2018 isn’t even here yet, but we are very excited to show what we know already be the hottest series of the year. The five-car Japan Historics 2 features two new castings, retooled versions of popular existing castings, and some seriously epic card art. It was also created to celebrate Hot Wheels’s debut in 1968, making the beloved toy cars 50 years old next year. Here’s a closeup of each car in the series.
Japan Historics 2 is the follow-up to the hugely popular 2016 Japan Historics series, both part of the larger Car Culture series, which includes categories such as air-cooled cars, race machines, and wagons. However, the popularity of JNCs in diecast form have made the Japan Historics a standout, if not altogether regarded as a standalone series.
The first thing you will notice is that the cards are now larger. Listening to collectors demands from past Car Culture series, cars now have more detail and have gone up in price marginally, though it’s quite a fair trade, especially when you see the results.
The cars are also much cleaner, with fewer logos and liveries, and a simplified version of the JNC inkan (more on this below), The cleaner look harkens back to the original 16 “redlines” from 1968, when all cars were finished in single color “spectraflame” paint with no graphics or tampos. Each color chosen, too, is very proper and appropriate to its corresponding model. To literally top everything off, on almost all the models (aside from the 510 tampos), details and paint are sealed with a deep clearcoat that really makes them pop.
Fewer graphics and logos doesn’t mean less detail. The added resources per model means time, money and effort well-spent on the finer points, as well as fit and finish. Thoroughly accurate details abound on all sides of each model, from badging and lights to door and window trim. All cars are, of course, finished in metal bodies and chassis, and “Real Rider” rubber tires on premium wheels.
First in the series is the Datsun Bluebird 510, an oldie but goodie that was introduced in 2008 as a mainline casting. Subsequently, a metal chassis version was created for the Vintage Racing series in 2011. In Japan Historics 2, the 510 is finished in subtle and elegant BRE-inspired ghost graphics on sparkling silver, paired with a dark red interior, my personal favorite combo.
It also sports beautiful headlight and taillight details, and very fine signal light tampos adorn the sides. It almost looks like a neo version of a contemporary “Brockbuster” 510, and is reminiscent of Peter Brock’s own silver and white 240Z, which debuted at JCCS 2014.
Next comes a relatively new casting, the Mazda RX-3, first introduced two years ago in the original Japan Historics. This is the sleeper of the bunch. It looks superb in orange, reminiscent of the RX-3 SP special edition, with metallic flake to make it pop.
However, it’s the full details from the front grille and headlights to the intricate taillights that truly make this model look fantastic. The detail that really makes this model though is how Hot Wheels was able to capture the side window trim, a unique characteristic of the RX-3. The grey 8 Spoke watanabes with chunky slicks really give this a proper works vibe.
The Nissan Fairlady Z appears for the first time with an all-metal body and chassis. A mainline version was introduced in 2015 as a replica of designer Jun Imai’s personal G-nose 260Z. The ZG is perfect period highway racer fare, from the retooled metal base complete with works ZG front spoiler to the now finely detailed Kenmeri rear taillight panel and cool single color design.
It’s textbook kaido racer done properly. Images of classic Japanese magazines and Oh My Highway Racer kits of the late 70s and 80s come to life with this model.
The first all-new casting of the series is the beautiful Nissan Laurel 2000SGX. In Japan, this car is known as the Butaketsu, or pig’s butt, because of its wide rear end, and that insight is captured brilliantly in the card art, in which it is the only car drawn from the rear.
Finished in the trademark factory green, its slammed stance, small four-spoke wheels and front deppa spoiler is the definitive look for this car. This is the classic Japanese recipe for the Butaketsu, and now it is in Hot Wheels form for all the world to take in.
The final car in the series the Nissan Skyline C210, another brilliant all-new casting. Finished in metallic purple with tan interior, it is not only a cool combo but befitting the era. The small wheels and flared fenders would be proper period touches for this car in Japan.
The detail on the rear trim panel and taillights is truly astounding, as is the thin line that they have somehow managed to stamp on the edge of the greenhouse opening to serve as the window trim. Moreover, the clever engineering of this model and the Laurel mean larger wheels can be used when coupled with a new base design if used in the future as a mainline or other release.
