Lamley Awards 2022: Graham Heeps counts down his Top 10s of 2022

As part of the annual Lamley Awards festivities, Lamley contributors are counting down their favourite models of 2022. Today it’s my turn to pick my Top 10 new models of the year. As usual I’ve stuck to cars that I have in my hand, rather than cool stuff I’ve seen elsewhere, or cars I’ve ordered but haven’t arrived yet. Let’s get going!

10) Hot Wheels Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI

The Alfa 155 is one of my favourite race cars of all time. This is a cool new Hot Wheels casting that I would have placed higher if the shade of red weren’t so bright. This car raced in a ton of colourful liveries so hopefully there are some great versions to come.

(find Hot Wheels Alfa 155 on eBay)

9) Tarmac Works Lancia 037 Rally

The first car in Tarmac Works’ new Hobby64+ line, complete with opening parts and fancy packaging, is mighty impressive. If it rolled cleanly and the shut line were a little tighter, it would be perfect, because the Martini-liveried machine of Markku Alén from the 1984 Safari Rally hasn’t been beaten by the subsequent releases, and maybe never will!

(find Tarmac Lancia 037 on eBay)

8) Hot Wheels Volvo 142 GL

This recent Car Culture release from the AutoStrasse set has timeless Volvo design, Mark Jones’ childhood memories and Hot Wheels’ custom-car flair wrapped up in one fabulous turquoise package. Even if you think you won’t like it, you will! Read the full story here.

(find Hot Wheels Volvo 142 GL on eBay)

7) Matchbox ‘61 Jeep FC-170

The FC caught me completely by surprise when I picked it up at the Matchbox Gathering in July. Part of it is that vibrant colour, but mostly it’s the chunky metal-ness of it combined with delicate design details. Pity about the big ol’ support post down the middle of the cab.

(find Matchbox ’61 Jeep FC-170 on eBay)

6) Matchbox Ram Ambulance

A real surprise, this one. I’m not a truck or ambulance collector, but something about the combination of a substantial metal body, comprehensive front-end detailing and a licensed deco from right here in Canada made me pick this as my favourite Moving Parts release. It’s even ahead of cars that would ordinarily hold greater appeal for me, like the Range Rover. This model has been tough to find, but I finally tracked it down at our Calgary Toy Show in October. Click here for my article on Canada-themed diecast!

(find Matchbox Ram Ambulance on eBay)

5) Mini GT Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evolution

I’ve bought very few Mini GTs recently – too many pointless supercars and not enough classic race or rally machines for my middle-age tastes! But I had to have this one, and it doesn’t disappoint. I passed on the debut release (the 1992 show car) and went for Didier Auriol’s 1000 Lakes winner. For more on this and other Deltas, have a look at my recent Lamley Daily.

(find Mini GT Delta Integrale on eBay)

4) Matchbox Opel Kadett

The debut release of the Kadett is just about perfect, give or take some front-end detailing, but then Matchbox and Dirk Schleuer went and topped it with the black-and-yellow special edition for the Leipzig convention. Can’t wait to get my hands on that one.

(find Matchbox Opel Kadett on eBay)

3) Matchbox Porsche 918 Spyder

In a year when a series of ugly Lamborghinis seemed to propel the hypercar hype machine, Matchbox did a brilliant job on this crisp Porsche 918 Spyder. I’m pretty sure it would have gotten far more attention had it been a Hot Wheels. It’s my Matchbox Basic of the year.

(find Matchbox Porsche 918 Spyder on eBay)

2) Hot Wheels Mercedes-Benz AMG C-Class Racer

As a two-time Alfa owner and 155 fan I fully expected to place the new Hot Wheels model above any other mainstream race-car release in 2022. Instead, it’s this, another Mark Jones DTM design, that takes the cake. If you’re a stickler for accurate 1:64 scaling then you’ll think it’s a little on the large side, but for me it’s the best new Hot Wheels of 2022. For the full story, check out my Lamley Daily post from earlier in the year.

