Hey all! So I know I’ve been slacking on making articles this year. I’ll hopefully get working on that. Married with two kids, new full time job I started at the end of 2021, general life chaos. But that didn’t stop me from obtaining pieces on the year! As the prior two years, I list off my favorite 2022 releases (calendar-year releases outside of HW 2022 mainline), as well as my 10 favorite adds in 2022 (stuff I added to the collection that were released before 2022). But if you miss my input, do check out my YouTube channel that I’ve been uploading to sporadically (I have another 30+ videos yet to load, haha). I have two rules for my list: I have to have it in hand, and it has to be loose. These are in no order, just how I listed them off in my notes. So without further ado, let’s go!
Favorite releases of 2022:
Hot Wheels 1977 Dodge ‘Midnite Express’ Truck, Premium Display
The second this casting debuted, my mind immediately went to this rare version of the original “muscle truck” from the 1970s. A dealership special order, I believe only from a few states, this truck is indeed a rare breed. I was quite disappointed when the second colorway of the New Model release was in purple of all colors. After going premium in the 2018 50th Anniversary Favorites line, we now finally get this sinister truck in Hot Wheels. While a bit of a pain only being available in those pricey Hot Wheels premium display sets (featuring 3 “normal” premium cars and a Team Transport truck all in one scenery display box), the price of admission was worth it just to get this (though thankfully the other 2 trucks as well as the transporter are also awesome in this set).
Hot Wheels 1990 Chevy C1500 454SS, Redline Club
This one was a no brainer for me. Chevy’s “OBS” truck from 1988-1998 (for the “normal” truck anyway) was a huge part of custom truck culture in the 90s, and this version of it truly ushered in the “muscle truck” era, albeit slowly. Brendon Vetuskey, true to his way of doing Hot Wheels, of course went custom on this. Keeping the body stock he gave it a lowered stance as well as throwing a supercharger on that massive engine under the hood. Complete with the opening hood and tailgate, the RLC treatment fits this beautifully. Though I personally would have picked different wheels for it, this thing just looks sinister sitting there.
Johnny Lightning 1981 Chevy Silverado Zinger, Street Freaks 2021 R3 Version A, purple w/ green flames
A few Zingers made my last year, 2022 is no different. Now, technically, this was supposed to be a 2021 release, part of the Street Freaks 2021 Release 3 mix. But with everything going on, it got delayed quite a while (and sadly going into 2023, the delays don’t appear to be getting any better). These popped up for release in the spring. Dolled up in metallic purple with the lime green flames (I’m a sucker for non-red/orange/yellow/white flames), and NOT using the “typical” Zinger engine JL has used for a long time, this one stands out among the several other Chevy squarebody Zingers they have made.
Greenlight 1964 Chevy Impala, Lowriders Release 1, “Gypsy Rose” Tribute
Another release that was technically for 2021 but delayed for release into 2022, Greenlight’s debut for the 1964 Impala will likely never be topped by them. Either done up as a direct copy of the Gypsy Rose lowrider, or just done to be inspired by it, this was sure to be the standout car from GL’s California Lowriders Series 1 mix. There was no way this one wasn’t going to be included. I know many of us here get on GL’s case about quality issues, but from what I had seen this mix suffered very little of that. Here’s hoping they can keep that going.
Hot Wheels 1994 Mercedes AMG C-Class DTM Touring, Car Culture
A second coming of this car so-to-speak, with Hot Wheels having done a Mercedes C-Class back in 1997. But this one? This one is absolutely killer. No CC release this year had better deco (or any other car out of the Thailand plant, for that matter). It’s so cleanly done here. While most were focusing on the black chase cars from the line, this one is easily the best new tool debut out of Car Culture for me, and Hot Wheels will be hard pressed to try to top this debut with future uses.
Johnny Lightning 1973 Plymouth Road Runner, Street Freaks R3
Cheating here because I’m using both colors. But this is my list and I’m doing what I want, haha. Another Auto World turned Johnny Lightning Zinger, this was another perfect casting for them to use. The Zinger look really looks great on the 1970s cars, and the Road Runner was a perfect candidate. The metallic lime-green-yellow one is my favorite, but there’s no denying that Grabber Orange-esque one also stands out. Not using wild graphics helps here as well.
