By Brad Bannach
Since 2001, new Hot Wheels collectors have come to the forums here on HotWheelsCollectors.com and asked: “What should I collect?” They are usually met with the same response: “Collect what you like.”
Why is that?
Hot Wheels collectors collect for a variety of reasons. Some are automotive enthusiasts who find intrigue in adding cars to their toy garage that they could never add to their real garage. Some love recapturing the cars they had as kids. Some make it their mission to collect everything out there, while others simply collect the castings/releases/lines that appeal to them.
The truth is: any Hot Wheels vehicle can be collectible.
So why do collectors flock to certain things? Why are some Hot Wheels worth more than others?
In the 52 years of the Hot Wheels brand, we’ve seen some pretty crazy reasons why collectors collect what they do. This is the first article in a series of five examining some of today's popular collectible items.
It all started with the Redlines. Henceforth, it is that generation of collector which established Hot Wheels collecting. Respect. Many of the Redlines collectors of today will tell you some version of a story that starts with, “I remember going to the store as a kid in 1968 and seeing these cars with this shiny, Spectraflame paint and redline wheels…” and that the performance of these cars matched the coolness factor. Whether they kept their childhood collection, or started reclaiming a portion of their youth years later, people we now know as Hot Wheels collectors found any means necessary to obtain those California Custom Miniatures they knew as a kid -- becoming the first generation of the Hot Wheels collector.
Similar stories have been told throughout the toy collecting world, as it echoes a common trait among adult collectors: collecting toys that were childhood favorites.
There have been many examples of the nostalgia factor turning adults into collectors over the years, as the brand shifted from Redlines to Blackwalls, and Real Riders to Treasure Hunts. Even the stand-alone lines like the Sizzlers (‘70-’73), RRRumblers (‘71-’73), and Crack-Ups (‘85-’87) have niche followings.
Head to any official Hot Wheels convention to chat with fellow collectors, or do it right here in the HotWheelsCollectors.com forums, and you’ll hear many great stories as to why these Hot Wheels collectors collect what they do. Every generation has its own grouping of products that existed, so...
What Hot Wheels are the young adults of today collecting?
The Hot Wheels brand has become exponentially more diverse compared to where it started in 1968 with the Redlines. The young adult collectors of today grew up in a world of multiple product lines, so there isn’t just one avenue of the brand that they collect. With that said, probably the more surprising revelation to the “traditional collector” is the interest younger collectors have taken in the AcceleRacers line.
To many, that was their youth. From the four squads in the animated movies to the special co-mold wheels that adorned the vehicles, these clearly resonated with kids at the time. Collectors largely ignored the line in 2005 and 2006 before it was ultimately dropped by retailers. Now? Check the eBay “sold listings” to see the high price some of these vehicles demand on the secondary market 15 years later.
Looking to complete the set and need an original Chicane or Reverb in the package? Be prepared to spend as these no longer come cheap on the open market.
Ultimately, it goes to show that no matter the era, Hot Wheels collectors exist at all ages. Many of those collectors collect nostalgic pieces, reminiscing of much simpler times. This is not the only reason why certain Hot Wheels are collectible, but certainly one of the more easily identifiable concepts surrounding the Hot Wheels collector. In part two we will look at Variants & Variations.
Which Hot Wheels do you collect for nostalgic reasons? Let us know in the comments!
Edited by BIGBADBRAD01