So since we've looked at the 1M, I think we should take a moment to look at the first M car, the BMW M1.

The M1 was built as a result of a collaboration between Lamborghini and BMW, although the partnership fell apart and BMW went on to produce the cars on their own. Produced in the heady days of homologation, this was a thinly-veiled race car that was sold to the public in sufficient numbers to make the car available for sportscar racing.

The Hot Wheels casting here is from the 2016 BMW series. The casting itself has been released in the past under the name Wind Splitter, presumably due to licensing reasons.

The toy here looks pretty simple, being without the mandatory fins, wings, splitters, and vents that modern supercars seem to have to have. But since this is from the dawn of the "supercar" era, when this car was released all that nonsense was in the future. This model is pretty true to the real car it is drawn from.



So just to prove we are not total Hot Wheels snobs, here is a selection of Matchbox BMW 1M cars. Matchbox is a weird brand for me -- I've looked at them for years when I've been looking at Hot Wheels but there have rarely been any cars that have ever even piqued my interest. It hasn't helped that Matchbox distribution was terrible here in Canada -- the WalMart pegs were usually barren, and Toys R Us appears to have abandoned even the pretence of carrying them. Over the last year or two, though, Matchbox seems to have been reducing the number of trucks and industrial equipment type vehicles and changing the density of fantasy cars to allow for more licensed models, and my interest has increased accordingly. A licensed car from Matchbox is more likely to be realistic and have fewer compromises made in terms of track-play. So a car with a deep spoiler will be modelled with a deep spoiler.

The 1M is a favourite of mine, because it is the type of car that is not entirely totally out of the question of me eventually driving or owning. It is a small commuter car with performance enhancements.

These are the 1M cars that I've accumulated in the last year. The red and blue ones both came from Dollarama, and are probably somewhat older; the black one is from the Best Of Matchbox series and came in a nice presentation box with a decorated faux "matchbox" sized box included, presumably to make one nostalgic for the times when this was how they actually were sold.

Of all of them, I think the black one is my favorite. It has been granted a little more attention to detail because of it's presence in a premium line. The wheels are a little weird to me, I'm not sure I like them -- I'm talking about the tread pattern here, not the sidewall, which is very nice. I guess this is what you get with a "realistic" car.

Not really sure what to say about the blue one here. I think that in any Hot Wheels assortment this would be better turned out than the average Hot Wheels car, but when lined up with the black and red cars here it is the weakest of the bunch. Blue is a fine color, but I prefer red and black more; and these are, to my eye, the weakest wheels of the options here.

The finish on the red car is very nice, and the wheel selection too makes it a nice toy.

Since I shot and wrote this I have aquired a fourth 1M, the gold one from the 2017 series. I'll make sure to open and shoot it soon.


Second Chances

So one weird thing that's been going on at WalMart is that they still have pegs labelled "BMW Anniversary", even though the set apparently came and went way back in February (at least, that's when I got mine). At the time, I passed on the motorcycle, and I couldn't find a Z4M.

Well it turns out that whomever runs the plans for WalMart knew that there would be more coming, because WalMart Bayshore had what looked like at least one case, maybe two, up on pegs when I was in there back on November 5th. And they did have a Z4M, so I picked it up.

The dark, flat color actually works here. Normally I don't like flat, but here it seems to work. It also has the benefit of nicely setting off the red rings on the wheels. I saw a car in real life that had wheels like this, reflective red material around the inner rim of the wheel, and it looked awesome in the dark when crossing traffic. Makes me want them.

The model has a busy rear diffuser which I could have done without, and a nicely detailed interior which I'd keep. The front chin spoiler isn't going to be very friendly to the orange track, but this car isn't likely to find itself on too many of those.

Overall this is a very nice car.


Track Day Part 3: Peer Pressure

So for all the Car Culture series, I have not been a completionist -- I only have been buying what I actually like and look forward to opening. I can't think of too many things that I've seriously wanted all members of, and it is even rare that a casting captures my eye enough for me to want to dig through eBay and collect previously released iterations.

All that to say, the internet groups I follow say that this Datsun Bluebird 510 is a popular, cool casting to have, and I bought it. Partly because of the Internet, but also partly because I have both a Cool Classics Series 2 iteration and a Heritage - Real Riders iteration. (At least, according to my CollectHW listings. I didn't think the Cool Classics car was a series 2 car, and I thought the Heritage - Real Riders was different. But the castings are currently buried in my unopened car pile and I can't immediately get at them.)

So, here it is. I can see why people like it, it is a faithful rendering of the type of basic automobile that people buy and make questionable decisions in. You buy it for nothing, and then learn how to live life while beating the hell out of it. (For me, that car is a '86 Honda Civic 4-door.) As such, it is exactly what shows up on track day -- the dedicated racer that almost anyone can afford because it still costs nothing and nobody cares about it, but you can still have fun without endangering either yourself or your wallet too much.

It still doesn't really do anything for me, and as I look at it I wonder if it will show up in the 'meh' pile down the road.


Track Day Part 2: Hauling Ass

If you are going to haul ass, you might as well have an ass worth hauling.

This is the Track Day series '78 Porsche 935. I bought it because it intrigues me, and I already had the Porsche series example of this car (which has the casting name of Porsche 935-78), but this particular one turned into an unexpected delight.

This car looks like a race car, and that's because it in fact actually is a race car, not just a car that was designed for racing, re-designed for the street, and then retro-modded back into a track car. It has serious aero in the form of the deep nose, long fender flairs feeding back smoothing into a long rear, which itself houses a gigantic diffuser.

