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.
# 95 -- Lightning McQueenPhoto by Roger Colton
Mater, Radiator Springs' trusty tow truckPhoto by Roger Colton
Doc Hudson AKA the Fabulous Hudson HornetPhoto by Roger Colton
Sally Carrera, owner of the Cozy Cone MotelPhoto 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 HutPhoto by Roger Colton
Fillmore, purveyor of organic fuelsPhoto by Roger Colton
Luigi (left) and Guido (center) from Casa Della Tiresalong with one of the Chewall tractors (right)Photo by Roger Colton
The SheriffPhoto 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 KingPhoto by Roger Colton
# 86 -- Chick Hicks Sponsored by the Hostile Takeover BankPhoto by Roger Colton
WingoPhoto by Roger Colton
DJ, the music machinePhoto 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):
And don't even get me started on the movie cars!
So is there anything I left out that you might like to see? Please share your thoughts …