It seems to happen often. As the Hot Wheels line transitions from one year to the next, a collector line takes a back seat to the new stuff, and as retailers move on, the models have nowhere to go. Or there is the case that a line does not meet the numbers Mattel and retailers had hoped, and the final models are either cancelled or produced in much smaller numbers.
Whatever the case, when it happens, those models all of a sudden become highly sought-after for collectors. And doesn't it seem to be the case that the models that become hard-to-find are the best of the series?
Take the 2011 Hot Wheels Vintage Racing line. I can still find many models from early in the series on the pegs, but good luck finding the BRE Datsun 510 or AMC Javelin anywhere on the secondary market for under $20 now. The models were at the end of the series, and were only distributed to a handful of Walmarts and Kmarts.
However, last year's best example would be the Hot Wheels Garage J case. Lamley is planning on doing an article on the J case a little later, but suffice to say this case did not make it to many stores, or dealers, or anywhere. The models from that case, like the Dodge Power Wagon and Ford Bronco, already collector faves, are now high on many collector's want lists, and they are not easy to get:
Well it appears that it may be happening again. First, the final batch of the Hot Wheels Racing series, the Road Racers. We have profiled the three New Models in this batch, and based on the response, it is clear the BMW M3, Greenwood Vette, and Porsche 935 are very popular among collectors. The problem is, if you live in the US, you can't get them. Unless you have a friend in Canada, Brazil, or Japan, or want to compete with collectors on ebay. Retailers didn't want this last batch based on sales of the previous releases, so they didn't order it. Unfortunately they balked on what could have easily been the best-selling batch of the series:
So where does that leave the last three batches of 2012 Hot Ones? Collectors are starting to ask, and wondering if they will ever see them in stores. And it is not just the completists. Highly anticipated models like the '87 Toyota Truck, Toyota Supra, Subaru BRAT, Yamaha Bike, and Ford Torino are in these batches, and there are a lot of people that want them. Worst case scenario - they stay rare. Best - they show up at a discount at Tuesday Morning or similar stores.
For now, you can at least go through the dealers:
Hot Ones P case
Hot Ones Q case
Hot Ones R case
Oh brother, where art thou?