And just like that, another year of great diecast releases has passed and I’m back with the agonizing task of selecting my Top 10*. The smart person in me decided shortly after last year’s conclusion to start keeping a list early on. But then life happens, and so many brands release jaw droppers in quick succession and before you know it, it’s
November December January February and I really can’t recall anything. It has truly a year to remember as a collector, with blockbusters being produced by every brand, every month, that spread many wallets paper thin. Premium price points were increased and exceeded, yet momentum was maintained to push the envelope further. Finding a focus would help reel in unnecessary spending, but as you’ll see from my list, I’m still working on that.
That said, let’s dive in, in no particular order.
*It should be noted that there are far more than ten “categories” from the various manufacturers. Therefore any and all overflow will be directed to an Honorable Mention list.
Mini GT Hyundai Elantra N (Cyber Gray metallic)
I could spend an entire post on Mini GT, for good and for worse. They’ve released some incredible castings over the last few years, but you’d be forgiven if you think of them only as a Liberty Walk, Porsche or Bugatti manufacturer. But like a frugal business, they’re capitalizing the best they can on each licensing partnership.
One of the newest is with Hyundai and their Elantra N casting in Cyber Gray metallic is a great representation of the 1:1. All the details of the performance sports sedan are there, including the, err, unique front end and the chromed twin exhaust tips. The multi-spoke wheels also fill the wells nicely. With a few alternate colorways, putting this Korean sedan in your collection is a must.
Hot Wheels Red Line Club 1990 Chevy 454 SS
The Hot Wheels Red Line Club released a handful of heavy hitters in 2022. But none, in my opinion, swung harder than this one. The memorable paint scheme, two opening parts, and properly slammed stance culminate in a collector’s piece that is hard to ignore.
Add in some nostalgia as I recall when these were just a few years old and still very special then, and it’s a no-brainer I’d elevated this one about the rest of the RLC releases.
GCD Toyota Previa
The gimmick with GCD castings is the ability to position the front wheels like you’re steering a real car. It’s mostly a successful party trick and in the case of this Previa, works well to enhance its already convincing realism. The rear lights are a bit clumsy (having a color break with amber would have helped), but overall it’s an excellent casting.
Out of the four colors released concurrently, I’ve once again relied upon nostalgia to help me select one. The star of the movie Carpool was a “Seafoam Green” Previa DX which, before getting a magenta repaint, is very similar to the color portrayed here. The film might have flopped, but I can see this casting leaving a more lasting impression on collectors.
Pop Race Mitsubishi Starion
With the pool of popular 80s coupes still not cast drying up by the day, it’s nice to see Pop Race tackling the underappreciated Starion. Of course, the Tarmac Works versions share the body on a lowered (and stationary wheeled) stance, and Auto World is set to release the boxed fender version in early 2023, but the free-wheeling Pop Race takes the cake. Its narrow stance and detailed 5-spoke wheels accentuate the painted details and separate lights nicely. And who can argue the silver release is superior to the upcoming black?
PARA64 1984 Toyota Celica Supra
PARA64 has released a handful of new castings this year, including the bizarre yet memorable Cizeta V16T. In Toyota’s corner, the ’84 Celica Supra offers a premium version of a model that often gets left behind in favor of the two subsequent generations.
It’s nice to see an affordable, yet detailed casting of this Japanese coupe. The first releases include Super Red and Super White and both have the pop-up headlights in the on position. Rad.
Schuco Porsche 964 Turbo
Schuco has the air-cooled Porsche market cornered and continues to serve up the most tasteful versions of the 911, including this 964 3.6 Turbo.
In contrast to the initial black release, with the Turbo script and gold mesh wheels, this traditional silver with the fanciest 3-piece wheels really strikes a cord.
Hot Wheels Car Culture Jay Leno’s Garage ’66 Chevrolet Corvair Yenko Stinger
This casting is prime Mark Jones material. Take a somewhat overlooked car that is the Corvair, add in a rare version of it tuned by Yenko, and lay it low on some tiny RR8SP wheels and you’ve got an instant classic in my opinion.
The proportions are pleasing and the graphics are accurate to the 1:1, right up through the front Stinger badging. While it’s tough to be in the same crowd as the two Countaches, don’t sleep on this release because I can’t imagine subsequent ones are going to top it.
Hot Wheels BMW M Collector Set 2001 BMW M5 E39
For a car that went on sale over two decades ago and lauded for even longer, it’s puzzling why it took this long to be recreated in miniature scale. But put those questions aside, as Phil Riehlman’s casting immediately rights all the wrongs.
