So, I’m going to start another series of articles that I’ll simply call “You Pick It!”. On my Doomus_RLC Instagram stories I’ll post a poll, generally with two cars. Whichever wins, I’ll do up an article on. To start it’s mostly going to be Hot Wheels HWC/RLC models but I’ll expand it later on. So let’s get to it!
For those that don’t know, the RLC sElections series is a line mildly controlled by collectors. The team picks come castings for the collectors to vote on, and the winner in the end gets made. Then we are able to pick wheels, color and sometimes the deco style used. Sometimes, rarely but it does happen, there’s a flub and the final result can’t be made. This Gremlin Grinder is the result of one such case.
For the second choice of that year, the casting choices were 32 Ford Vicky, Mantis, Gremlin Grinder, Whip Creamer, Beatnik Bandit, Side Kick, Silhouette and Aeroflash. Hey, this was a time when HWC was more about the heritage of the brand than where it is today. Anyway, the vote came down to the Beatnik Bandit and Gremlin Grinder; the Bandit won, 51% to 49%. Antifreeze green won the color vote and the masses chose redline NEO Classics for the wheels.
Fast-forward to getting it licensor approved. And Mattel hits a snag… I’m not sure exactly what happened, but the short answer is that Mattel was denied from making the car due to the copyright holder. I think there were issues with who exactly owned the rights to Ed Roth’s designs at the time. So, since the Bandit couldn’t be done, what to do?
Well, they put up another vote.
For this last minute deal, they chose the Gremlin Grinder (since it was what lost to the Bandit) and the SS Express (custom “spoilers” ’70 Chevelle which lost to the winner of the first sElections choice that year). The Gremlin won in another rather close vote, 52% to 48%. They kept the color and wheel choices.
Unfortunately, probably partially due to the fact that it was a last minute change so collectors were none-too-thrilled with losing the Bandit, and also that the 2008 NEO Classics series release was still plenty available in the shop, and factor in the state of the economy at the time, this one had the lowest number ordered to that point of the sElections series: 3071. Unfortunately, we never saw the casting again. Word was that in planning for the 2011 Hot Ones line, they looked to see if the tool was available and it sadly wasn’t.
Despite the fact that the smoke colored one from the 2008 NEO Classics line had a deco homage to the original green and Super Chromes release from the 1970s Flying Colors era, I like the simpler deco of this, with just the off-center stripe running front to back. Throw in the added details and the little gremlin decal on the back, and this truly is one of the best but underrated sElections releases of the line.