The latest batch of cars from the Hot Wheels’ premium Car Culture pays homage to the paradigm-shifting Gran Turismo generation. It’s almost amazing that it took this long to get a collectors’ series dedicated to icons of the Japanese tuner scene, but it was worth the wait, and here’s why.
As we know, Hot Wheels was a bit late to the world of Japanese cars. However, if this set had been released at the height of the Tuner Era, the result probably would have looked quite different. The cars would have had insectoid body kits, loud paint jobs, and overabundance of graphics.
Since the set was released in 2019, though, they come at a time when many of the cars have adopted a more discerning clientele. Collectors today prefer a more subdued style, and all the cars here are clean, single-color affairs, with modifications that are noticeable but not combatively obnoxious. All in all, it’s a more mature look, with nary a racing stripe or sponsor logo in sight.
The most extreme of the five might be the Subaru BRZ with Pandem wide-body kit, a new casting making its debut, but even then it’s finished in proper WR Blue with no rolling billboard of sponsors. The silver Honda S2000 and white Silvia S15 strike just the right balance of aggression and restraint. The black on the Nissan 180SX is an inspired choice, perfect for late night touge excursions, and the FD Mazda RX-7 in its iconic yellow mica is perfection.
Each car comes with gorgeous artwork on the card, full metal chassis, and “Real Rider” rubber tires over plastic hubs. According to Mattel, the sets should be hitting stores this month, but we predict you’ll have to be pretty lucky to find one in the wild.
Like Japan Historics, we hope this set gets a sequel, but for now they are superb representations of some of Japan’s finest.