But what makes this car a delight is the paint. I love the "Metallic Red" as its called, and the detail work with the white and blue down the sides is perfect, neither too much nor too little.

In a perfect world I probably wouldn't do gold lace wheels on this car, but even so they don't detract from the car's look.


Is 2009 "Retro" Already?

So today we have the "Retro Entertainment 2016 - Grand Turismo" series car, the 2009 Nissan GT-R. I'm not sure what is "retro" about that statement, 2009 wasn't that long ago, and while Grand Turismo has gone through a few iterations, there can't have been too many of them including the '09 GT-R. I guess this is Internet retro, where anything that's scrolled off the front page of your favorite aggregator is ancient history. Kids these days have the collective memories of a squirrel.

But here we are. Generally this casting isn't highly thought of in the collector circles, there being far superior offerings from other die-cast makers, especially those in Japan. Still, this captures the essence of the car, and in a mainline would be well-enough designed for good play value. The problem is that without the premium paint and the detailed tampo work, this car is a pretty bland offering, so while the car would run the track well and survive play in good shape, it probably wouldn't be attractive to anyone to pick up and play with.
Still, the detail is nice to look at. I like the silver-rimed wheels and the paintwork along the lower running boards, and the "boy racer" decals that cover the car from front to back.

Mine has a detail in the rear window that I can't explain. It almost looks like it is intentional, with the hints of a crossing-swoop in the fuzz, but the rest of the block makes it look like a manufacturing flaw.


Track Day Comes Early

This is the first of the Track Day cars I've been able to find. This is a Porsche 964. Track Day is the latest in the Car Classics premium series. Mattel keeps pumping out the hits, small series of cars that are well made and focused so that they have maximum collector appeal. I think the fact that these series are all licensed models, not fantasy models, also leads to their success.

Anyways, this seems to be a first edition of this casting. It is a neat little car, and it is reasonably well executed with lots of details. I'm not a huge fan of the orange/brown wheels, and I also think the red bumpers make the car look a little patched together, as if someone had put red rubber around the front and back of the car. Also the choice of the silver paint can also suggest that the car has had a bit of a wearing life. Which might be the look that they were going for. It is probably exactly the sort of car you'd see at a track day. owned by someone rich enough to buy the porsche and keep it running as a track day car but not enough money to keep it perfect. 

From a car enthusiast point of view, this is exactly the type of car I like to see in real life -- a car that isn't a garage queen, one which is kept up and run regularly in an environment where it was built to run. From a diecast collector's standpoint, however, I'd prefer to see maybe better paint, nicer wheels, and body-color coordinated bumpers. So yeah, it isn't a favorite.


Another Ridiculous Movie Car

So say you are going to drop a car out of a plane, right? It'd better be a pretty special car. So why not a jacked up Hemi of some kind? Throw on some spare tires so you don't have to worry about getting caught out by a flat, and you're good to go.

Oh, and you'll need a missing roof panel so that your colleagues can either jump out of the car while it is moving, and/or you can add a passenger -- possibly a hacker of some description who you are trying to liberate from, say, a heavily armored bus -- while you are rolling along.

 All kidding aside, i thought I'd hate this car when I got it out of the package, but I don't. It has lots of nice little details here, including hood tie-downs and detailed interior. In a premium model this is going to be a super little car, considering it is so nice in the "pedestrian" mainline offering.


Where Is My Flying Car?

Here's my latest member of the probably-questionable-decisions department, the Jetson's jet car, a 2017 model which goes by just the label "The Jetsons". 2017 will have a bunch of pop-culture-related castings, and this is the first one I've found. I picked it up because I've missed previous incarnations of the car.

As a "car" this is a pretty disappointing casting, there is something about the wheel/hub/axle assembly that doesn't let it roll very well. Also the short wheelbase and relatively tall center of mass means that it has a tendency to slide around a bit more. So this car won't be winning any races any time soon. But that's not the point of the car, and even I can see that. Instead, this is a cross-media nostalgia collectible item. Personally I missed the Jetsons growing up, so I don't have any attachment to this car. It'll end up in the storage container with the Fast&Furious and other "media" cars pretty quickly.


Hot Hot Bird

So, speaking of the Hot Bird... let's look at a couple which I pulled off of my wall. From left to right, you're looking at a 2006 Cool Classics Series 2 in Spectraflame Green....

mmmm.... gorgeous Spectraflame.

Sorry, got distracted. The middle car is from 1977 or 1982 and is a mainline -- there isn't anything I can see which can tell us whether it is from '77 or from '82, the cars appear to be identical in the research I've done. This car is one from my original collection as a kid, which it might actually date back to 1977.

The third car is from the 2008 Since '68 series and is in Metalflake blue.

But seriously, Spectraflame. Oh my god.

Spectraflame is a wonderful, wonderful finish and I appreciate Mattel using it sparingly because while we all know I'd buy a brick if it was painted Spectraflame, using it all the time would make the other finishes look shabby by comparison. Keeping it for occasional, premium line use is just good marketing. The tampos are restrained, with marque-appropriate labels and the mandatory flaming chicken.

I'm just going to leave this here because I can't get enough of it. Seriously, this article is taking forever to write because the car is on my desk and I can't stop looking at it, even under the crappy room light.

Aaaaaaanyways... the Since '68 car is a little less special, but still a fine looking car. I'm not sure about the gray over the front wheels, that's an odd choice. But it is still a nice addition to the collection, flaming chicken and all. Nice painted rear end, with the Trans Am stenciling on the back spoiler.

And finally, the original, where it all began. As you can see, this is an experienced toy.