Friday, October 18, 2013
First Look: Hot Wheels 1963 Aston Martin DB5...
Alright, let's get this out of the way right off the bat:
Should Matchbox have made this model? I guess. Why not. But Hot Wheels did. And they did a damn good job. Yes, the Aston is British. Matchbox used to be. So be it. But why should Matchbox have made it?
The notion that Hot Wheels was all about fantasy and Matchbox about realism was never true. Both brands have gone through times where one direction trumped another, but there was never a rule, under Mattel's direction or not. Yes, the brands are trying to separate themselves now more than ever, but the terms "fantasy" and "realism" are not how they designate the direction. Both brands have licensed cars, both have unlicensed designs, some are based on real vehicles, and some completely made up.
But so many seem to think this is how things should be, and form their opinion solely based on that notion. Too bad. There is too much good stuff out there. We just showed a fantastic BMW 1M from Matchbox that Hot Wheels could have done, and now here is a classic Aston that could easily have been a Matchbox.
Outside of the fact that the DB5 is one of the coolest cars ever made, there appears to be a VERY specific reason why this model was done by Hot Wheels. It is called the Retro Entertainment line. I recently had a discussion with a Hot Wheels designer, who told me that Hot Wheels will continue to push "Entertainment"-related models, both in basic and in the Retro Entertainment line.
And they are clearly on to something. Star Trek and Jetson's models don't seem to hang on the pegs very long, and hoarder collectors sure love to get as many of them as they can. And when hoarder collectors grab all they can, it means their ultra-sensitive "must-have" radar has latched onto a slight perception that these models are popular. And you know, when hoarder collectors perceive that something is wanted by others, they pick them all up. It is like animals getting restless before a storm. It is a great gauge.
Nonetheless, Hot Wheels is putting a lot into the entertainment models, and the signature line continues to be Retro Entertainment. And when it comes to the combination of pop culture and cars, James Bond is right in the middle.
I figured the only reason we didn't see any James Bond cars in the Retro Entertainment lineup in 2013 was because Mattel didn't have the license. And that could very well be the case. I have no idea. But they do now: A James Bond Mustang was introduced at the HW Convention as part of the 2014 Retro Entertainment line. James Bond does not equal Mustang, but it is a start. And now that the DB5 is in the basic line, and not in silver, you know that model is on its way. It is not a matter of if, but when.
There might be a lot more to the story. Maybe the DB5 was being developed to debut in the Retro line as a James Bond model, but the Bond license didn't come as quickly. Maybe the licensers wanted to see the casting released before accepting it as a James Bond officially-licensed product. Maybe the DB5 is specifically licensed to another toy company when associated with James Bond. Maybe none of that is true at all. But you know where its future lies.
So we look forward to a silver DB5 with the lace wheels we saw on Ferris's Ferrari earlier this year. But coming or not, let's celebrate how great this British Racing Green Aston is.
Clearly the relationship between Mattel and Aston Martin is happy and healthy. In the last few years we have seen the fantastic DBS Volante from Matchbox and four different Astons from Hot Wheels (not counting the DB5). The Vantage started it all, and since we have had the Zagato, DBS, and One-77.
And this is a good thing. Aston Martins have always been the best-looking cars on the road, and until I can afford a real one, Mattel's versions will do. Of Mattel's minis, the two DBS models have been my faves. The One-77 casting is a little too small, and sits a little too high, the Zagato is ok, but I am not a huge fan of the real car, and the Vantage decent.
But they are all trumped by the DB5. Iconic, beautiful, and shit, Mattel, you killed it on this one. Killed it. Stance, slope, size. It's all there. Add to that the BRG, front and rear detailing, and even those lace wheels, and you have an instant favorite.
It is a bit stunning to see a Datsun 620 and Aston Martin DB5 in the 2014 lineup. Both certainly fall in the "never saw it coming" category. What's next? It will be fun to watch...
(Until the Australians who found this one post some on ebay, you will have to settle on filling in the other Aston gaps in your Hot Wheels collection...)
Hot Wheels 1963 Aston Martin DB5 (2014 New Models):
The other Mattel Astons (save the DB4 Zagato):
Matchbox DBS Volante
Hot Wheels V8 Vantage
Hot Wheels DBS
Hot Wheels One-77