Toy Spotlight: Collectible, Nostalgic Super Mario Hot Wheels Cars
Six special-edition Hot Wheels cars released for Super Mario's 30th anniversary
It’s a beautiful thing when two things you cherish merge into one beautiful package–especially if it brings back memories of your childhood. So when my wife revealed an early birthday present for me–Super Mario Hot Wheels cars–you can imagine the degree to which my 1990s-centric, nostalgia-obsessed mind was blown.
Somehow I completely missed the recent release of these back in October (with an announcement having been leaked earlier in July). If you happened to have missed these too, allow me to change your life.
For the 30th anniversary of the mustached plumber, Mattel collaborated with Nintendo to release six limited-edition diecast Hot Wheel cars themed after six of Mario’s original video games. Three of them have the anniversary logo branded on the package, and all six of them are sold in separate packaging for around $4.49-4.99 in stores.
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Each of the six Super Mario Hot Wheels diecast cars are packaged in a plastic case adhered to a cardboard frame (6.5 inches x 5.25 inches), which resembles the original box artwork from the games they correspond to. The cardboard base’s design is simple but vibrant and perfectly captures the nostalgic feel. In fact, you’ll probably not want to take the toys out of their packaging.
The back of the package is primarily fine-print but does list the six cars in the collection, along with corresponding pictures. If the names don’t make sense, it’s because they’re re-releases of previous Hot Wheels cars from throughout the years, many of them popular, oft-used molds. Why each of these were chosen as the cars to reflect said video games, I have no idea.
- Dr. Mario: 8 Crate Delivery–It’s arguably the most appealing-looking of the series, but why this purple hearse was chosen as the vehicle representing a doctor is…questionable.
- Super Mario Bros.: Dairy Delivery– Modeled after the Dairy Delivery van, this blue vehicle showcases a side-scrolling view of the plumber in his white overalls throwing fireballs.
- Super Mario Bros. 2: Cool-One– A car that’s way too flashy for the game it represents, this sunset-colored model features Mario straining to pull vegetables from the ground. It’s an even more bizarre choice considering the Cool-One was used in the Atarti-themed Hot Wheels series.
- Super Mario Bros. 3: School Busted– A car mold that has been re-used for many custom releases over the years, this rounded orange school bus features Raccoon Mario on the side and Paragoombas on the top.
- Mario Kart: A-OK– A fitting style car for an old racing game, this yellow buggy fits perfectly into the kooky world of Mario Kart racing.
- Super Mario World: Volkswagen T1 Panel Bus–The only car of the series modeled and branded after a specific production vehicle from an automaker–and therefore lacking an odd name–this retro bus shows Cape Mario soaring through the air on its side panel.
The construction of the scale cars themselves are at the caliber of any other Hot Wheels car: solid metal body with loose axles.
The unfortunate shortcoming of these toy cars are the cars themselves. While their coloring and packaging are attractive, their actual shapes are borrowed from over-used models we’ve seen before. They’re flat and broad, making them easy to screen-print designs on them with basic wraps. This approach pales when compared to the abstractly shaped, thematic designs of, say, the Star Wars Hot Wheels cars. It would have been heart-stoppingly thrilling to see cars that resembled warp pipes or characters or power-ups like fire flowers.
Still, it’s hard to deny the attractiveness of these Hot Wheels in their packaging, even if it exploits one’s unhealthy obsession with nostalgia.
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.