(find Hot Wheels 1994 Mercedes DTM on eBay)

1) Matchbox Draggin’ Wheels

In an article for Lamley back in the Spring I wrote, “It’s only April but I’m struggling to see how Matchbox will top the Draggin’ Wheels, the Volkswagen Beetle dragster that was sold through Mattel Creations back in January.” It didn’t get any better, but not for want of trying. There were terrific Matchbox Basic and, especially, Moving Parts releases throughout the year but for me, nothing beats this Mattel Creations model. The perfect mix of the new and the nostalgic, a spectacular colour, a great deco by Michael Heralda and perfect wheels, it’s my favourite new model of 2022!

(find Matchbox Draggin’ Wheels on eBay)

Honourable mentions

Here are the models that didn’t quite crack my Top 10.

I’ve seen pretty much no chat at all about the clean new Hot Wheels Mainline version of the Lucid Air, which is a pity because it’s perfectly executed. Like the surprisingly stock GMC Hummer EV, it could have been a Matchbox. Maybe that’s why I bought them both! Looking forward to comparing the Hummer with MB’s own Moving Parts version next year.

(find Hot Wheels Lucid Air on eBay)

(find Hot Wheels GMC Hummer EV on eBay)

Speaking of understated but perfectly drawn new EVs, how about the Matchbox Ford F-150 Lightning?

(find Matchbox F-150 Lightning on eBay)

Finally, some more excellent new Matchbox Moving Parts castings: the C8 Corvette (check out that inkjet-printed V8), the 1975 Range Rover and the sharp-looking Porsche 911 – which with metal doors, escaped the worst of the paint-mismatching that’s afflicted far too many Moving Parts releases.

I should add that the Morris Minor Convertible is spectacular, but I don’t have it yet, which by default rules it out of my rankings! To make up for it, here’s picture of an FEP that I snapped at the Gathering in July.

(find 2022 Matchbox Moving Parts on eBay)

Top 10 additions to my collection

If you can take another 10, please stay with me just a little bit longer. For this chart, I’ve widened the scope to include cars that aren’t necessarily new releases but were the ones I was happiest to add to my collection during the year. I’ll try to keep it brief; let’s go!

10) Matchbox Nissan 300ZX promo

An unusual model that I stumbled across here in Calgary. The 300ZX is the standard Tyco release from 1996 in a typically loud, paint-splatter finish, but the box sticker was specific to a contemporary Nissan fleet promotion in the USA. A so-so model but a cool piece of history for a Matchbox guy like myself!

(find Matchbox Nissan 300ZX on eBay)

9) Inno64 Texaco Sierra

Released late last year, I had this on pre-order from Tokyo Station and it arrived in the spring when my build-a-box reached the free shipping threshold. Call me cheap, but Canada Post isn’t! It’s a superb model of an iconic car. I especially love those beautiful BBS wheels. There are already many great versions of this casting available, check them all out. Still crossing my fingers for a BTCC one!

(find Inno64 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth on eBay)

8) Lionel Racing Chevrolet Camaro #43

We don’t get the Lionel NASCAR releases in Canada, but I usually find a couple when I go to the States. I wasn’t looking for this version of Erik Jones’s Camaro, as raced at Talladega in 2021, but how could I resist? The complex deco is immaculately reproduced and you can never go wrong with Petty’s #43.

(find NASCAR 43 Camaro on eBay)

7) Majorette Opel Corsa-e Rally

One of the first models I bought this year and still one of the nicest. I don’t buy many Majorettes these days (and the price has unfortunately doubled here in Canada) but this is terrific in the real colours of the Corsa-e Rally show car with an intricate, all-over deco.

(find Majorette Corsa-e Rally on eBay)

6) Tomica Nissan Skyline Turbo-C (March 85G)

Like many of you I’m sure, I keep an eye on the @the_toy_pimp sales on IG. Jeff always has unusual stuff and is a great guy to deal with. I’d missed this in a couple of his previous sales so when he found another, he hooked me up. It was well worth the wait. I bought another from the Kazuyoshi Hoshino Historical Collection as well, the Sunny 1200 Coupe, and I already had the Calsonic Primera. I’ll keep looking for the rest!