Hot Wheels 1962 Ford F100, Redline Club, blue shop truck
This casting was easily making my 2022 list. I would have chosen the orange and white debut, HOWEVER, when I opened my orange one, I noticed something with the white paint that I only noticed under my light: the white on the body vs. the white on the hood didn’t quite match. Awesome release, don’t get me wrong, but that was distracting once I noticed it. But this blue shop truck one? It’s just so fitting for this casting. Designed with the work horse inline 6 instead of a typical and predictable V8, this truck is just set apart from the rest of the HW lineup, designed as a true cruiser instead of a performance machine.
Johnny Lightning 1980 Monte Carlo, Classic Gold 2022 R1 Version A “Claret Poly”
So, I argued for the black 1978 Monte for the Lamley 64 Royal Rumble, because I felt it had the wider appeal. HOWEVER… for me personally, this “claret poly” one that was the public debut of the 1978-1980 Monte along with the “yellow” version B counterpart is the better looking one. And honestly only for one reason: the wheels. I’m not a fan of JL’s wire-wheel looking piece, and this was the only Monte so far to get these. And actually, in my random internet surfing, I found an ad for the 1980 Monte Carlo Turbo in this color with wheels similar looking wheels (JL doesn’t really have car-specific wheels). Maybe a coincidence (pic can be seen here as well as here)? JL has been known to pull their reference for releases from all over (look at a bunch of the movie-inspired Forever 64 releases, for example).
Auto World 1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V, Premium Release 2022 R1 Version A “Midnight Jade”
So it took a bit to appreciate this casting. But man is it awesome. And this dark green one just works for me! And really, who doesn’t like a boat for a personal luxury coupe? These large cars are definitely a specialty for Auto World. The green doesn’t show up great in my pics, but it’s a great color for this one. The metallic gold one that was done opposite this release was seemingly the more popular color, but I love this dark green.
M2 1957 Chrysler 300C “SRT”, metallic powder blue
I love how M2 has been doing these classic MOPARS in simplistic SRT deco. This 300C in power blue? *Chef’s kiss*. We harp on M2 due to quality issues. But the issues haven’t been too prevalent this year, and this 300C is basically perfect. Plus it’s much nicer than that baby-food-pea-soup colored one that came not long after, HAHA.
Favorite collection adds in 2022
Hot Wheels 1970 Chevy Nova, 2008 Modern Classics
So, cheating again because I’m counting both colors. One of several new tools from the era that sadly hasn’t seen any releases since, I finally obtained these 14 years after they came out. I made a post about early in the year, and it actually had an impact on a few long time collectors, including them tracking down the cars for themselves. So that was an awesome compliment. But beyond that, I love all these new tools from this time. It’s such a shame Jun’s creation here has been essentially left to rot. There’s still some mild hope for a return (one of the castings in an upcoming Car Culture mix hadn’t been used since 2012), but for now I’ll cherish these lone, odd-proportioned Chevy Novas.
Johnny Lightning ’77-’78 Dodge Pickups, numerous releases
Again, doubling up on cheating but whatever. It’s my listing. First debuting back in 1997, this Dodge Lil Red Express truck has a popular one from the start. And like most brands outside of Hot Wheels and Matchbox, I didn’t really pay too close attention back then. Going back and getting these Johnny Lightning cars I remember seeing at Walmart and Kmart over 20 years ago has been fun, and I’ve been going all in trying to get these awesome trucks. Front and center above are the White Lightnings of the 3rd and 4th releases of the Truckin’ America releases, back when it was blatantly obvious you found a White Lightning chase car, (the red below being the normal version of that 4th release). Intermixed in here are two Warlock releases, a Midnite Express, and the mustard Lightning Speed release. Still 6 more of the casting to go (ignoring the Kiss and USPS releases), and sure to be favorites of mine for years to come.
Auto World 1971-1972 Mustangs, multiple releases
OK, MAJOR cheating here because I’m late to the Auto World game. The behemoth Mustang has been a favorite since my childhood, and I’m aiming to get every one of these AW tools. Still a few to go, but I do have a few of the harder to get ones, like that silver one, the lime green and the black one (last one thanks to fellow Lamley writer ChampionDJK). I was even able to pick up the Ultra Red chase for the debut release for a price I was willing to pay (and I’m kind of cheap lol). The two Boss 351 releases and a hobby only 1972 are also in the collection, just not shown in these pics. Still need to track down the Licensed Premium Release 3 versions and 2018 Release 4B. Only thing I hope for now is someone does a hardtop version (all I have seen from anyone is the sportsroof shown here and convertibles).
