While we have pretty much uncovered most every detail about the Mattel Pixar CARS diecast lineup, I don’t think anyone has really covered the ‘card backs’ in great detail so let us start that project here.
There are now 3 front card designs for individual non-exclusive “blister” CARS:
The “desert/classic/original” scene
The Flo’s Cafe Night “Supercharged” card
World of Cars
The cardbacks on the other hand have gone through at least a dozen changes …
The Desert/Classic/Original card looks like it has gone through 9 different versions for the “back card.” (I’ll just call it the ‘Classic card’ design to save time).
What is mostly consistent across all of them is that each CAR gets its own unique description, there is a “no baby-small parts” symbol along the left and that this purchase is worth “10 miles/points” in the “License to Win” promotion (promotion ended 12/31/2006). Also, CHICK is listed as “Chick” across all Classic back cards but the front of his car/card is listed as CHICK HICKS. And all of the Classic back card CARS are listed as “Assortment H6405″ even as the line expanded from 12 to 16 cars.
EXCEPT of course, for one release that just have a blank space where the License to Win promotion artwork should be. That one is kind of mystery as we look at more details.
But what are the differences?
CLASSIC CARD BACK ONE – 12 Cars “Filmore.”
Thanks to “Ham Salad,” finally helping to decipher the Mattel date code, this looks like the first card – makes sense, it’s esthically balanced at the bottom since this was the one that went through the most approvals – though somehow someone at Pixar missed and signed off on the incorrect FILLMORE as Filmore.
FILLMORE is listed as “Filmore.” The “small parts” text is on 2-lines, the “colors may” vary is center justified and the Mattel code is vertical on the right hand side. There is also a notation this was made in Thailand & “import” info about Canada. The “License to Win” promotion has an end date 12/31/2006.
CLASSIC CARD BACK TWO – 12 Cars “Filmore.”
This is definitely the oddball one(s) as it’s essentially the same as CARD ONE except it contains a blank spot without the “License to Win” promotional info. So, is this the true #1 card before Mattel decided they wanted to assure better sales by adding a promotion? Or was this intended for the English overseas market (Australia/New Zealand/Phillipines?) and because sales were going so well, they just decided to mix them into the US allotment? I suspect it’s the 2nd reason as promotions tend to be planned out well in advance so my guess is that this was the overseas English speaking countries version but was mixed in the US allotment to keep it on the shelf (since it’s missing Canada & Europe required “other” languages, that’s why I’m not including the UK & Canada for this version). So far, it looks like only three CARS have the missing promo info: Wingo, Sarge, Lizzie with Wingo being the rarest of the three.
And yes, FILLMORE is spelled Filmore. To reinforce that I think this was created/printed around the same time as one is that the “Small Parts …” legalese is the same as Classic Card #1 in its look & feel.
CLASSIC CARD BACK THREE – 12 Cars “Filmore.”
Again, thanks to “Ham Salad,” the factory code looks like this might have been the first one from China – hence the same back but a larger Mattel code on the right hand side.
CLASSIC CARD BACK FOUR – 16 Cars “Filmore.”
Of course, the main change is that there are now 16 CARS featured. LEAK LESS is listed as “Leakless.” The information regarding where it was made & import info was moved to the legalese underneath the car itself on the front – see link at end.
FILLMORE is listed incorrectly as “Filmore.”
Is this definitely the first of the 16-Cars back? Hard to be certain though there are 2 16-back CARDS with Fillmore mis-spelled so it’s either of the two. I will go with this choice simply because the Mattel code is still horizontal – positioned about where it was on the last 12-Cars back – so it was one little tiny less bit of work for the designer.
CLASSIC CARD BACK FIVE – 16 Cars “Filmore.”
Looks virtually identical to CLASSIC CARD #4 but I will go out on a limb and say this is the correct order because they moved the Mattel code to a vertical position – reducing some clutter and looks slightly more esthically pleasing. This is the LAST card with Fillmore spelled incorrectly.
CLASSIC CARD BACK SIX – 16 Cars “Fillmore.”
