Now that interest in Speed Racer movie merch has cooled to be roughly akin to the surface of Pluto, the Hot Wheels 1:64 cars are priced to move. This week we saw the leftovers (mostly tons of plain Mach 5s) down to 98 cents at Toys R Us. And I’ve previously mentioned the rare Wave 2 cars suddenly arriving en masse at our local Dollar Stores. If you saw the racks of these things cramming up the car aisles, you might have thought that the line held hundreds of cars. In fact, there’s only around fifteen distinct body molds… and at least three of those you never saw since they were only in Wave 2. Wave 1 was mostly Mach 5 and Mach 6 variants, with all the other interesting vehicles shortpacked.
Wave 2 cars come with this nifty collector’s poster, which unfortunately isn’t even complete. The poster – misleadingly hyped on the backer board as a “movie poster” – lays out all (most) of the available cars… separated according to single packs, two-packs (each two-pack contained one normal car and one with a unique paint job), and the cars you could only find in the larger track sets.
The basic car types are Mach 4, Mach 5, Mach 6, Gray Ghost, Racer X Race, Racer X Street, Snake Oiler Race, Snake Oiler Street, GRX, Togokhan, Thor-Axine, Musha Motors, Prince Kabala, Delila, and the Sonic Boom (which was only available in a boxed set exclusive to Target.)
So how does a line of fifteen grow to over 35 cars? Through terribly weak paint apps!
Most common is the “Race-Wrecked” variant.
When I think “Race-Wrecked,” I think the car will be somehow banged up. Dented hood. The windshield may be cracked. Missing hubcaps. No, “Race-Wrecked” in the Speed Racer Hot Wheels world means that the toy has a gentle black spray going across it. See if you can spot the Race-Wrecked Racer X Race Car and Race-Wrecked Mach 6 in the photo above. Five other cars got the Race-Wrecked treatment.
Then there’s “Desert Rally.”
The Desert Rally cars have brown smeared on them. On the undercarriage too, by the way. Since the Mach 5 is normally very, very white, and the brown paint is effectively randomly applied by the robotic factory painters, you pretty much have your pick between Mach 5s with a lot of sand on them or only a little. We went for a Mach 5 that was really sandy.
That picture shows Desert Rally Mach 5, Desert Rally Racer X Street, and Desert Rally Snake Oiler. \Snake Oiler’s car even has brown plastic tires, which perhaps completes the illusion.
I shouldn’t be too hard on Hot Wheels. There actually is a desert scene in the movie, part of my favorite sequence, the dangerous Casa Cristo rally. Casa Cristo ends with a jaunt through the deadly Ice Caves, which brings us to the next silly repaint.
White splatter paint and white tires equals the “Ice Caves” variant. Here’s the Desert Rally Racer X Street Car and the Ice Caves Racer X Street Car. They also did an Ice Caves Mach 5, which is funny since the car is already white.
There is one other crazy stupid repaint, the Wild Water Mach 6. This one has, you guessed it, blue paint. You can only get this car with one of the big track sets… I think the one meant to replicate the movie’s Fuji Helexicon race.
And just to prove that this nonsense is not limited to the 1:64 Hot Wheels miniature die-cast cars, here’s the Racer X Street Car that was sized to fit the ill-fated 3.5″ action-figure line.
Yup, that’s Ice Caves all right. To this one’s credit, the packaging did not mention any kind of “Ice Caves” variation, unlike all the Hot Wheels line. We bought it figuring that all the 3.5″ Racer X cars were snow-splattered. But since then I have seen identical cars with the faux sand effect of “Desert Rally.” They also came clean.
Incidentally, here’s some of the rare Wave 2 cars.
That’s Delila of Flying Foxes Freight, a rather cheap looking rendition of a team Thor-Axine car, and Taejo Togokhan’s street car. Had the line continued, I would have fully expected Race-Wrecked and Desert Rally variants on all of them.
Like I said, our Dollar Stores have tons of these, so don’t waste your money on eBay. We bought several of each just on general principle. And no, we are not flipping them. We opened them all up for huge racetime fun.
Here’s the two cars that came in the Only At Target boxed set (last seen red-tagged at $8, but probably long gone by now):
The purple one is Sonic Boom-Boom Renaldi’s car. It’s funny because the sponsor is a toilet paper company called Quiet Sensation.
The other one is called the Masurai, and it’s just a total repaint of the Gray Ghost body. It’s such a bad repaint that the bottom of the car is still stamped “Gray Ghost.”
And that was for the toy archeologists of the future. Thanks, Google!