Hot Wheels Spoilers, the “Fat Elvis” Editions: Bloated Yet Awesome

2002 HWC editions.

During Hot Wheels’ original Redline era, they designed a few castings they referred to as “Spoilers”, highly customized versions of their existing castings at the time with beefier wheels, exposed engines and, well, spoilers. These were mean looking cars akin to what might be found at the drag strip. Nitty Gritty Kitty (Mercury Cougar), Evil Wheevil (VW Beetle), Boss Hoss (Mustang), Heavy Chevy (Camaro), Light My Firebird (obvious), King Kuda (Plymouth Barracuda), Sugar Caddy (Eldorado) and TNT Bird (Thunderbird). Most of these disappeared when Hot Wheels entered the Flying Colors era, with only the Heavy Chevy seeing a release during this time (though the Boss Hoss Mustang was modified to have a hood and called Mustang Stocker for all its enamel and super chromes glory).

1999 30th Anniversary box set editions

Fast forward several years to 1999, and Hot Wheels has the idea to re-tool come of those original Spoilers castings for a 4 car set. The Heavy Chevy (HC), Nitty Gritty Kitty (NGK), King Kuda and Light My Firebird (LMF) saw their returns with an updated look. There was a mild problem though, they seemed… off. Proportions were odd. They seemed… fat. They affectionately became known as the “Fat Elvis” interpretations of the original castings from 1970.

Those box set ones all featured engine pieces that were much larger than the originals as well. For wheels, HW had done this first attempt at recreating the bearing wheel, which was first featured on the Twin Mill from the 30th anniversary line.

The Light My Firebird, probably my favorite of these 4.

In 2002, when the HWC was really starting, they decided to do all 4 of those spoilers castings, this time with an exposed engine much closer to what they originally featured in 1970. At this point, they re-designed the bearing RL wheel, dubbing the “NEO Classic”.

The Heavy Chevy, probably the most popular of the spoilers. Because Camaro.

All 4 castings eventually received opening hood versions of the tooling. The King, HC and LMF all found their way to the Cool Collectibles black boxes of the time, and the NGK eventually got used for the Preferred series with it’s hood. But the spoilers versions remained after the HWC Series 1 releases, with the Kuda, HC and NGK all receiving Classics Series 3 releases in 2007. The LMF was used for a RLC rewards car in 2006, albiet with the taller window from the hooded Preferred line releases.

King Kuda!

Eventually, the Sugar Caddy, Evil Wheevil, TNT Bird and Boss Hoss all received new updates for HWC/RLC. The Sugar Caddy and Evil Wheevil received quite-true-to-original tools, while the TNT Bird and Boss Hoss had tools that would allow for different engine bays, seemingly so they could get either the spoilers engine or an opening hood tool like the 4 that came before them (the Boss Hoss had at least 2 releases with an opening hood instead of the spoilers engine bay, but the TNT Bird never saw the opening hood version get made). To add, the Boss Hoss was done a bit differently as far as proportions go, though the TNT Bird stayed close to original in that aspect. There also ended up being 4 more spoilers-like castings used at retail as well, all debuting in the Since ’68 line: SS Express (’70 Chevelle), Duster Thruster (’72 Plymouth Duster), Large and in Charger (Custom Dodge Charger, the one based on the original Redline-era casting), and the Custom Mustang Convertible (essentially a convertible version of the Boss Hoss retool). I’ll feature those 4 in a future article.

Nitty Gritty Kitty!

Fast forward to 2017. HWC decided to do another set of spoilers for release, and the LMF, King, TNT Bird and HC all came back. However, the HC had a surprise: a true-to-original retool, complete with TBS (torsion bar suspension)! Many were thrilled, though a little underwhelmed that only the HC got a full retool. The Boss Hoss eventually got a true retool as well, used as a rewards car at the end of that year. But this is all for another time…

Close up of the engine used on the 30th Anniversary ones. I honestly wish they kept this engine piece around for other releases but it’s seemingly disappeared.
The engine piece used on the 2002 HWC Series 1 releases, and all subsequent spoilers castings since.

Anyway, that’s the rough story. If you’ve heard the “Fat Elvis” term thrown around before and wondered why, now you have an idea. I know they aren’t like the original ones, but they’re still fun to collect. And in the end, isn’t that the point of collecting these 3″ cars in the first place?

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