For the first time, FILLMORE is spelled correctly on the back. I’m also going to say that I believe this card was concurrently distributed with the CLASSIC CARD #7 as this might be the last Thailand CARS & card. It’s virtually identical to CLASSIC CARD #3 with the made in Thailand notation at the bottom – the only change is they pasted in a TIFF file of the 16-cars.
Because this (small print) design does not really go in any series with the other 16-Cars back that I have to believe it was the last of the Thailand ones.
CLASSIC CARD BACK SEVEN – 16 Cars “Fillmore.”
At this point, it’s hard to say what the correct order for the next three card back designs but here’s my rational. CLASSIC CARD #7 is EXACTLY the same as CLASSIC CARD #5 except FILLMORE is now spelled correctly. Everything else is the same especially the positioning of the legalese and warnings at the bottom – and with the Mattel code vertical.
CLASSIC CARD BACK EIGHT – 16 Cars “Fillmore”
FILLMORE is spelled correctly (Leakless still is not LEAK LESS). These last two Classic Cards are a tossup. I’m only going to go with this one as #8 because the lawyers decided to make the legelese larger so they went to a slightly larger typeface size (10-point perhaps) and made the Mattel code larger along the way – though you could easier argue that Classic Card #9 is really #8.
CLASSIC CARD BACK NINE – 16 Cars “Fillmore”
The exact same as Classic Card #8 only the Mattel code is the same typeface size as the legalese at the bottom of the card. Was #8 or #9 the last of the Classic cards?
Either way, this is the swan song for the Classic look. They revamped everything in the line not just the 1:55 diecast and started calling it “Supercharged.” The artwork is certainly more dynamic with more dark colors and the neon from Flo’s Cafe. This new color scheme of dark colors and “neon” is used throughout the product line in all scales & packaging now.
SUPERCHARGED CARD BACK ONE – 23 Cars “Leak Less”
Leak Less is now listed as his correct name. 23 cars are shown – technically never correct as some shown on the back came out later than other CARS not shown on the back and others until very recently were only available as a 2-pack (like Sarge & Fillmore). The contest & points is gone and so are the individual descriptions of each – just a name of each car character.
The legalese and import info has returned to the back – and the “small parts” warning moves to the right. The internal code is at the bottom right. Through 4 versions so far, the legalese text portion has not changed so far.
An offshoot of SUPERCHARGED CARD ONE is an error in the printing of BOOST, a double strike – fairly obscure but there it is …
SUPERCHARGED CARD BACK TWO – 21 Cars “Hamm, No Hamm”
Oddly enough, there was a 21-car card back that only seems to have been used for two cars, HAMM & CRUSIN’ McQUEEN – leading credence at one point that both were “Mattel Treasure Hunts,” or known in the collector’s jargon as “chase” cars. That they were in short or limited supply and that you have to chase & treasure hunt them … ultimately, this proved not to be the case as HAMM is sort of pegwarmer and CRUSIN’ MCQUEEN which once reached about $100 USD has fallen to not even worthy of a bid on eBay.
Another difference is the shorter legalese.
SUPERCHARGED CARD BACK THREE – 23 Cars “Yeti, the Abominable Snowplow”
Thanks to “Tuatara1″ for the heads up of this one that I missed. There is a short time SUPERCHARGED card that was apparently was “mistaken” used on BUG MOUTH McQUEEN, YETI & RPM (Thanks B Wilson). As Tuatara1 notes in the comments of the difference, “Yeti as “Yeti the Abominable Snowplow” and “Red Ramone” as Hydraulic Ramone.” Technically, you could argue that Yeti the Abominable Snowplow is its full name and that Mattel probably also didn’t want to try and fit ‘Yeti the Abominable Snowplow’ on the front label so they went with Yeti on both labels but clearly, Hydraulic Ramone is definitely incorrect and different from Red Ramone.
SUPERCHARGED CARD BACK FOUR – 23 Cars “Hamm, Yes Hamm”
Back to a 23-car back card though different cars than before. Again, many cars not appearing until very recently (such as Yeti) but the easiest to spot is HAMM is prominently featured. This is the current card as of early August 2007. And as noted, Yeti the Abominable Snowplow is listed on the back but his name on the front is just Yeti. HYDRAULIC RAMONE is corrected from Supercharged card #3.
