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Check out Mattel's new "Cars" collectors series

Check out Mattel's new "Cars" collectors series

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Given that Hot Wheels have been such a huge hit for Mattel for the past 38 years, it should probably come as no surprise that -- just as "Cars" was rolling into theaters -- this toy giant would also be rolling out a brand-new line of toys. One that would feature vehicles that were modeled after characters that appear in this new Pixar film.

All in all, there are currently 22 vehicles in Mattel's new "Cars" line. And given the size of these vehicles (allegedly 1:64 scale), the detailing is really quite extraordinary. While not strictly die-cast metal, given the quality of the molding here as well

as the various pieces of artwork that are applied to individual cars ... It's safe to say that this new Mattel toy line does a great job of replicating the look of the characters from this John Lasseter film.

But now comes the tough part for all you completists out there: At a price point of $4.99 for each of the individual cars (There are 12 of those in the series) plus $9.99 for the Movie Moment multiple sets (of which there are 4) and $15.99 for the Mack Transporter set ... You'll need to spend upwards of $115 - $120 in order to acquire this entire set.

That is -- of course -- if you can actually find each & every "Cars" vehicle featured in this new Mattel set. In order to acquire the 22 vehicles that I now own, I had to visit:

And even then -- in order to complete my set -- I had to resort to buying one of these "Cars" characters off of eBay. And this was two weeks before this new Pixar film had actually opened in theaters!

It took me quite a while to pull my collection together. But -- in the end -- I think that all the extra effort was worth it.  

So now, ladies & gentlemen, without any further adieu ... Let me introduce you to the cast of "Cars" :

# 95 -- Lightning McQueen
Photo by Roger Colton

Mater, Radiator Springs' trusty tow truck
Photo by Roger Colton

Doc Hudson AKA the Fabulous Hudson Hornet
Photo by Roger Colton

Sally Carrera, owner of the Cozy Cone Motel
Photo by Roger Colton

Ramone, owner of the House of Body Art (left)
& Flo, owner of the V8 Café (right)
Photo by Roger Colton

Sarge, the owner of Radiator Springs' Surplus Hut
Photo by Roger Colton

Fillmore, purveyor of organic fuels
Photo by Roger Colton

Luigi (left) and Guido (center) from Casa Della Tires
along with one of the Chewall tractors (right)

Photo by Roger Colton

The Sheriff
Photo by Roger Colton

Red the fire truck (left) plus the statue of Stanley,
the founder of Radiator Springs (right)

Photo by Roger Colton

Lizzie, owner of Radiator Springs' Curio Shop.
(Reportedly, this is the rarest & hardest-to-find
of all the toys in Mattel's "Cars" set)
Photo by Roger Colton

Mack, Lightning McQueen's loyal transporter
(This "Cars" set also includes Sally and Doc)
Photo by Roger Colton

# 43 -- Strip Weathers
AKA The King
Photo by Roger Colton

# 86 --  Chick Hicks
Sponsored by the Hostile Takeover Bank
Photo by Roger Colton

Photo by Roger Colton

DJ, the music machine
Photo by Roger Colton

Boost (left) and Snotrod (right)
Photo by Roger Colton

Most of these products came in a single Mattel store display. Mind you, this same four-sided display featured a wide variety of "Cars" -related merchandise that also seemed to be selling quickly. When I asked store staffers if any of these displays were going to be restocked ... To be honest, they weren't sure.

Which leads me to believe that few folks in retail actually remember what happened back 11 years ago.  When (I'm quoting now from Tour Guide Barbie, who made a cameo appearance in "Toy Story 2") " ... Back in 1995, shortsighted retailers did not order enough (Buzz Lightyear) dolls to meet demand."  

At this point, I guess I should also mention that Mattel is selling a "Cars" carrying case that is modeled to look like an oval racetrack. And let's not forget about the playsets that you can then use to recreate all four corners of Radiator Springs. Which include:

There is also a Mack playset that includes Lightning McQueen's transport trailer.

So, what's next? Well, your guess is as good as mine. But I do have a wish list. And -- just in case anyone from Mattel might be reading this article -- here they are (in no particular order):

  • Frank (The harvester, AKA the guardian of the tractors)
  • Bessie
  • Tia and Mia, the Miata twins
  • The Apple racecar
  • Rusty & Dusty, the Rusteze Sponsors
  • The Dinoco helicopter (so Mater can get his ride, of course!)
  • Van and Mini, the minivan couple
  • Jay Limo
  • The Governator
  • A bug

And don't even get me started on the movie cars!

  • Woody Car and Buzz Lightyear Car
  • Hamm Truck
  • Mike Car
  • Sulley Truck
  • Abominable Snow Plow
  • Flik Car (bug)
  • PT Flea Car

So is there anything I left out that you might like to see? Please share your thoughts …

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  • Hey Roger, some of those pictures had a little glare.
    Can you just pop the cars out of the packaging and take the pictures again?
  • Surely, you jest...

    And what, not have them mint in their packages? :)

    Oh and to anyone who might think of using these images on eBay to sell similar vehicles? A pox on your house, if you do so!
  • $9.99 for the Movie Moment multiple sets!?! Crap I payed $20
    for the Curio playset at Toys-R-Us! what a Rip-off!
  • Hi Roger, wonderful article here!  I would've asked Jim to review the toys as well, but glad someone smacked me with a wet trout and told me to stop while I'm ahead (before I hog all the 'Cars' news).

