Thursday, October 16, 2014
The skyrocketing value of the 2010/2011 Hot Wheels Speed Machines...
Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don't...
We have documented several times before here at Lamley how many Hot Wheels product lines have been discontinued before the entire run of models was released. Sometimes that means the models are never produced (like the now legendary final batch of Hot Wheels Racing, which was to have included a Shelby Toyota 2000GT, a Kenmeri Skyline, and rally Datsun 510), and sometimes it means the models are produced, but sent to secondary discount stores after being rejected by the big box stores (like the 2013 batch of Boulevard, and final batch of Flying Customs).
When you follow the hobby as closely as we do, sometimes you get a sense when a particular line might be heading towards an early demise. And if you think that is the case, and models have been released somewhere, you pounce. It might cost you more to get the models from another country, but it could end up being worth it if the models never appear in local stores, and end up in very small numbers. Of course you could also spend an arm and a leg for some of those models to be shipped to you, only to walk into Walmart the next day and see them hanging there for a much cheaper price. It's a risk, but it can be worth it.
Case in point? The Hot Wheels Speed Machines. The Speed Machines line was started in 2010, as a way for Mattel to move some focus away from muscle cars and unlicensed fantasy models, and give modern-era super cars some attention. Up to that point, models like Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Lamborghini did not get the premium treatment normally reserved for the Mustangs, Camaros, and Mopars that Hot Wheels churned out every year. They gave the models full decos, and in a bit of a twist, sat them on co-mold wheels instead of Real Riders. That made sense, because the Real Riders Hot Wheels had made at the time were all more appropriate for old cars than modern speedsters. The comolds have a more current, sporty look, so on the Speed Machines they went.
The line was met with much enthusiasm upon its release, but over time the models began to hang on the pegs, and then hang some more. I still remember Walmart trying to clearance them out for $1.25, and the models still hanging there forever.
It was the peg warming 2010 models that started to worry us. Mattel had said that the Speed Machines would be back for 2011, but we wondered if the stores like Walmart and Target would even want them.
It was for this reason that we pounced when we saw the first batches of 2011 start to appear overseas. There were some fantastic models, like the Lamborghini Reventon Roadster in blue, a VW Scirocco in white, a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti in yellow, and of course, the stunning Zamac Ferrari 599XX.
Others just assumed that these batches would appear in the US, so they waited. We are sure glad we didn't. Big box stores did not want the latest Speed Machines, so off to other countries and discount stores they went. In fact, the final batches were so scarce, the only place we heard that stocked them in the US was O'reilly's Auto Parts stores.
A lot has changed since 2011. We have seen a whole slew of supercar-obsessed collectors overseas appear with the growth of social media. These collectors would have snatched up the Speed Machines at the time, especially with Ferraris, Bugattis, and Lamborghinis in the mix. But they weren't around to do that, so the line suffered.
Those collectors now see photos of the Speed Machines from a few years ago, and they become crazy to get the models. And when there is demand, prices go up. Models that were $2.99 in the store are now going for well over $10 each.
But then there are the models that are seeing three-digit closing prices. When I say expensive Speed Machine, most collectors will think of this:
And they should. The Speed Machines Bugatti Veyron has been fetching high prices on ebay for awhile now, but that is more because of the push to get all versions of the now-discontinued Veyron casting, as opposed to it being a rare model. It is easily the most realistic-looking (if you can say that) of the Veyron models. But it was released early in the series and was pretty easy to get. But it wasn't very popular at the time it was released, and now collectors are backtracking to get it.
But what the Veyron sells for on ebay doesn't even come close to what other Speed Machines are fetching these days. There are a few that so many people didn't find, and now want, they are now garnering a ton of attention on ebay. Just go to the Speed Machines listings and look at Sold Items by highest price. You would be surprised what you see. Models like:
And especially this:
While the Veyron might get most of the attention, it is the Zamac Ferrari 599XX that is the true holy grail for many. I have been asked several times over the years how much the Zamac 599XX might be worth, and I can never definitively say, because they rarely appear on ebay. But when they do, if it is an auction, look out.
There were some duds in the Speed Machines, and because of that we didn't pursue all of them. Are there some we wish we had? Sure, but just by having the Zamac 599XX alone are we happy with the collection.
So here are the models that are part of the Lamley Collection. Some might compel you to try and find what you can. Let us know if you do...
Hot Wheels Speed Machines:
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
'09 Audi TTS
Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
Ferrari 612 Scaglietti
Ford GT LM
Lamborghini Reventon Roadster
Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 Superveloce
McLaren F1 GT-R
Mitsubishi 2008 Lancer Evolution
'09 Nissan GT-R SpecV
Porsche Caymen S
Porsche 911 GT3 Road
Porsche Carrera GT
Volkswagen Scirocco GT24