Tag Archives: Mattel Disney Pixar CARS

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Motor Speedway Set Unboxing Photos + Yep, Dale Jr. is a Variant

Thanks to reader, “Steve” who seems to have one of the first official ones. Don’t ask me or him how he got it … just look at the pictures and be ready to get in/on the cyber-line on Tuesday.

The Box:

The Coke can is for height comparison, of course but as we proceed further, it’s evident you will need a cold one to finish and display this thing … by my eye, it’s like 8 Coke cans tall so clear off you Emmy and Best Camper Awards for this thing.

And now, we open:

The cardboard boxes inside only serve to support the box – nothing inside.

From Steve’s own words (with some UK English to American English),

“Anyway, it comes in a big cardboard box with Mattel logo an the usual purple banding, weighing in at 8.4 kg, which is about 18.5 lbs. (REVISED – CORRECTED).

The ends are sealed with standard packing tape. Inside the box are 2 boxes, some packaging and tissue paper.

The first box is the Speedway of the South box itself, as shown in the pictures above. It is sealed with circular tabs, but contains no cars, only 3 cardboard fillers to support it, and display plinth area.”

(Plinth is a cool word, no idea what it means so I left in there 🙂 )

The CARS come in a separate cardboard piece:

Again – Steve says, “The second box is a long, flattish cardboard box, sealed with packing tape, in which there are the cars themselves. They sit in 2 moulded plastic trays and are individually bagged. These bags are not sealed. There is also a packet of ties which can be used to secure the cars to the proper box.

In other words, it’s a kind of self assembly job.”

So, you can’t display it without cracking it open – so on your marks – OPEN!

Back of the box:

Steve also seems the mention the front clear plastic is heavier gauge clear plastic – not like the flimsy plastic covering the typical box sets which tend to sag after a while.

But that’s not all, Steve was thoughtful enough to give us a view of the DIFFERENT & VARIANT Dale Jr.

Yep, it’s all true.

For reference, here is the current Dale Jr.

All smiles and a happy go lucky guy.

New Dale Jr.? The I’m passing and I’m gonna spin you out Dale Jr. (ie: I’m sick and tired of hearing about LM, King & Chick!)

What is different? As far as I can tell:

It’s the No Stall/Nitroade body

He’s not smiling

Eyes different

The stylized JR logo on the back “trunk” is thicker and taller – almost touching the windshield.

There are 7-8 rivets on the “front” of the spoiler – the back of the spoiler looks the same.

Back “tail-lights” are now triangular in shape versus the rectangles before.

The red color might not be a Budweiser red (to avoid trademark issues) but another red now but that’s hard to say until I hold them side by side but that would be logical.

Anything else?

Well, here’s your one “exclusive” car – whether this becomes the new Dale Jr., we shall have to see.


Normally, Mattel starts a countdown 12-4 days beforehand and we are already at 4 days so it seems unlikely we will get a countdown … Reader Matt brings up an interesting point about why we haven’t seen a countdown yet.

” …it seems really odd that there has not been a price release or countdown timer for this set despite the fact that they have confirmation that 5/20/08 is the day. Wondering if Mattel is trying to drum up more sales through their regular RL Club members who are anti-Cars. Have looked through some of the message boards on Hotwheels.com, and have seen estimates by their members that they think the price point is at $100.00, and most saying that they won’t even sniff if it is over that amount. I think they will be in for a big surprise…”

One reason for no-countdown is that it might annoy the regular HW/RL Club members who already cried about offering the Factory Set last year so Mattel might not want to wave a red flag in front of them – knowing full well that 99.8% of the buyers for this set have pretty much been ready the to buy the first rumors leaked out last fall.

So, apparently on Tuesday, the 20th, the flag will drop at 9 AM Pacific US time and the only countdown is when they sell out. And since the set is $250-$300, they don’t want you to think too hard by analyzing it logically over days or weeks – instead they just want you to go all Vegas and click away on Tuesday. The current info is 1,000 sets so good luck and may you be blessed with 50 MBps broadband.

So thanks Steve, enjoy and hope that everyone else who wants one will have a great Motor Speedway of the South Day May 20th.

Any other questions – presumably, they’ve been answered in the sneak peek post or our recent & older posts so good luck everyone!


Filed under Advertising, collecting, Design, Film, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Retail, Toys, TV

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Revised Gift 3-Pack Assortments


Mattel definitely seems to have put Speed Racer on the back burner and turned their full attention back to CARS … as we CARS collectors might say, ‘about damn time!’

