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Inside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest Cars

I haven't been fortunate on my recent Hot Wheels "hunting" sessions. So there was only one alternative: buy some from various sellers online. I am now waiting to take delivery of the yellow Porsche 930 Turbo from the Boulevard set and the Team Transport 1997 Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR. That's about $35, well spent!
Inside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest Cars 19 photos
Photo: Ministry of Diecast
Inside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest CarsInside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series: a Taste of Japan's Finest Cars
Some of you might have noticed Mattel's new Neon Speeders series in stores this year. At first, everyone was all over them, and the first batch vanished within the first few days. But after a restock, it seemed like the hype had vanished. Looking through the models in the 2023 set, I picked up the '99 Honda Civic Type R.

It was the only item that appealed to me, and I didn't expect any exciting updates for the future. And yet, here we are, looking at an all-exclusive JDM set for the second appearance of the Neon Speeders. Let's dive right into it!

'70 Toyota Celica

Inside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series\: a Taste of Japan's Finest Cars
Photo: Ministry of Diecast
Although the sixth-generation Toyota Celica has been getting some love from Mattel recently, the classic version of this car has had more releases in recent years. Jun Imai designed this casting for its 2013 HW City: Street Power release, and we've never seen a Premium version. The new variation features a bold color combo, with a Neon harlequin body and psychedelic paint swirls to make it stand out.

Another element of novelty is the use of the NS6 Neon Speeders 6-spoke wheels, which are decent given the price range. It's the 12th iteration of the '70 Toyota Celica, and this mini-collection won't ruin you financially.

Datsun 510 Wagon

Inside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series\: a Taste of Japan's Finest Cars
Photo: Ministry of Diecast
The Datsun 510 Wagon has a cult following among Hot Wheels enthusiasts, although I've never understood why. You might not see this body shape with Japanese icons too often these days, but I would still rather have a coupe or a four-door sedan. Jun Imai designed this casting for its Premium Boulevard debut almost ten years ago. A Super Treasure Hunt version came out in 2014, and then the Convention model in 2015.

Seven more Premium releases followed, and this year, we saw the second STH variation featuring a mouth-watering Spectraflame Mellon finish. For 2024, this casting has already shown up in the Hot Wagon series, so this is the second iteration for the new year. Black is always a good color for the 510 Wagon, and you can't object to the pink and lavender paint job. I can't say the same about the pink wheels, but younger collectors might feel differently about this combo.

Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R

Inside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series\: a Taste of Japan's Finest Cars
Photo: Ministry of Diecast
The Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R has been around for slightly longer than the Datsun, as it made its official debut in the 2011 New Models series. This casting was part of the 2016 Japan Historics set, too, and it's still one of the most fantastic Police cars in Mattel's portfolio. The 2018 Super Treasure Hunt variation featured a dark Spectraflame Blue finish, with no overcomplicated livery to obstruct the view.

But the Neon Speeders need to be flashy; that's the whole theme of this series. As a result, the designers in El Segundo opted for a Neon Pink finish with a green, black, and blue livery to complete the look. I'm excited about the detailed headlights and taillights, but I would certainly change the wheels if I had the chance to do it. I understand there's a theme here, but think of how cool the old Ultrahot wheel design was, especially if you compare it to this NS6 look.

'95 Mazda RX-7 Drift
Inside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series\: a Taste of Japan's Finest Cars
Photo: Ministry of Diecast
Ask any of my friends to look at the upcoming Neon Speeders set, and they will all tell you which item I'm most interested in. It's good to see a new variation of the FD RX-7 finally. Some might recognize this is different from Mattel's usual casting, a replica of an unmodified vehicle. Jun Imai designed that one; we have had 22 variations since 2017. Instead, the diecast manufacturer opted to resurrect the iD series version of the rotary sports car, which looks like a drift-ready machine.

