It’s been a big week for Hot Wheels in the UK. First came the Legends Tour UK round, as previously discussed here on Lamley, from which a fantastic winner emerged: a Volvo P1800 Gasser! It’s hard to dislike this mashup of classic US and European styles. Hot Wheels has never made a Volvo P1800, unlike Corgi with its vintage The Saint model or Matchbox, for whom Ryu Asada designed the beautiful MB799 casting that first appeared in 2010. But other Volvos have joined the line recently so hopefully there’d be no licensing obstacle to production, were it to win the final.
Ain’t No Saint (great name!) beat out a custom Citroën 2CV, a sleek, Euro-look Audi 100 Coupe and a Ford Escort Mk1 Speedster, among others, to take home the trophy. The Volvo was bought by owner Lee Johnstone as a bare shell from eBay; its previous owner had wanted to restore but it was too far gone to save, so Lee turned it into a gasser. Powered by a 454cu.in, 600-HP, supercharged Big Block Chevy, the car now lives in Somerset in the West of England and is driven at the strip by Lee and daughters Ellie, Tori and Sarah. Ellie has a PB of 10.01sec at 132mph.
A recent engine mishap will necessitate a rebuild over the winter but I’m sure the job will be less painful if Ain’t No Saint advances through the semi finals of the competition on November 4th and wins the Global Final on November 13th. I think there’s little doubt that it has a stronger chance than the quirky, kart-like Wenckstern Roadster that won the recent round in Germany.
Fast forward a few days and Hot Wheels was back in the news at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, a big historic race weekend at the racetrack in Sussex. As you have probably already seen on the @lamleygroup IG feed and Instagram Live, watch maker IWC Schaffhausen chose the occasion to launch the IWC x Hot Wheels Racing Works collector’s set. Inside a metal toolbox are the comprehensively named Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “IWC x Hot Wheels Racing Works” and one of the rarest Hot Wheels production cars ever made.
Just 50 examples of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL in an IWC race team deco, mounted on a plinth machined by IWC, were built in the Hot Wheels prototyping shop to accompany the watch in the set, which also comes with a screwdriver to remove the model from its plinth!
The Merc utilizes the opening-gullwing-door SL casting that we’ve already seen twice as an RLC model. It’s one of the most detailed Hot Wheels yet seen, with 24 parts and the first deployment of a new wheel style that hides the axle heads.
The watch-car combo was priced at £9,350 (about US$12,900) and all have already sold, bar one that is being auctioned online by Bonham’s until October 22nd to benefit the Two Bit Circus Foundation. However, a second version – Zamac, rather than silver painted, and using the sealed-doors SL casting – was also produced for the launch at Goodwood. These crystal case models were given away to IWC guests and other attendees at the Members’ Meeting, who had to line up at the IWC transporter (you’ll remember that one from Team Transports) and give the password ‘Big Pilot’ in order to secure one! A few were also given away via the Lamley Instagram feed, as you probably saw.
I’m sure a few collectors will lament not having the chance to buy one of these beautiful SLs, but on the flip side I think it’s great that any UK collectors at Goodwood had a shot at an exclusive model, when patchy availability and/or high shipping costs make it tougher to obtain high-end Hot Wheels on that side of the Pond.
Of course, there are already a couple of other IWC Mercedes releases out there that are a whole lot easier to obtain. I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees the (albeit generic) Hot Wheels IWC race transporter in a whole new light after seeing pictures of the real thing!
(follow me on Instagram @diecast215)