Though they must’ve burned a giant carbon footprint (21st century version of ‘the midnight oil’) thinkin’ up those short-card Lane Mates …

As we had speculated and confirmed through the trade show displays and through the partial listings on several retailers/re-sellers, it does seem Mattel is making the Gift 3-Packs the packaging of choice of most things Piston Cup … which is both good and bad – while we are losing some of the original CARS (Crew Chiefs mostly) as singles and “forced” to buy them as part of a 3-pack with – in many cases with Piston Cup Racers we already have, it’s probably better for the CARS series in the long run to have the most visible and fun CARS as singles for the casual buyers (Jay Limo, Elvis RV, Chuki) and the “duller” Crew Chiefs for us serious collectors … it does however look that since the Pitty’s are both “fun” and price effective metal-wise, Mattel is continuing with those as singles as well as repeating them as 3-packs … so if you’re a completist, it’s wallet-time … but for those who shop carefully, you can skip a few Pitty’s … THOUGH based on the photo below from Toy Fair, do the 3-pack Pitty’s NOT include the tool chest & tires … if so, call the Gift 3-pack Pitty’s the extra crew Pitty’s for your diorama …

In any case, here is the REVISED lineup of Gift 3-Packs quasi-confirmed by Mattel through October 2008.

BOX C (not canceled – shipping next week).

Box D (JUNE)

Gold Mia Tia & Bling Bling McQueen (2)
Al Oft Blimp, Tom Race Official & Tow Truck (2)
Leak Less, Leak Less Crew Chief & Leak Less Pitty (2)




Box E (JULY)

Al Oft Blimp, Tom Race Official & Tow Truck (2)
Leak Less, Leak Less Crew Chief & Leak Less Pitty (2)
No Stall, No Stall Crew Chief & No Stall Pitty (2)

No Stall (#123) - Todd "The Shockster" Marcus


Shiny Wax (#82) - Darren Leadfoot



Leak Less, Leak Less Crew Chief & Leak Less Pitty (2)
No Stall, No Stall Crew Chief & No Stall Pitty (2)
Shiny Wax, Shiny Wax Crew Chief, & Shiny Wax Pitty (2)


No Stall, No Stall Crew Chief & No Stall Pitty (2)
Shiny Wax, Shiny Wax Crew Chief, & Shiny Wax Pitty (2)
SpareMint, SpareMint Crew Chief, and SpareMint Pitty (2)*

(SpareMint (#93) - Ernie Gearson)


Filed under Advertising, Checklist, collecting, Film, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Retail, Toys, TV

Disney Pixar CARS: Petersen Museum Exhibit Opens (Update Pixar Artists Talk)


The page is up and the exhibit is open at the LA Petersen Auto Museum, “The Art of CARS.

If anyone visits before we do, let us know what you think – write it and take some pictures!

Don’t forget to stop at Pink’s for a dog

The museum web page doesn’t contain much info than the press release they sent us and our original post.

The museum doesn’t even tell you to stop and visit the Mattel stores – only 40 minutes away (with no traffic … er, good luck with that). The El Segundo store is right by Mattel’s HQ. The link to the Mattel stores also offers a 10% off coupon. (If you land at l.AX, it’s right there so you can go there first).


If you’re planning on visiting all the Mattel stores – before you get to the City of Industry store, swing by Langer’s for the best pastrami in LA (call in your order, not much parking by MacArthur Park). The other stores in Pomona and San Bernandino are only reachable in the sense that Alaska & Australia both are on the Pacific Ocean=


© Copyright Disney/Pixar


On Wednesday May 13, at 7:30pm, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will present a gallery talk by Pixar’s artists behind the movie, CARS with Art Director Tia Kratter, Sketch Artist Jay Shuster, and Character Team Manager Jay Ward were some of the creative minds and hands behind Disney/Pixar’s 2006 animated feature film, Cars. Hear the insider stories about the making of the film from three artists on this special evening.

This public program is offered in conjunction with the Museum’s latest exhibit, “The Art of Cars” on view in the Hollywood Gallery.

Free with Museum general admission ($10 adults; $5 seniors & students; $3 children ages-5-12; free under 5). Reservations are recommended. Call 323-964-6347 or email to yray@petersen.org for more info or reservations.



Filed under Advertising, collecting, Design, Film, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Retail, Toys, TV

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: P Case Assortment Announcement

Now, keep in mind, Mattel could change their mind but since it’s most likely been packed and on its way from overseas, it’s likely to be correct.

The other good news is Mattel seems to have actually taken a look at the inventory on the shelves and realized, hey, maybe if we pack more new ones in cases, the stores are happier when consumers strip the shelves bare AND of course, they sell more sealed cases – saving them a lot of time.

So, here is it, P Case – the first time some new CARS will come THREE to a case:

Bug Mouth McQueen
Fabulous Hudson Hornet
Kathy Copter (3)
Mario Andretti
Petrol Pulaski (RPM #64 Pitty) (3)
Race Official Tom
Radiator Springs McQueen

Tongue Lightning McQueen
Tar Lighting McQueen (3)



No official photo of Tar Lightning McQueen.

And while not a perfect scenario, better than before and certainly better than the shipments of most of 2008.