That 2021 release looked fantastic in Spectraflame Blue and ID wheels, and you can't expect the Neon Speeders version to be just as good. The pink and green livery looks fresh against the black background, and the decals read "Hot Wheels" in Japanese. The hood scoop feels oversized, and it's almost as if someone borrowed it from a Mitsubishi Evo. But other than that, this is undoubtedly my favorite new Neon Speeders release.

'95 Mitsubishi Eclipse

Inside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series\: a Taste of Japan's Finest Cars
Photo: Ministry of Diecast
I am equally as excited about the '95 Mitsubishi Eclipse despite the horrid wheel color on this model. Seeing this car in orange immediately makes me think of Paul Walker. And then I started thinking. If Mattel came out with a Nissan GT-R featuring the same livery as Brian's Supra, how would an Eclipse look like using the same colors? Perhaps all this is just some experiment announcing the changes to come.

Mark Jones designed this casting for its 2019 debut, and for many years, we all hoped a non-Fast & Furious would come up one day. That happened recently, as we saw the Eclipse in a Car Culture Mitsubishi 2-Pack. I expect an avalanche of new colors and liveries over the next 24 months, and I'm sure most collectors will buy every one of them.

Honda S2000

Inside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series\: a Taste of Japan's Finest Cars
Photo: Ministry of Diecast
Ryu Asada's Honda S2000 is one of the most prolific castings in the new Neon Speeders set. Since its debut in 2011, Mattel has developed 37 variations across the board. It reached Super Treasure Hunt status in 2012, and a rare Convention model emerged in 2016. Fast & Furious replica aside, the Honda S2000 made it into the Red Line Club in 2019 with a Spectraflame Orange iteration that delivered 10,000 units worldwide.

Getting the complete S2000 collection is a challenging task by any standards, as some variations can cost as much as $5,000! But that won't be true for the latest Neon Light Green version. I don't think it will ever sell for more than $20, at least not in the foreseeable future. Aside from the vivid paint job, the livery is subtle, with black and white lines running across the car. It will undoubtedly be a crowd favorite once it arrives in stores.

Custom '01 Acura Integra GSR

Inside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series\: a Taste of Japan's Finest Cars
Photo: Ministry of Diecast
We recently witnessed Mattel's decision to introduce a new Integra casting: the Red Line Club exclusive Type R. And now we're getting ready to welcome the latest iteration of the older Custom '01 Integra GSR casting. If it featured bright yellow NS6 wheels, this could have easily ranked highest in the Neon Speeders set.

The orange/yellow livery is phenomenal against the black body, and I wish the diecast manufacturer would use similar patterns in the future. It also features the right exhaust color, making it one of the most accurate replicas of the lot.

Nissan 350Z

Inside the 2024 Hot Wheels Neon Speeders Series\: a Taste of Japan's Finest Cars
Photo: Ministry of Diecast
The last item for this new series is the 350Z, which means Nissan is the most popular brand here, outnumbering Hondas by one vehicle. Alec Tam designed this casting, which is also the oldest one on the list for today. It debuted in the 2006 First Editions series, featuring a Metalflake Yellow finish, a Rotora livery, and Co-Molded 6-spoke wheels. The proportions seem a bit off if you pay close attention to it. The design is almost cartoonish, and I hope Mattel will revisit the idea of creating a new 350Z soon.

I used to own the Tokyo Drift replica of the car, which appeared in 2015, and it's rather strange to think that we haven't seen a Premium version yet. Mattel has recently paid little attention to this casting, with only three iterations after 2014. No new models came out in 2022 and 2023, so it's surprising that the diecast manufacturer hasn't completely abandoned it. I like the green and blue livery, and the small Yokohama logos on the rear further add to the excitement.

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About the author: Dragos Chitulescu
Dragos Chitulescu profile photo

The things Dragos enjoys the most in life are, in no particular order: cars, motorcycles, diecast cars, and drifting. He's seen (and driven) many vehicles since he started his writing career back in 2009, but his garage currently houses a 1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Turbo II and a 1999 Suzuki SV650-S.
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