Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Lamley Group Hot Wheels Model of the Year: Mad Manga...

Happy New Year!

I hope that 2013 is off to a great start for all our Lamley friends.  And please know of my sincere appreciation to each one of you for making the Lamley Group's first year a tremendous success.

We will continue to review some of our favorites from 2012 in the coming days, but we thought today would be a great day to reveal OUR choice for Hot Wheels Model of the Year.

Collector's spoke, and their choice was the basic/$uper TH Ferrari 599XX.  We wanted to unveil our choice as well.

We looked at a lot of models that wowed us this year: HW Racing BMW M3 & Greenwood Corvette (we would definitely call those our runners-up), the aforementioned Ferrari 599XX, the new Mazda RX-7, Hot Ones '87 Toyota and Subaru BRAT, and even unique models the Boulevard Chrysler Turbine.  We even looked at beautifully recolored basics like the white Ferrari 458 Italia.

I guess the "Model of the Year" debate could easily be compared to an MVP debate in sports.  Different folks look at different criteria.  Best player?  Most valuable to a team?  Best player on the best team?  It goes on and on...

The same with Model of the Year.  Best casting?  Best version of a good casting?  Rarest?  Most sought after?  Most popular?  Best looking?  It is a completely subjective category, so whatever criteria someone wants to use, fine by us.

We looked at a lot of things, and there was one model that just could not be ignored.  It may not have been a fave of a ton of collectors, but it sure caused a ruckus.  Our choice for Hot Wheels Model of the Year is the Mad Manga, and if you want to see the reason why, read this entire thread.  Or this one.

It was fun to watch the reaction of collectors as the Mad Manga was revealed.  Intrigue.  Disdain.  Excitement.  Confusion.  And some even wildly inappropriate, uneducated, and surprisingly close-minded comments (that Mattel has thankfully removed).  It was awesome to watch.  Whatever the reaction, the Mad Manga was noticed.

One of my favorite things about collecting diecast is how frequently I am introduced to a new car, classic car, and even a car culture I was unfamiliar with.  There have been many Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars that introduced me to something I was completely unfamiliar with before.  The Mad Manga did that for so many folks this year, whether they liked it or not, and I love that about collecting diecast.

The model's designer, Jun Imai, summed it up best in one of the HWC Mad Manga threads:
"Variety is the spice of life, my friends, and I like them all. Hot rods, imports, euro tuning, veedubs, lowriders, drag racing, drift racing, oval racing, donks, 4x4's, concept cars, alligator cars, tractor pulls, cars with sawblades and eyeballs on them and everything in between and beyond what you might consider normal boundaries. That is what our brand is about...  
And that is the beauty of our brand, there is something for everyone. You don't have to like everything that's out there, none of us here would expect that. We all have our preferences, but as "car fans" I personally think it's awesome to see what's being done on a global level. One of the great things about being a designer here at Hot Wheels is that we can bring this global flavor to your collection for little investment. If you want to fill up your collection with one kind of car, or marque, go for it. I've been a car and Hot Wheels nut since I was a little kid…and having seen car culture around the globe really inspires me to look for different ideas and try something new.

I read an automotive article recently that said something to the effect of "true car guys should be open minded to the different styles and genres that revolve around car culture. That is the way to automotive nirvana".

I think that made a lot of sense."
That is EXACTLY why we are picking the Mad Manga for Model of the Year.  It is indicative of what Hot Wheels has become lately, and I think we are all benefitting.  It is no secret that we here at Lamley are a little JDM-centric, and seeing Skylines, Celicas, Datsuns, and shockingly even a Toyota 2000GT join the lineup has been quite the treat.  And that is just JDM.  There are countless other elements of car culture that we have been, or will be, introduced to just by collecting these little cars.

Travel the world, eat at a new restaurant, learn a new language, go buy a new Hot Wheels car.  How cool is that?

Hot Wheels Mad Manga (Lamley Group 2012 Hot Wheels Model of the Year):

And yes, 2013 is already off to a great start:


  1. I try to be respectful of other people's preferences, but for me this result is pretty tough to swallow, considering all the other castings that came out this year. But then again, to each his own, I suppose. I guess if you personally like it, it's all that matters.

    1. Kyle, I assume you read the post, which hopefully gives a clear explanation of why I chose the Mad Manga.
      I consider Model of the Year different from favorite model of the year. If I had to choose a favorite it would be the Racing '92 BMW M3...

  2. Very awesome choice. Even though I personally voted for the Ferrari as model of the year, I agree the Mad Manga was among the cream of the crop last year and a sign that Hot Wheels is heading in a great direction. One of the biggest highlights for me last year was getting to meet Jun Imai and have one of my Mad Mangas (along with several other models) signed by him. I can't wait to see what else he's got in store for us.

  3. Yep, I'm a big fan of JDM, muscle cars, trucks, hot rods, classics, sports cars, everything, really. Even though I can appreciate the "new culture" aspect of this car, I still think it's ugly, and don't like it. But because it was such a new and different casting, and totally unexpected, I can understand why it is at least a significant model of the year, even if personally, I don't like it.

  4. I gotta agree on all aspects of this casting. I don't think there's been one single casting to garner the attention this one received in YEARS. Definitely not my favorite casting, but the fact that the Bosozoku style is now being recognized in HWs, that's saying a lot.

    My biggest problem with it was the wheels and fenders: I just wish it didn't require the x-small wheels. Normal small wheels would have been best, as wheel swaps would have been MUCH easier. This thing would look great w/ 5-hole wheels :D


  5. sorry, just not my cup of tea...to each his own. musicvox

  6. well, what a surprise, not my choice at all, in fact this would have been off the list of top 1,000,000 cars, hideous maybe, but relevant, there is actually real ones like this, I don't like them either, I would pick the BMW M3 over this any time, but like has been said before, each to their own.....

  7. This was my choice as well. Great job Jun!

  8. While I like JDM stuff, Bosozoku isn't one that I like that much. While it did show the cultural divide in the HW world, I also would've gone with a different car, like the RX7 or something else. But hey, no one is complaining about the direction HW is heading in nowadays.