(find Tomica Hoshino Historical Collection on eBay)

5) Hot Wheels Porsche 550

When I found the 50th Anniversary Porsche Set in an antiques mall in Idaho this summer, I bought it for the Gulf 917K that I’ve been seeking for years. I was surprised to discover that this tiny 550 was easily my favourite from the set – the paint, the detailed engine and the special wheels place this old model above anything Hot Wheels currently has on sale, in my view. Seek it out!

(find Hot Wheels Porsche 550 on eBay)

4) Matchbox Draggin’ Wheels

Most of the new cars I buy spend a few weeks on my desk or windowsill before heading into a display cabinet or (sorry!) storage. The Draggin’ Wheels lived loose on my desk for months before I finally replaced it with something else. It’s my favourite Matchbox model of the year and sets a benchmark for future Creations releases. For me, $25 should always mean moving parts, special paint and tons of imagination, not a fancy Basic in a box. We won’t talk about the Gulf Corvette…

(find Matchbox Draggin’ Wheels on eBay)

3) Tomica Mitsubishi Dakar Rally Gift Set

I know this is four cars not one, but my party, my rules! I couldn’t separate anything out from this set, which was my best auction win of 2022. Full details in a recent Lamley article but suffice to say that in my book, gift sets don’t get much better than this: exclusive models, authentic decos and amazing packaging. It’s a winner!

(find the Tomica Mitsubishi Dakar Set on eBay)

2) Matchbox 1933 Ford Coupe

An unashamedly sentimental choice. As a kid, Matchbox Speed Shop was my favourite livery on the MB38 Model ‘A’ Ford Van. It was brilliant to see it revived on this 2020 Target Retro release and used again on the ’32 Ford Coupe this year. I picked up both of these models from a friend at the Matchbox Gathering this summer.

(find Matchbox Ford Speed Shop on eBay)

1) Schuco x Tarmac Works VW Golf GTI

Tarmac Works’ focus on the Asian market is neatly counterbalanced by its collaboration with Schuco, which has provided a string of attractive models for lovers of European vehicles. We’ve had the Audi Sport VW T3 van, the BMW 2002 rally cars, a Mooneyes Beetle, some tasty Porsches and this, a Golf from the 1980 Monte Carlo Rally. You have to apply the cigarette advertising yourself, obviously, but the end result is sensational – a crisp casting with appropriate wheels, an authentic livery and wonderful detailing – all for under $15. It’s the best thing I’ve bought all year and if you don’t already own a Schuco Golf, you’re missing out!

(find Tarmac Schuco Golf on eBay)

Honourable mentions

As always, there were a few that just missed the cut.

Another Schuco x Tarmac Works collaboration on a 1970s Monte Carlo rally car, this time the Jägermeister BMW 2002 from 1973. It’s a late-2021 release that arrived too late for me to include last year.

(find Tarmac Schuco BMW 2002 on eBay)

The DTM Mercedes was my favourite new Hot Wheels model of the last 12 months. See above for details!

(find Hot Wheels 1994 Mercedes DTM on eBay)

The Gulf livery has long since been milked to death, but you can’t argue with this classic Hot Wheels model of one of the cars that made it famous, the Porsche 917K.

(find Hot Wheels Porsche 917K on eBay)

The 2021 Toyota set is one of the very best Car Culture releases. For me, the Starlet is the star of the show.

(find Hot Wheels Toyota Starlet on eBay)

And finally… My IndyCar collection received a major boost this year but I’ve singled out this Tony Kanaan 7-Eleven Dallara from 2009: partly because it’s a classic livery, and partly because my kids spent a lot of time buying Slurpees at our local 7-Eleven this summer!

(find Hot Wheels IndyCar on eBay)

Thanks for reading this far. Have a great holiday season and see you in 2023!

(follow me on Instagram @diecast215)

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