We at JNC would like to give a special personal acknowledgement to Jun Imai for his efforts in getting these models considered, accepted and produced. Thank you. These models represent a microcosm of Japanese car culture and embody all the car stuff we at JNC love, and that I personally enjoyed and experienced during that era, and for that we are eternally grateful.
Jun’s relentless passion for classic Japanese cars and his knowledge of period tuning culture show, and kudos to the Hot Wheels team for sweating the details on these cars. To bring these to fruition, especially upon the brand’s 50th anniversary, is truly mind blowing and an incredible gift to collectors worldwide. To have the JNC logo on them is truly an honor.
In fact, we would like to take this opportunity to announce a new JNC logo, which will be made available in sticker form. This new decal will not replace the classic inkan, but can be used so that it is more legible, especially when shrunken down to 1:64 scale. Look for it to appear in the JNC Shop in January 2018, to coincide with the retail launch of Japan Historics 2.
For a list of JNC logo Hot Wheels, see the list below.
- Nissan Skyline GT-X hakosuka (2011, white/green with red JNC inkan)
- Mazda RX-7 (2012, black/gold/red with gold JNC inkan)
- Mazda RX-7 (2012, blue/white/orange with orange JNC inkan)
- Mazda RX-7 (2012, white/gold/red with red JNC inkan) — Kroger’s/Ralph’s exclusive
- Toyota AE86 Corolla (2013, black/white with black JNC inkan)
- Toyota AE86 Corolla (2013, white/black with black JNC inkan)
- Toyota Celica 1970 (2013, red/black with black JNC inkan)
- Mazda RX-7 (2013, silver/blue with blue JNC inkan) — Treasure Hunt
- Datsun 620 (2014, orange with black JNC inkan)
- Datsun 620 (2014, blue with black JNC inkan) — KDay exclusive
- Datsun 620 (2014, red with black JNC inkan)
- Datsun 510 wagon (2014, red/white with blue JNC inkan)
- Datsun 510 wagon (2014, dark spectraflame red/white with blue JNC inkan) — Super Treasure Hunt
- Datsun 240Z (2015, black/blue/gold with blue JNC inkan)
- Datsun 510 wagon (2015, yellow with dark blue JNC inkan)
- Datsun 240Z (2015, white/blue/red with blue JNC inkan)
- Datsun 510 wagon (2015, black with black JNC inkan) — KDay exclusive
- Nissan Fairlady Z (2016, blue/black with white JNC inkan)
- Nissan Skyline GT-X hakosuka (2016, white/blue with red JNC inkan) — Japan Historics
- Mazda RX-3 (2016, purple with red JNC inkan) — Japan Historics
- Datsun 510 wagon (2016, black with red JNC inkan) — Japan Historics
- Toyota 2000GT (2016, yellow/green with red JNC inkan) — Japan Historics
- Nissan Skyline GT-R kenmeri (2016, white/black with red JNC inkan) — Japan Historics
- Datsun 620 (2016, turquoise with gold JNC inkan) — Car Culture Trucks
- Nissan Fairlady 2000 (2017, yellow with maroon JNC inkan)
- Nissan Fairlady 2000 (2017, green with black JNC inkan)
- Datsun Bluebird 510 (2016, maroon/black with red JNC inkan) — Car Culture Track Day
- Datsun 620 (2017, white with blue/yellow GReddy livery Hand blue JNC inkan)
- Nissan Skyline GT-X hakosuka (2017, white/blue with red JNC inkan)
- Datsun 510 wagon (2017, blue/white/orange with blue JNC inkan)
- Nissan Fairlady Z (2017, black/red/”Advan” with white JNC inkan)
- Nissan Fairlady Z (2017, black/red/”Advan” with white JNC inkan) — Super Treasure Hunt
- Datsun 620 (white/blue/yellow/”GReddy” with blue inkan)
- Datsun Bluebird 510 (silver/ghost stripes with white JNC logo) — Japan Historics 2
- Mazda RX-3 (orange with black JNC logo) — Japan Historics 2
- Nissan Fairlady Z (yellow with black JNC logo) — Japan Historics 2
- Nissan Laurel SGX C130 (green with white JNC logo) — Japan Historics 2
- Nissan Skyline C210 (purple with white JNC logo) — Japan Historics 2