Released in a box set with the E46 M3 and F87 M2, the M5 shared the M-graphics treatment over gray 5-spoke Real Riders. This casting is going to look great covered in Le Mans blue and fitted with a new mesh-style wheel.
Tomica Limited Vintage Subaru Impreza Pure Sports Wagon WRX STi Version VI Limited (99)
The monthly TLV preview is something of an occasion for me. I eagerly start checking their webpage on the ninth of each month, waiting patiently for their upcoming releases to be posted. When I first saw they were tooling up a WRX Wagon, I was ecstatic.
Having it in hand is even more satisfying. The first release was this blue paired with a Cashmere yellow example. An absolute must-have for any JDM collector.
Although I mentioned above that these were in no particular order, I’m having trouble deciding on the final Top 10 spot. It’s coming down between the Matchbox 3000GT and GreenLight’s excellent first-gen Ford Taurus casting. Allow me a moment to really ponder my options.
Ok, enough thinking about it. I bet if I didn’t even bring it up, I could have easily slid 11 choices under your noses without no much as a tickle. No numbering, no counting, no detection. Now on with the list.
Matchbox Mitsubishi 3000GT
Matchbox is continuing their tear with an affordable and well-done recreation of a Japanese super coupe. While the first generation was created in the days before the MK4 Supras and FD RX-7s, it was this second-gen that really took the large Mitsubishi coupe and bumped it to the next level.
The MBX casting is proportionate and crafty, utilizing the window piece to portray the headlights. And just check out the triple gauge binnacle on the dash – points!
GreenLight Vintage Ad Series 8 1989 Ford Taurus
If there is one thing that GreenLight does well, it’s recreate benign sedans for multiple applications. Case in point is this excellent Ford Taurus. A car that kickstarted a three-box revolution and sold in droves, it’s a good day if you see one on the road. I can’t recall the last time that happened for me.
Besides being cast in this period attire of tan over gray, it was also pressed into service as a Utah Highway Patrol car in Hot Pursuit Series 41, among other roles. Future possibilities are certainly endless.
There are a few Honorable Mentions that are for pieces that would have made the cut had I pushed out my Top 10 to include them. It makes sense to me.
Hot Wheels Car Culture Deutschland Design 2 1994 AMG-Mercedes C-Class DTM Touring Car
A phenomenal casting with an even more incredible livery. This DTM racer, designed by Mark Jones, is worlds beyond the late-90s take by Dave Weise, which was a casting that went quietly into the night in 2003.
To top off the casting, the card art was designed by my buddy Ethan from 8380Labs. The jewel in this Car Culture crown.
GreenLight All-Terrain Series 12 1991 Chevrolet S-10 Baja
Besides capitalizing on bland sedans, GreenLight does a great job digging deep into a model line’s special offerings. Case in point is the Baja appearance package for the first generation S-10. Even the tire markings, with my model’s being a tad off-center, are accurate to most pictures of 1:1s I’ve seen. Although a road test in All Chevy magazine August 1989 had Uniroyals mounted.
The casting is sharp, with little nubs for side mirrors to help add some width to the otherwise narrow body. While I haven’t taken out the micrometer yet, I’m sure the dimensions are accurate.
Hot Wheels Japanese Tuners Collectors Set ’91 Nissan Sentra SE-R
An underdog in the sport compact scene or a giant killer whose life was cut short after just three years? The original SE-R featured Nissan’s SR20 motor, sans turbo, putting its performance at the top of the pack for the times.
The Hot Wheels casting, created by…Mark Jones…looks to educate the collecting public on a car whose reputation has yet to elevate its value. The initial release in blue with the tiny 5-spoke wheels and ground scraping stance is just about perfect. Here’s to hoping a red version is coming down the pipeline.
GreenLight Hobby Exclusive 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Escambia County, FL Sheriff
I’ve complimented GreenLight on their malaise and obscure model options, but their true talents lie within the Hot Pursuit line and subsequent Hobby Exclusives. In this case, the ’21 Tahoe decked out in Florida green sheriff’s uniform is near perfect.
From the tinted windows (which are a bit pushed in on the driver’s side) to the accurate license plate, to the actual heft of the model, GreenLight’s Tahoe is a welcome addition to any collector’s fleet.
So that’s it for my 2022 Top Picks. As it stands, 2023 is looking to be even harder for narrowing down new castings into a tidy Top Ten, but I’ll start making notes now and do my best. I’d love to hear your opinions, and even your own choices. Leave a comment or hit me up on social under Bearded Mug Media or my diecast focused page, Onesixtyfourland. Cheers!