WORLD OF CARS CARD ONE – 14 Cars “That’s Crusin’ Lightning McQueen to you!”
Starting with Mattel shipment HWM1054-A in October 2007, we have a brand new card front & back. The backdrop is the road leading to Radiator Springs during the daytime and titled “World of Cars.” The name of each CAR is now large and bold in a license-plate typeface and also numbered on the front.
The back reflects a partial borrowing of the current European design – below each CAR is a checklist “box” though not exactly that useful as it features only 14 CARS and it does not quite sync with the contents of “Box A,” the first shipment of WOC cards. Tex Dinoco is not part of the box but he is coming soon … ultimately, this may not mean anything as none of the previous Supercharged cards ever really matched what was out in the stores when the cards first appeared.
One additional note – they are “formalizing” the Lightning McQueen names – Crusin’ McQueen is now Crusin’ Lightning McQueen – presumably some trademark thing the bored lawyers at Mattel pointed out.
As for the numbering system, there’s no apparent logic as Bug Mouth McQueen is certainly not the 7th car released – the numbering scheme sort of matches the poster design but again, Bug Mouth McQueen is not the 7th CAR featured so who knows what they are basing the numbering scheme on?
WORLD OF CARS CARD TWO – 15 Cars “Hamm, I Am … Still”
With the Box B shipment, Mattel seems be actively changing out card backs with each shipment. While there are some CARS carried over on the back on WOC Card #2 from card #1, there are a slew of new CARS shown now that only just shipped in Box B. Stll technically missing on WOC cards but featured on the back are: Dirt Track Lightning, Yellow Ramone & Hamm – though clearly to the casual collector, they should be able to easily find them on the pegs as Supercharged cards.
The rapid change on the back of the cards is a good way to make it appear that everything is “easy” to complete – why, there are only 15 cars in this thing called WORLD OF CARS! What could be easier, right?
As with Box A, the truly NEW CARS are sniped in two versions – one version that reads NEW and another that does not. This might be a temporary thing as Mattel had the cards printed out before deciding to add “new.”
For those who note such things, the Mattel code on the bottom left has been changed from the numbers on WOC cards #1.
All CARS previously released (even recently like Mario Andretti) do NOT get the “new” snipe – only actually/truly new releases like Pit Crew Fillmore, Pit Crew Hornet & Dinoco Helicopter rightfully get the “new” designation (as one your options).
WORLD OF CARS CARD THREE – 15 Cars “Peet Stop, Anyone?”
As with the WORLD OF CARS cards, Mattel is actively changing out card backs with each shipment and after 3 shipments (Box A, B & C), we have three different card backs – most notably two NEW cars coming in Box D – Pit Crew Member Guido & Race Official Tom. The PCM Guido is the first CAR that comes with accessories and the first CAR featured on the back card with accessories. (Stanley the statue is the equivilient of an accessory but not really). The extras with Guido are a nice way to keep him in scale – otherwise, Mattel might be tempted to make him slightly larger to make us feel we’re not being cheated but I think most of us prefer that he stay in scale.
Again, I believe Mattel is doing this to bring in the newcomers so the checklist of characters is not overwelhming (at first glance, at least). For Box D, Mattel is re-using this third card so new card per every shipment …
What started as only MOVIE MOMENTS as multi-packs, they have been joined by the new GIFT PACKS (3-packs) and the Piston Cup Race Off series (Launchers).
The first Desert Art cardback was pretty straightforward. There were only 4 Movie Moments multi-packs and all were featured on the back. In some senses, you could argue this release was the only real logical for them as multi-packs.
Red & Stanley – Red, the fire engine is a townie but also contained about 3 times the metal of any other CAR so naturally, being paired with a plastic “accessory” was perfect.
Luigi & Guido by themselves seemed to offer too little value but pairing with the Tractor made it all appealing.
