HotWheelsCollectors.com - Series One
Light My Firebird®
Spectraflame renaissance continues with the release of Light My Firebird,
the latest retro Redline to be released by Mattel.
The first "Old School" models to appear in this series are based on the old
Spoilers castings introduced in 1970. As King Kuda was before
it, Light My Firebird is based on its 1970 predecessor and utilizes the 30th
Anniversary model from 1998, complete with new tooling modifications. The
all-metal zinc-plated body and chassis model features a new engine compartment that
favors the 1970 model. The body is highlighted with a mirror finish and
carries a beautiful coat of olive that matches the original shade introduced in
1968. The model wears a less flashy but more elegant scheme than the Kuda,
with black stripes running the length of the top of the body and the engine compartment
painted flat black.
Small logos representing Good Year and Champion Spark Plugs are tamped on either front
fender, in a nod to the sponsor-themed water decals included with the original
Spoilers. The black "02" inside a white circle adorns each door.
The detailed interior is ivory plastic while the windshield is clear plastic.
California "HWC JOHN" vanity plates are tamped in the appropriate spots on the front
and back of the chassis. While the inside of the chassis was modified to accommodate
the "torsion bar suspension" axles, the exterior is unchanged with the exception of the
standard flame logo replacing the 30th Anniversary version. The front grill is
neatly masked in black and the four headlights are unpainted zinc-plated metal.
The four horizontal rear lights are crisply masked in red. The car rides on retrofitted
RSWs and was manufactured in China.
This casting is the only one of the four from 1998 to closely match its 1970 ancestor,
so I decided to compare the HWC car with the original. The new Light My Firebird
looks like a retooled enhanced more detailed version of the 1970 model. The dimensions
are extremely close, and the current model makes the original look crude in comparison.
The newer model features side vents behind the doors, the ragtop boot molded into the interior,
headlights and finer taillight detail. In comparing the similar features such as the
interior, engine compartment and overall dimensions, there is very little difference.
It gives the impression that the tool was refurbished some time during the past 35 years
and that the model never left the line.
My example rolls well but has a slight wiggle when it rolls slowly. It still has
some pep at higher speeds, although I suspect my Kuda is a better performer.
But assembling these cars was never an exact science, not even three decades ago.
Some were thoroughbreds and others not quite that, but they always looked great.
This Light My Firebird - with its understated graphics and conservative scheme -
won’t hold everyone’s appeal, but I like it a lot. It is well decorated, and although
the black striping can disappear into the olive mirror finish at certain angles, it displays
beautifully. The model is packaged on the individually numbered HWC blister card in a
Protecto-Pak, and happens to be the car featured in the card's artwork. With 10,000 pieces in
the run, most of those who want it will be able to acquire it. And for those who never
have been fans of Spectraflame olive - take a look at this model out of the blister, and
perhaps you'll gain a whole new perspective.
Nicely done Mattel.