     So it seems you've also been on a 'Cars Treasure Hunt' looking for these things.  The sad thing was, a month ago, I was browsing around a Target store, and an employee brought me a fresh case of 'Cars,' that I could pick and choose what I wanted!  I could have had the Sheriff, or Sarge,  but that little voice in the back of my head said to wait, and just get Lightning and Mater (thanks alot, Jiminy!).  Now, they're all I can find!  I was able to at least find Fillmore and Doc Hudson at a KB Toys a few days ago.

     I do believe you're correct that Mattel under-produced for this film.  Oh, and here's some of what I'd like to see:

     Fred (rusty and with his nameplate),  possibly with magnetic/removable jaw
    Blue Mater (Radiator Springs heyday version)
    Doc Hudson 'racing variant'(this would have been a cool promotional giveaway at the world premiere if they'd thought of it)
    Bob Cutlass/Darrell Cartrip 2-Pack
    Pizza Planet Truck (he's in there, and PIXAR fans would get a kick out of this)
    Mario Andretti
  • What I want is Lighting McQueen in his "Classic" Paint Job White wall Tires and all.
  • Luigi is on the left, and Guido is in the center.  Nice article, though, and I'm jealous that you are able to own the whole set!
  • I haven't seen that version of Mack before, only the playset version that Wal-Mart carries.  For the record there are two ways to get a  blue version of Mater.  The blue one is packed with a $20 playset (not like the Casa Della Tires or Curio Shop), this one has a small length of track and a huge car grill for you to use in a type of bowling game -- Mater is visible in a window in the game's box.  The other way to get a blue Mater is in a box set of six cars.  There are two different sets.  I don't know who's in which set, but that's probably the easiest way to get all twelve to the single cars if you can find the sets (they're on eBay, but I can't find anybody who knows/will tell what store is stocking those).  From the photos I've seen Mater is the only one that doesn't have the standard single pack paint job.  I both look forward to the variant paints on these (c'mon, you KNOW they're coming...) and I dread trying to find them...

    Roger, you gonna do an article on the Happy Meal cars?... There are pics out there showing at least 4 variants on some characters.  Most variants seem to be in the expression of the eyes, but Ramone gets completely new decorations on each one!
  • Okay, so off to search for the "blue" Mater...

    As far as Happy Meal toys, I've been avoiding McDonalds for health reasons, like I don't need to eat there, kind of thing. I have seen some of the cars, however. The Mattel product is better, IMHO. So I'll stick to those instead.
  • CRAP! I wish I had money right now (but I'm paying off one Walt Disney World trip, finishing up a home adsdition, and saving for a second Disney trip for my birthday) - I've had to settle for the Happy Meals toys and the one's in the Kellogg's cereal boxes... Nice collection, how much was the total damages to your check book? - Joe
  • Where, oh where, did you find Lizzie? She's the *one* car in the set I haven't found anywhere. Last month I happened to be in Target minutes after they'd set up the Cars display area. They had everything but Lizzie. I got Sarge, Filmore and Sheriff, since they only had received one of each. The next day I got the rest (except Lizzie). When I saw the display a week later, they'd been cleaned out of everything except Lightning. I also picked up the Mac playset (had never seen the transporter till now).

    Roger, if you're going to keep your collection in the packages (gotta admit, this is the best packaging for a movie tie-in ever), you gotta get a 2nd Filmore so you can examine it under a magnifying glass. Every single bumper sticker gag is reproduced (even the "Save 2D Animation" sticker) at 1:64 scale. Chick Hicks is similarly detail-loaded.

    The cars I'd most like to see added would be:
    "Hudson Hornet" version of Doc
    Rusty and Dusty
    The Owner of Dinoco
    "Dear" (King's Wife)
    A bug (how about a bug-mobile that hangs from the ceiling?)
  • Lizzie was the eBay purchase. Sarge was the other hard one to find. In all those places, I only saw one and I scooped it up right then.

    As for Fillmore... I think a t-shirt would be a great idea, front and back of course!

    The owner of Dinoco? His name is Tex. And the King's wife? In the credits, she is listed as Mrs. The King.

    And as for how much I spent? That's classified. But you can get a guess at what I should have spent from the article.
  • I honestly think Mattel's had some distribution problems in the US the past couple years- based on my experience collecting their action figures. So if you're headed overseas this summer, keep your eyes peeled. Or if you've got contacts there, use them.
  • Hi,

    Long time reader, first time poster. But I have a Lizzie that I was going to put on ebay but I'd much rather trade her for a Sarge and see that another collector gets my LIzzie rather than become a scalper on Ebay. I have never seen a sarge in my area and I've tried tons of Wal*Marts, K Marts, Targets, and KB Toys but have come up with nothing. If anyone has a Sarge and wants to trade me for my Lizzie send me an email. I have a great Ebay rating to verify my honesty. It is a fair trade for me because I need Sarge even if the LIzzie is considered the rare one.

    Anyone know where these 6 packs are selling? If I can't trade for a Sarge this may be my only other option.


    - Ed
  • By the way, I think Hasbro had terrible distribution too. I couldn't find any Treasure Planet stuff in my area and what I do have from Ebay I bought from U.K> based ebayers. I never did find the Incredibles figures either. Those were either Hasbro or Mattel. WHat's the deal with this stuff? Oh, and Lilo & Stitch. I only ever saw one set of figures and I bought those. Never saw them anywhere again. What's the deal with this stuff? Are they afraid of Disney having a failure or what?
  • I hope it becomes a little easier to find these.  A couple of days before the film came out I was looking for them and could only find Lightning McQueen!  And this was after I went to two different Wal-Marts and a Target.
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