By Brad Bannach
Everyone loves a good origin story, right?
It turns out, Hot Wheels collectors are no different. There are so many over the course of the last 52 years -- many of which we'll talk about in future articles. One of the first, however, was that of the rear-loading Beach Bomb in 1969. The original design of the Beach Bomb, by Ira Gilford, called for it to carry its two surfboards in the rear, with the ends sticking out the vehicle’s rear window. The high center of gravity made the vehicle prone to tipping on curves and the casting’s width was not ideal for booster compatibility, causing the team to scrap the plans for the rear-loading version of the casting. Howard Rees designed the revised "side-loading" version, with compartments on the side for the surfboards to be loaded into. A very small run of the rear-loaders was made, causing them to be highly sought after, with values in the tens of thousands of dollars.
HotWheelsCollectors.com (HWC) brought back the rear-loading Beach Bomb -- naming it the Beach Bomb Too -- as part of the inaugural run of HWC series cars in 2002 (Series One), as well as a couple of holiday releases. In 2003, the tooling of the casting mimicked the fate of the original design, as the casting was retooled in favor of the side-loading design. The Beach Bomb Too lived at the top of Red Line Club members' wish lists for years to come, as many yearned for a yearly release, collecting all that came along -- even after it was converted into a pickup. The Beach Bomb Too was one of the most collectible castings of the ‘00s due to its interesting backstory.
The Bugatti Veyron, on the other hand, doesn’t have a comeback story -- at least not yet. The last release of the Veyron casting came in 2010, and rumors about licensing agreements spread rampant in the collecting world back in 2013. Some collectors even went as far as to claim that the previously released versions of the car were going to be destroyed. This sent collectors into a frenzy, causing many to scoop up all instances of the Veyron, while others parted ways with theirs due to the rising value. Ultimately, rumors of the destruction of previous releases proved to be false, but that hasn’t stopped collectors from collecting all of the releases from 2003 to 2010.
Collectors have even gone as far as to project value onto the newly released ‘16 Bugatti Chiron, thinking that casting will give them the same types of returns. As it stands, the Veyron has been discontinued, but the Chiron offers hypercar lovers a Hot Wheels Bugatti at a fraction of the going rate on the secondary market.
HWC has certainly revived some collector favorites over the years. Many vintage Hot Wheels castings saw new life as HWC and Red Line Club releases. One of the more popular requests for a vehicle revival wasn’t an existing casting. Rather, it was for a vehicle featured in a drawing by designer Phil Riehlman. In a 2006 article here on HWC that examined the origin of the Volkswagen Drag Bus, HWCGary uncovered the drawing that Phil originally did as Plan B. Phil’s passion for a drag racing VW Bus eventually won out because of a last-minute sketch he did for that vehicle, but another fan-favorite was born in the process.
When shown in that HWC article, this ‘30s billboard truck caught the eye of collectors. Collectors clamored for the design to be produced. As the voices in favor grew, the HWC team obliged and the Blown Delivery was released in 2010. For the next several years, the Blown Delivery was an instant sellout, as it became a signature piece of HWC for a number of years. The story of its origin may have begun to fade in the minds of collectors, but those that were around remember the campaign that ultimately made the Blown Delivery one of the most collectible Hot Wheels vehicles of its time.
What other Hot Wheels castings have an interesting backstory? Please share with us in the comments below!