When Hot Wheels started the Hot Wheels Collectors site and subsequently the Red Line Club, one of the ideas was to bring back some of the original redline-era designs. Along the way, they created new tools of existing castings, giving them a premium feel with opening hoods. The ’68 El Camino, ’68 COPO Camaro, ’68 Nova, Maverick Grabber, ’70 Chevelle and ’67 GTO all received this treatment, however all were fairly current castings at the time and didn’t necessarily have a cult following (well, maybe the GTO and Chvelle did at the time…). When they decided to take older designs to modify this way, was where it got somewhat interesting.
Brought out for the 2008 HWC Series 7 NEO Classics, the Hot Bird received it’s detailed opening hood. Unlike the original that had a tab-post assembly (the headlights acted as the tabs for the front of the assembly), this one received dual-post design. The engine bay is done to mimic the choked 6.6L V8 that these mid-late 70s Trans Ams were equipped with. Unfortunately at the time they didn’t give the engine bays too much detail, but this one was painted black and kept the shaker scoop body color. Simple red stripe accents this one. Lacking was the signature hood “fire chicken”, but in this case I feel it’s good without it to show off the spectraflame more, even despite my hate for brown vehicles.
Despite some of us being rather vocal on the boards on the castings return to the lineup (at least since I had joined the HWC forums in late 2009), this one never received another shot in HPC Spectraflame. Having stayed in the shop for several years likely hindered its return. It did pop up in RLC sElections voting a few times but always got overshadowed. The tooling at least didn’t go to complete waste, as we did get three uses of it for retail: 2011 Cars of the Decades, 2012 Hot Ones and 2013 Retro Entertainment. The casting design in general disappeared for quite a while, seemingly in favor for the ’77 Pontiac Firebird T/A casting, until a retool of the Hot Bird in 2021 for the mainline.
So that is the first in this short series. A long time collector favorite, first debuting in 1978, was given new life in HWC!