What is up with the RLC?

RLC stands for Red Line Club, which is the Hot Wheels Collectors exclusive group that has limited members where one can attempt to join once a year. Many members are able to renew each year, while on occasion some cannot, or some do not, and the club grows by small amounts each year to facilitate new members.

One of the perks to being a member is the ability to purchase Hot Wheels cars made exclusively for the club. In the past, those cars were only able to be purchased through the RLC. Once the sale of the car happened, only then were cars able to be purchased or won on the secondary market, like eBay, company promotions, etc.

The RLC has always had problems with their website crashing on car sales days. Sales get postponed or delayed often. When this happened for the sale of the 1969 Dodge Charger R/T, no one was really that surprised. Mattel said they were going to postpone the sale another week and I just accepted that.

What I didn’t expect, was that Hagerty would be promoting a give away of 25 RLC 1969 Dodge Charger R/T cars for new users to their platform. I am all for promoting the love of Hot Wheels to others, and promoting automotive culture. But, it is unsettling to me that Hot Wheels is letting their RLC cars be accessed, even through a give away, through something other than the RLC. What then is the point of the RLC? If there is the possibility of getting access to the cars elsewhere, that devalues being part of the club.

They should have done a similar promotion to the Road Kill partnership. Hot Wheels created two separate cars for Motor Trend’s Road Kill show that could be obtained by being a new subscriber to Motor Trend On Demand. While I do have a minor beef with that, because they didn’t offer it to current subscribers (which I am) only new, the car can only be obtained in that manner and it was not a RLC exclusive car.

All that needs to happen is the RLC cars should only be available to RLC members, especially if an RLC sale got postponed. Once the sale happens, maybe then the car can be used as a marketing tool. But, it would be best if RLC cars stay exclusive to the RLC.

The Hardest Part about being a Hunter

Some cars I found before the quarantine.
I’m a quarantined car collector. These are some cars I found before everything went down.

A hobby that I have had my entire life is collecting Hot Wheels. It is something that I have always done and while at certain points of my life I collected less cars than at other points, I have never gotten out of the hobby. There have been times I’ve thought about it, but just can’t bring myself to. One of the most fulfilling thrills is going from store to store to hunt down those little 97 cent cars.

That has been the hardest part about this worldwide virus pandemic. I have not left my house in over 5 weeks. In order to hunt, one has to be able to go out and do it. Now, my self quarantine is exactly that. My wife and I have chosen not to go anywhere during this time. So, maybe those of you reading this might not have pity or empathy or sympathy for me. I understand and accept that. In some regard, I’m not seeking that.

While it is hard to watch fellow collectors out and about soaking up all the fresh cars off the pegs, I have to accept that I have not chosen to go out and hunt. I want to be safe and keep my wife safe. In the long run, I’d rather be alive to hunt another day than to risk getting sick. Plus, in this day and age, I can always have cars shipped right to my door. So once this subsides, maybe I’ll hunt online for all the cars I missed. It’s not as thrilling, but it keeps the collection complete.

What was Hot Wheels Nationals like?

collector-merch

When the Hot Wheels Collectors Nationals was announced that it would be hosted in Charlotte, North Carolina, I was super excited. I would finally get a chance to go to one of the biggest gatherings regarding ever for my Hot Wheels collecting hobby! I had heard plenty of stories and watched many videos about the event and since joining the RLC club for the first time ever, I was interested in taking my hobby to the next level.

While Charlotte is only a few hours from where I live, I was hesitant to actually buy a ticket. I don’t know why, I just went back and forth about the price, logistics, and if it was an overall wise thing to do. I ended up missing the window to buy a ticket. While I was bummed, I accepted the fact that I was indecisive (I do that a lot). Yes, I was a bit sulky around the house but I thought it was for the best. Then, while at a local meet up with some other collectors, one of them told me they had a friend who had a ticket available. A few emails later and I was on the list to attend the 20th Annual Hot Wheels Collectors Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina on April 1st through 5th, 2020.

I still had no idea where I would stay, how long I would go, or what I was going to do. As the even came closer, about a month out, I started thinking I would do the room to room and hunt for cars, but I was also thinking about going to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and going to Joe Gibbs Racing, as well as any other automotive site I could find.

Then, a few weeks out, mid March, the virus struck. Cancelling event after event, isolating countries, cities, people into their homes and reducing any hope of large gatherings for the foreseeable future.

While I was not able to actually go to what would have been my first Hot Wheels Nationals, I hold out hope that someday, maybe I will be able to go to one. And even though it didn’t take place, the amazing hosts who organize the event still were able to mail out all the merchandise and cars associated with attending the event. I am very thankful for that.