Normally, girls characters in boys lines don’t sell as well (Batgirl, Wonder Woman, etc …) plus Flo took up a lot of metal so, again, pairing with Ramone allowed them to make a little more money as a 2-fer.
Boost & Snot Rod were the only blatant attempt to milk a little extra … Wingo & DJ were out as regular cards – so if you wanted all 4 Tuners, you have to pony up a little extra …
During the Supercharged card days, they not only brought back all the CARS and Movie Moments packs from the Desert Art series, most of the additions seem to be less motivated about balancing value (Red/Stanley) but more about making a little extra while giving us a little less (Mike & Sulley, & the tiny Buzz & Woody) or the blatant re-pairing of Fillmore & Sarge. It was until the end of the Supercharged series that they went back to logical pairings like Mia & Tia or the Rust Eze brothers.
Each card featured 6 other Movie Moments.
The Supercharged cards ended abruptly and switched to World of CARS – again, no Movie Moments were retired – while the design motif changed, the concept of featuring 6 other Movie Moment sets were still used. Note that DARRELL CARTRIP is spelled DARAELL – presumbly because Mattel choose a typeface where the A & R look remarkably similiar.
The artwork on the backs are now split in two – one favoring mostly new releases and one showing mostly repeats:
In late December 2007, Mattel added new multi-packs including GIFT PACKS and PISTON CUP RACE OFF cars with launchers. Each of the 6 CARS released featured the same back art (Octane Gain did not make it into the first shipment).
The GIFT PACKS featured all of the CARS from the 3-packs that were released.
EXCLUSIVES (on cards)
TARGET EASTER EGG CARD
Scanning the back of the Easter Eggs is not very interesting as it’s all white and with bits of legalese – presumably, Mattel and Target rushed into an agreement without much time to do the back and/or they pretty much presumed the end of the line was near so why not save a few bucks – clearly, they were wrong
TARGET SUPERCHARGED PUMPKIN TRAY CARD
For Halloween 2007, there was a three CARS exclusive which featured the CARS resting in a transparent orange pumpkin shaped tray. The artwork on the front featured the night time crusin’ movie/street scene in Radiator Springs (not Flo’s as in the other Supercharged cards) but across from Luigi’s and Wimpy’s. It has the Supercharged designation.
Unlike most CARS on cards, they each got a custom card – for instance, this Doc Hudson had his photo featured at the top and Crusin’ McQueen & Ramone (Purple) also had their own little moment of glory on top of their own card. I did not bother to scan those in. In the lower left corner, you can also see they each got their own code number: Doc M7483, Crusin’ M7481 & Ramone M7482.
MOTOR SPEEDWAY WAL MART CARD ONE – 8 Cars “Wal Mart Exclusives”
New for September 2007 is a special Wal-mart exclusive card for the 8 CARS that are only currently available at Wal-mart … though fortunately, by 2008, all of these CARS will available at other stores (presumably with all new cards). Since the backdrop looks like the night race at the beginning of the movie at the Motor Speedway of the South, we’ll just randomly call it that until we get an official name from Mattel.
The first version of this card does NOT have the “U.S. interstate sign design” with the snipe NEW! The interesting notation is the bottom left code is different between the two (again for the first time, even when they switched from 12-back to 16-back, the Mattel code never changed). It reads M2950-0910. You can’t really see it but it’s the number in the bottom left corner.
While NEW! has always offered marketing & sales usefulness, perhaps they started the CARD design and printing and then with the recall, they decided they wanted an extra emphasis since everything was the same old-same old on the shelves (if in fact your local store still had any CARS on the shelves).
MOTOR SPEEDWAY WAL MART CARD TWO – 8 Cars “Wal Mart Exclusives”
This looks like the first instance where there are two current designs but with a DIFFERENT design element on the front of the card – mainly the addition of a U.S. interstate highway sign design sniping that it’s “NEW!”
The other difference is the code is different: M2950-0911 – presuming the higher number indicates a later manufacturing from card #1. Everything else is the same – both appear to be Made in China.
If you would like to see full sized scans of most of the card backs, check out our FLICKR set.
