When it comes to buying redlines, I’ve been burned before. I bought a lot of loose cars once because I got a glimpse of some redline tires on one of them. It wasn’t until I got them home that I flipped the car over and realized I had purchased a 25th anniversary car. So I was a little wary when I saw this Custom Fleetside on a table at the flea market. Since it was in a booth with a bunch of unrelated items, I thought there was a chance the seller just didn’t really know what he had. So I took a chance and paid the $8 for it. Now I’ve looked it over pretty well and done some more research and I’m pretty sure this is one of the original Sweet 16.
I get pretty excited when I see those values in my price guide, but then I remind myself that those are the mint-in-package prices. This car is obviously nowhere near mint, especially with the missing plastic box cover. But I’m not really doing this for the investment anyway, so I’ll consider it $8 well spent.
The Custom Fleetside is said to be the Hot Wheels model that most closely resembles the original inspiration for the toy cars. When Hot Wheels car designer Harry Bradley was struggling to come up with the look of the new die-cast toys, Mattel founder Elliot Handler pointed to Bradley’s own custom ’64 Chevrolet El Camino which had redline tires, mag wheels, a chopped top and a hood scoop. These elements became the signature look of all the original Hot Wheels, including this customized Chevrolet C10 Fleetside.
And here are the other finds from a productive day at the flea market. Just to remind you that I like Matchbox cars too, I picked up this GMC Refrigerator Truck. With its missing back door, it makes a nice companion to my Grit Spreader with missing wheels.
The Hot Wheels Redliner was part of the 1985 Ultra Hots series. It is a variation of the AMX/2 that was first cast in 1971 and has been released under other names such as Xploder and Warpath. The spectraflame gold was what caught my eye and the ultra hot wheels sealed the deal.
The Baja Breaker was first released in 1978 and has appeared in many variations over the years, including a few others that I have in my collection. This green version came out in 1980.
And finally, Science Friction. What else can you say about a rear-engine beast that has chrome windows, a radar dish, and some kind of ray gun protruding from in front of the windshield? The car was originally introduced in 1978, but this magenta beauty with the orange and blue stripes came out in 1982.