HW by about 10:1 in my collection – but when I found a classic Hot Ones ’82 Supra in good shape a few years back, I had to have it. It makes a great pair with my Matchbox version of the same car; I thought it would be fun to compare the two.

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The Matchbox and Hot Wheels versions both appeared in 1983. In full scale, the A60 Toyota Supra was introduced for the 1982 model year, powered by a 2.8-litre inline-six that made around 150-170 HP, depending on the market. The car pictured below is an ’83.

1983 Toyota Supra (Credit: Toyota)

The Mattel model was Hot Wheels’ first Toyota and was designed by Larry Wood. The mainline/Hot Ones release in black is the one I have here. The casting was used only sporadically after the first couple of years, last appearing in the 2012 Hot Ones special series.

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Here’s the ’82 with a later Hot Wheels Supra, the A80 in Falken deco…

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…and with another black model, the Tomica GR Supra from the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. Definitely not as nice as that yellow one.

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The Matchbox version of the ’82 wasn’t used extensively, either. This white debut release from my collection was recoloured in 1985, but the model (casting number MB078) had been dropped from the basic range altogether by the end of 1986.

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One strange detail is that the front and rear plates don’t match: it has a 1982-3, UK-style plate RWF161Y at the front, but just says ‘Toyota’ at the back. Here it is again, alongside another red-and-white Supra – a true 1:64 A70 rally car by CMs – and the later Matchbox A80 in a Tyco-tastic toy fair scheme.

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Further releases of the Matchbox ’82 Supra were limited to an attractive version in Dinky packaging with 8-dot wheels that suit the casting really well – one of several cars put out in 1988, as placeholders after Matchbox acquired the Dinky name – and a nice ‘Twin Cam’ Japan issue in red. The mould then went to Bulgaria and lived on for many years in many different colours, like the brown one shown here.

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Putting the Hot Wheels and Matchbox Supras side-by-side is interesting. We might instinctively associate Matchbox with realism and Hot Wheels with customization, but in the case of this car, it’s Hot Wheels that did the more stock-looking Supra. It’s noticeably narrower than the Matchbox, reflecting the fact that over-scale width was added to many Matchbox designs in this period, for a chunkier feel.

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The Hot Wheels has great details, too – love those tampo-printed rear lights – whereas the Matchbox gets a play-friendly liftback, albeit one without window glass. Those Gold Hot Ones wheels are great, too, and the metal base gives it more heft than the plastic one used on the Matchbox. We sometimes forget that plastic bases have been used for decades…

I’ll always like the Matchbox because I had one as a kid, but if you’re looking for the more realistic model then the Hot Wheels ’82 Supra wins this contest hands down. Hope you enjoyed this brief head-to-head; feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

(Find Hot Wheels 82 Supra on eBay)

(Find Matchbox Toyota Supra on eBay)

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7 Replies to “Battle of the ’82 Toyota Supras: Hot Wheels vs Matchbox”

  1. Dying to see Ryu from Hot Wheels take on a 2nd and 3rd generation Supra. He has been killing it with his Honda’s and Mazda’s of late.

    And I had that white Matchbox one when I was Kid!

  2. For what it’s worth the most recent release of this car by Hot Wheels was a retooling. It’s not the same casting and the details around the rear window are much improved.

  3. Wow, I completely forgot about that black Hot Wheels Hot Ones A60 Supra. I am fairly certain I had that one as a kid. Sadly, I have no idea what ever happened to it. Likely sold, given away or thrown out with the rest of my childhood toys. What a nicely done model. If the tooling is still around, Mattel should totally revisit this one. With all the JDM hype these days I’m sure it would be a big hit.

  4. I owned a 1984 Supra in dark blue. I would really like to find these castings. I am checking the ebay listings now. Thanks.

  5. Love the article .. good read also enjoy your pictures, I have a few of these cars and I’m a big Supra fan but only like the 80,s
    the comparison was amazing. hope to see more. cheers

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