The Supra is back, and we aren’t talking about the A90. Instead, we’re referring to the the sleek A80 Hot Wheels casting. It, along with all other Toyota castings, from the popular toy lineup, has taken a hiatus but now it’s making a return, and we think this is great news for both Hot Wheels and Toyota.
The shape, likenesses, and names of cars are all trademarked by the car companies, which means for another company to make a model (or use the logos and names), the two firms have to agree on the design. This goes for each subsequent release or recolor as well. As a licensing partner, we at JNC go through the process too, approving the appearance of the JNC logo on every Hot Wheels car.
Different companies have different rules. For example, some might want the cars to look 100 percent stock. Others may want only the cars to be painted in the colors of the real cars. Sometimes, these rules can change depending on the direction the car company wants to go in. It’s not always clear why these change, but the toymakers have to keep on a schedule, and sometimes that means a particular marque is absent from the lineup.
For reasons known only to Toyota, the licensing has been re-approved after two years, which means the Supra will be making a return in 2020. Specifically, it’s going to be in the premium Boulevard series, which is also making a return with four other cars (the other Japanese one being the D21 Hardbody minitruck we reported on back in July).
It’s an extremely sharp casting, capturing the muscular flanks of Toyota’s high-speed highway missile brilliantly. We’re glad to see it again.
In our opinion, it’s a big plus for car companies to allow toys of their cars to be made. Minicars also expose collectors and automotive enthusiasts to cars they would not have known about or considered before. They can rekindle or introduce older or obscure models to whole new generation, or bring great nostalgia to the many enthusiasts who owned or remember them from back in the day. They can add renewed interest to cars long forgotten and pull them back into the spotlight again. They can create life-long memories for children, maybe even inspire them to pick up a real version when they’re older.
Hot Wheels has an advantage as they are widely available, affordable, and accessible to almost everyone. For a buck, they have a much greater reach than low-volume and pricier specialty models, which appeal or are accessible to a more smaller slice of the demographic. For car companies wanting to have a bigger reach or be more visibility in the public eye, they should take note. Hopefully, this will lead to more Toyota castings soon.