Greenlight Hobby Exclusives Terlingua Mustangs pair
So last year I added the 1967 Terlingua racing team continuation coupe to my collection. I added the 1966 fastback and the 2008 tribute this year. Despite the hood issue on the 2008 (after opening it, I can’t get the damn thing to sit closed now, it keeps popping up a bit), I still love this now-trio that I first read about 15 years ago. Not much more to say here, I just love this set for this classic race team.
Johnny Lightning 1969 Chevy Impala, Street Freaks Projects in Progress
I love the 1969 Chevy Impala casting. I thing the Projects in Progress subset is an interesting concept. Combing the two? PERFECT. The mismatched body panels combined with a primer door and deck lid, and this being one of my all time favorite JL castings, I wish I was paying attention when Round 2 brought the brand back. I’m still playing catch up, but these two will hold as favorites for sure. Plus, because I’m wacko and love the Zingers, I have two extras that may find their way to the Zinger chassis…
Auto World 1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL, “super stock” releases
From when Round 2 was doing 4 versions of every mix for each line, and not seen again. The super stock hood and raised base was first used here, based on the fiberglass bodied, 427ci equipped factory drag cars. But they weren’t used together again, at least not yet. Plus the engine piece with the dual intakes hasn’t been used again. The “teardrop bulge” hood was used on two convertibles, and the raised base for the 2019 release of the Galaxie. But these 3 (and the red one I don’t have yet…) are the only time all 3 pieces were used together. (And as a bonus, that red one back there? Ultra Red of the 2019 release).
Toy Zone Tom Daniel Ice-T in black
So, I REALLY wish I knew about these when they were new some 12ish years ago. I definitely would have picked them up. Tom Daniel’s kit designs really played to our imaginations, and any time they end up realized in diecast form it’s a fun time. I believe there were two runs that Toy Zone did, the initial run in the original colors, and another with most of them done in black. The Ice T looks so awesome here in black with the white walls. They are larger scale, equivalent to 1:43, so they definitely have some heft to them. And they are quite well detailed. Going to take a while to attempt to complete this collection, because they are not cheap. But the journey will be fun!
Hot Wheels 1931 Classic Woody, Hot Wheels Collectors NEO Classics Series 11
The original intent for the Hot Wheels Collectors line was to give adult collectors something just for them, resurrecting many old tools and making them ultra premium with hand polished bodies and true spectraflame paint. Unfortunately many of these resurrections only saw one release, this Classic 1931 Ford Woody is no different. Released for the 2012 NEO Classics Series 11, they chose the quite rare color for the original for tribute. Always a bit of an odd casting, with two sets of exhaust pipes (you can see them under the front fenders as well as out the back in the pics below), but this is an old school collector favorite and was quite the hit when it came out (despite sitting in the shop for a while, which was kind of normal at the time more often than not). Only 4000 pieces, I was able to add a second one to open early in the year. So cheating again, but whatever, haha.
Greenlight 1965 Dodge Coronet, Muscle Car Garage, 2008-ish
From back when Greenlight was putting out consistently good quality, this sinister 1965 Dodge Coronet hits the muscle car nerve of my mind just right. This version of the tool didn’t get used too often as well, making this one a bit special (honestly I only know about this “stock” one and the “custom” counterpart that use this tool; the other 1965 Coronets from Greenlight are all the ones that have the interchangeable roof to be a hardtop/coupe or convertible). Mopar Muscle has always been a favorite, and this Coronet is just a killer look.
Johnny Lightning 1968 Chevy Impala, Pro Collector Storage Tins 2019 Release 1
An underutilized casting from Johnny Lightning (at least in my opinion), these quite scarce Collector Tin releases found their way to my collection over the summer. Only 2000 of each color, I was amazed to come across these for non-eBay prices. The white one unfortunately suffers a little from the infamous lean that JL sometimes suffers from, but that’s not stopping my love for this pair. Here’s hoping more of this casting is to come, including for a *fingers crossed* Zinger! One can hope… Haha
And there you have it, my favorite 2022 releases, and favorite additions in 2022! Let me know what you all think!
Oh, and a quick honorable mention, these Micro Machine Monster Trucks from the 90s! Grabbed these from a collector on Instagram. And how can you NOT love these things?
Seriously, how can one not love these things?!