Part three of this series, the Purple Passion was the first casting design that Hot Wheels designer Larry Wood was allowed to design with collectors in mind. Designed as a lowrider (at least low for the time) with body molded fender skirts hiding the rear wheels, severely chopped roof and custom protruding rear bumper-like metalwork, this highly customized ’49-51 Mercury was an instant favorite and paved the way for the real collector market. It’s had a hell of a run since its 1990 debut, being released at all levels of the brand, and with many names over the years (Ruby Red Passion, Steel Passion, Gold Passion, Pearl Passion, Mean Green Passion). It was inevitable a HWC release would happen, and collectors got more than they probably thought they would.
Despite two early HWC releases, 2005 saw the opening hood tool update, debuting in 2005’s HWC Series 4 Real Riders in red (I still need to get a loose one of that one…). The teal one featured here was done for the 2006 6th Nationals convention, back when HWC did releases for the conventions (outside of the RLC party car). The nature of the casting does hinder viewing the engine bay some, but it’s classic hot rod with the triple carburetors. What most likely didn’t expect to happen was what followed in 2007: the Purple Passion Convertible. Essentially taking the opening hood tool and just cutting the roof off (though more than that goes into the tooling creation, of course), it debuted in the Series 6 NEO Classics. An interesting touch was the scallops design, which were that of the original 1990 Purple Passion but done in a lighter purple instead of green. One thing I found interesting about these two specifically, as well, was that the rear wheels were larger than the fronts, the only time any Purple Passion was released like that.
The normal roofed Purple Passion received a few releases over the years: red HWC RRs, this teal Nationals release, a 2008 mail in, and Larry Wood Farewell release in 2009 (which used deco exactly like the debut of the original Purple Passion from 1990). The convertible, however, only ever saw this release. And, just like the ’57 Chevy last week and the Hot Bird the week before, both releases shown here hung out in the HWC shop for several years after release. It’s hard to believe this happening in the current state of the hobby, but it did.
Check out the opening hood Purple Passion and Purple Passion Convertible on eBay!