If you’re curious about the impact stamped numbers (not printed on the card, if you look carefully near the plastic strip on the back, thanks to “Ham Salad,” we’re finally able to discern exactly what day it was packed:
“- The first three digits tell you which day in the calendar year it was
- The fourth digit corresponds to the last digit of the year of production.
- The last two digits are unknown to me, but I believe them to specify which factory
manufactured the toy.”
Here are the two versions of the legalese that appeared as noted in CLASSIC CARD BACK #2 and hasn’t changed much since them – the SUPERCHARGED versions are slightly different but nothing or real note. Different cars that may be licensed will feature a logo or additional legalese.
As for the 2-Packs/Movie Moments, they sort of follow the same pattern, the CLASSIC cards packaging featured a brief description of the car characters (though no points, no promotions) and the SUPERCHARGED packs just feature the CARS – there does not seem to be other versions of the two main design.
If you have something differently, send us an email or comment below. Thanks.
Collectors and completists might also want to check our other post on the subject.
Hollie from the UK was kind enough to look through her card backs and scan them in for us. She says he’s been collecting from the beginning and that this is the order of release:
The obvious differences are the multiple European Union languages for “Collect Them All” and of course the legalese. The oddity is they stripped out the License to Win game details but left in the speedometer graphic. There apparently was no 12-car release.
They jumped to the SUPERCHARGED design with the next release – matching the first SUPERCHARGED design of the US. They took the lazy way out and just slapped a giant sticker with the legalese and warning in EU languages.
The next SUPERCHARGED version moved towards a more EU-local design with translations of that CARS characters on the back (in this case, the Fabulous Hudson Hornet) – in the US, the first desert/original design feature a different card for each CARS character with a specific graphic but the U.S. SUPERCHARGED are not custom/personalized for each CAR.
They brilliantly added a “checklist” feature – a tiny white fill-in bubble at the bottom of each CAR. Why brilliant? Because by not listing the names of the CARS in English, they are not required to list it in another slew of EU languages so a bubble checklist is less work and less clutter (well, only slightly less with that mass of legalese and warnings). They also converted the 5 rows from the US release to 3 rows – though in the same sequential order.
The latest card add many of the CARS from Wave 3 but is different from the US version in that it too features 23-CARS but instead of Yeti adds Fillmore, the German made VW Microbus of the 1960′s. The rest are the same but in a different order.
(and of course, now you know how to say Bling Bling in other languages … also note, the checklist are still white bubbles – in this one, Hollie from the UK started filling it in. At first, I thought it was some secret Mattel code
In the UK, as of Autumn 2007, there are running a promotion – buy 6 CARS, get a free “collector’s” car and buy 12 – get a carrying case. Details are at: www.carstoys.co.uk (Thanks “galaia2004.”
The collector car is VINYL TOUPEE – not bad as we in the US have to buy a box and take 4 repeats to get him.
Here is the “beautiful” packaging Vinyl Toupee arrives as …
MOVIE MOMENTS – MULTI PACKS
She was also kind enough to scan in the now Movie Moments packs.
The Euro version is essentially the same as the US except instead of a paragraph about Casa Della Tires, the Euro version is truncated to one line and of course, repeated in many other languages. I can’t quite tell as the scan was cut off but it looks the speedometer graphic from the License to Win game/points is also all that remains while the US version has the details on how to earn points and when it ends.
Apparently they realized the US version colors were a little washed out, in particular BOOST – instead of Purple, he was more Lavender so it was updated. Once I completed my Movie Moments package, I stopped collecting and looking so I do not know if the US versions were updated with the classic/desert back design & Boost’s more correct color.
And now, bringing it up to date, the SUPERCHARGED versions … the differences: The EU versions have a white bubble as a checklist – again to save space, clutter and time and there’s no specific description other than that sets CARS character’s name and a reminder to Collect Them All in various languages while the US versions are still personalized/customized with a brief description of the two CAR set and of course, the CARS character names in that set.
Note – slight color variations might be due to the scanning process and reproduction on my computer & your computer.
But enjoy and thanks Hollie for the UK cards!
This is a typical Canadian card back – In French and Spanish? (along with English):