Cool Classics with Real Riders: The Way They Should Have Been?

The Cool Classics Series was released in 2013 through 2015. It was the first retail premium line that was completed as planned in quite a while, if not ever, for Hot Wheels. At least, for what had been revealed anyway. However that milestone wasn’t met without some mild controversy and drawback. While the last two mixes ended up being delayed from 2014 into 2015, the series marred by retail price. At the time, they cost the same as Boulevard and such, at $3.50 each, without Real Riders. While I personally loved the Retro Slots wheels that debuted in the series and was really about the only wheel used, it seemed that the primary criticism among collectors was that it didn’t come with those wheels for the price.

So, for a few of them, I rectified that little issue. Featured here are some simple wheel swaps I did to show what could have been, something that may have helped the line gain more traction in collector circles.

The swaps are as follows:
’63 Pymouth Max Wedge (base swap w/ 2011 Garage release 2)
’84 Mustang SVO (base swap w/ 2013 Boulevard)
’65 Ford Galaxie (base swap w/ 2012 Racing)
’67 Olds 442 (wheel change w/ Boulevard ’84 Mustang SVO)
SS Express (wheel change w/ Boulevard Demon)
’87 Toyota Truck (wheel swap w/ Retro Entertainment)
’57 Chrysler 300C (wheel swap w/ Retro Entertainment)

The Galaxie, Max Wedge, Olds and Chrysler came out perfect. I love the rake the 300C received with these wheels (more on that in another article). These slots, as mentioned in my Lamley Daily about the yellow Garage series release, are absolutely perfect for the ’67 Olds 442, and the black rims are a nice contrast to the antifreeze paint.

The SS Express, Toyota truck and ’84 SVO turned out nice, but didn’t quite pop as much as the above 4 did. I think the deep dishes are right for the SS, but not sure they work best in chrome. The wheels on the Toyota were really more a convenience deal, as I had gutted a few of that BTTF truck for a few other “what if 1980s?” scenarios, but they work. The SVO really turned out great, it’s just being the darker colors they don’t “pop”.

I had done a few others, but again they aren’t great. The ’68 Olds 442, with the rather odd dark orange-brown color, nothing could really “save it”, so to speak (had base swapped from a Boulevard release). The spectrafrost gold color and that orange-brown color just don’t look good to me. The Shelby Daytona Coupe seen in the title pic, while done in a great blue and is a fun basic casting, doesn’t work well for real riders. Would have been nice to base swap an AMC Rebel Machine with the Boulevard or Entertainment release, just haven’t had a chance to. I really like this spectrafrost paint but with the lack of support the line had, it’s not likely to return.

So what are your thoughts? Do you think some Real Riders could have really saved this line, or was there just no saving it among the masses?

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12 Replies to “Cool Classics with Real Riders: The Way They Should Have Been?”

  1. I liked this line and I never really understood why most people were so lukewarm on it. Thinking back, I hadn’t realized that these were priced the same as Boulevard though, so I imagine that’s a big part of it. I have just about all of the Cool Classics (plus an error – a car/card mismatch) and I’m really glad I do. I think the Max Wedge just might be my favorite, the Spectrafrost on it looks good enough to take a bite out of it. To be honest, the lack of real riders doesn’t bother me that much, the Retro Slots fit really well with the majority of the castings. If I had to choose between real riders or some front & rear tampo detailing, I’d take tampo in a heartbeat. That said, your Galaxie and 442 swaps in particular look extremely appealing.

    I have mixed feelings about the Retro Slots showing up in mainlines. One on hand it’s great because it’s a fabulous wheel design, but on the other it kind of acts to inch Cool Classics that much closer to feeling like mainlines with metal bases. That said, I have to wonder if Cool Classics might someday be considered a lost classic and gain some cult appreciation.

    1. I get what you’re saying about the Retro Slots, but don’t forget that the 2005-2009 Classics line just used 5sp and 7sp from the mainline with letters or lines. I personally like them showing up more in the mainline, means I’ll have eaasier access to them to drill for customs, haha

  2. I liked the slotted wheels used on most of them, and really thought they might become a replacement wheel for the standard mainline wheel. Turns out, that some of the newer mainlines are showing up with them. One reason I liked them, is because I can paint or leave a silver circle in the wheel well representing a disc brake, and a spot of red to represent a disk caliper. The regular classic line had plastic wheels and so plastic on the cool classics did not bother me. At that time, my only real competition in getting what I wanted was with rr treasure hunts, so I like that I could get all the cool classic casts I wanted. We can start saying we have classic rr’s now, since most of the new rr don’t even have tread making them no better than what they could do with a solid plastic wheel imo. I have some wheel swaps on the 67 mustang, camaro and firebirds. I have enough extra’s of those that I have thought about putting a gloss coat over some to see what they look like.

  3. I loved this line, I got into collecting with the mainline bluebird wagon, and Cool Classics were the first non-mainline series that really caught my eye. I started about halfway through the releases, and I’ve been slowly accumulating the prior releases to finish my set.

    I fine with the retro slots, for me it’s all about the paint and the colors. These wheel/base swaps do look good, but the only one I’d be compelled to copy would be the Toyota truck. I understand not originally having a Retro Slot wheel for this casting since it’d be a one-time use… but they could have chosen something better than what they ended up with, which look AWFUL to me.

    Thanks for the post!

  4. This series phased out of retail right before I got my first job, so unfortunately all of the ones I have are from auctions, etc. That being said, I love this series, partly because I just missed it with timing. And all of the cars I have, I love.

  5. I love a good wheel swap. And I really liked the wheels on the cool classics. I bought a bunch to use on my own customs. I think many complain that any thing above a main line model that doesn’t get real riders is lacking.

  6. This has to be the most labor intensive article I’ve ever seen. The white walls on the 300C are very nice. My problem with the line was the poor distribution in my area. I only found them at TRU. Every now and then I would see one or two of the Straight Pipes hanging in WM. I personally thought the wheel choice worked with most models.At least the wheels received a silver or gold treatment to make them pop which is more than I can say for the present trend of bare plastic “premium” real rider wheels. I feel the slotted wheels and the Spectrafrost paint was what gave the line its identity. Thank you for the great and though provoking article.

  7. Random question because I’m not sure where else to ask… do they still do collectors events at a store? Like the ones they used to do for Kmart where you get to open a case? Thanks in advance. I been out of the game a bit and trying to get back into it.

    1. Not anymore. Gamestop was doing it a couple years but now they just get the cases and put them out, there’s no opening event, per se.

  8. I personally enjoyed this series. I have most of the lineup. This was the set that I could easily find in Walmart, Target, and Toys R Us. Since Boulevards were always obsolete, this was my alternative and the price match wasn’t really a bother. I just loved the vivid spectrafrost paint colors. Also, the selection of cars were great and the artwork was well done. I remember there were card variations to look out for. For example, the Custom Otto that was featured on the card would be released in either blue or red in the first couple of years, then towards the end of the line you could find it in either Orange or Pink. The casting you got was the same but you could get it with two different colored Custom Ottos on the blister pack. This made the series even more collectible. I’m glad I got them when I did since I refuse to pay for eBay prices. I like them but don’t them that bad.

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