For those keeping score at home, this was the original announced CASE P:

And back tracking – here is what is reported to be in the next shipment CASE K:

Bug Face McQueen (2)
Crusin’ Lightning McQueen
Darrell Cartrip
Dinoco Helicopter
Dudley Spare
Ferrari F430
Lightning Ramone
Luke Pettlework (
Dinoco Pitty) (2)
Pit Crew Member Fabulous Hudson Hornet
Pit Crew Member Guido
Race Official Tom
Tongue Lightning McQueen
Van (2)

CASE L is listed as NOT AVAILABLE – going to Wal-Mart? Or simply an administrative change as Mattel shifts CASE M & CASE N also to the new “three” of each NEW in each case? Especially since the original CASE L was really a catch up box of CARS that would have been released in CASES E-K but since many didn’t get released, it was really just repeats from 2006 & 2007.

There is no case O normally as it might be confusing with O, the letter and 0 the number.

Some places already have reported receiving case M

Al Oft the Lightyear Blimp (2)
Bling Bling Lightning McQueen
Bug Mouth Lightning McQueen
Charlie Checker
Chick Hicks
Cruisin’ Ramone
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Doc Hudson
Hydraulic Ramone
Lightning McQueen
Pit Crew Member Guido
Radiator Springs McQueen
Stacy (Leakless Pitty) (2)

So, that leaves us these MISSING CARS from the original announcement after K and between P (Original, L, M, N & P) …

Barney’ Stormin’
Jay Limo
Kori Turbowitz
Richard Kensington (SUV)
Ron Hover

Pit Crew Member Sarge*

Chick Hicks Crew Chief**
Octane Gain Crew Chief**

Not included above is Lightning Storm McQueen officially scheduled to be released as a “special” exclusive at SD Comic Con (July 23, 2008) so he is definitely out of the running to be released in the next three shipments or in the next 5-8 weeks. A “normal” carded version will probably be in a CASE by autumn or the holidays 2008.

*Sarge(s) … let me tell you about a time, boys and girls when there was a CAR named Sarge … he was green and while slightly too large in scale, but he was actually on the store shelves … we could also buy gas for around $2 a gallon … I know you don’t believe me but if I’m lying, may I only buy CARS from the Disney Stores.

Will Sarge return in a blaze of glory as a WM exclusive? Along with Richard Kensington, Pit Crew Member Sarge & Jay Limo?

** The Crew Chiefs been shown in a Gift Pack (3-pack) and while we are waiting final confirmation on the Gift 3-Packs, they do seem to be going the direction we speculated on in March.

So even without a WM exclusive pallet, hopefully we will see the the missing Barney Stormin’, Jay Limo, Kori Turbowitz, Mini, Richard Kensington (SUV & Ron Hover) in the next shipments and be caught up with what we were promised … and of course, wave buh-bye to Speed Racer in the rear view mirror … hey buddy, when you get some eyes***, then we’ll talk 🙂

*** all plastic with crappy plastic wheels? You’re not even good enough to hang with TJ. The Jada ones, you’re alright as you’re metal but still, no eyes, I drink your motor oil shakes at Flo’s …


Filed under Advertising, Film, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Media, Retail, Toys, TV

Mattel Pixar Disney Cars: Visual Checklist 2008 (V1.1 – Now With Lane Mates)

THIS Post has been updated and moved to our new TakeFiveADay.com – Simply click on the text link or the logo above. Thanks!


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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: The Short Card “Lane Mates” & Checklist

It’s never dull collecting the Disney Pixar CARS. There is always something going on – and of course, when there’s nothing going on – there’s still something going on.

And apparently instead of designing CARS RV’s or the Cozy Cone Motel playset, the project group that made sure there was a Buzz & Woody in every store on every shelf corner on every street all over the world has finally finished their work – and moved onto something everyone felt was long overdue.

Mainly, Purple Ramone on a new card.

Waiiittt? Whhaaat?

Man, I should start reading those petitions I’m signing in front of Target.

Yes, our long national nightmare is over.

Purple Ramone is finally here on a short card.

That is what you’ve all been shouting from the rooftops, right?

Mattel has introduced a growing number of CARS on smaller cards called “Lane Mates.”

It is everything you ever hoped for on a backing card and just a little bit less.

You know what the regular card backs look like for CARS?

Yea, these are shorter – hence the name ‘short’ cards but in actuality, they are called ‘Lane Mates’ for the checkout lanes …

According to sources, they are NOT a K-Mart exclusive as I first thought but will be gushing into Mattel pipeline soon. I was just surprised that since Kmart received them, they might be an exclusive but nope … they’ll be available soon to Mattel wholesalers so no need to go the eBay route if you’re a completist.

While in theory, Mattel is saving some money using less paper and ink, the oddity is that the cards are custom (examples below) – see where Ramone or McQueen poke out “off” the scene? That is a custom cut – with all (except Barney Stormin’) of the previous 100+ cards from the line, other than the printing, the cards are all exactly the same cut and shape. With these, out of few examples below, we already can see several different CUSTOM shapes. If you order a couple million, it doesn’t add much to the cost but it’s odd because the few pennies they are savings in paper & ink, Mattel is plowing back into the custom die shape … strange if this is solely a cost savings measure …

Sure, retailers might like it because they can stock a few more rows & pegs but that also means they have to order more so it’s not a huge difference maker …

Is this merely to provide Kmart with an ‘exclusive’ but nothing that WM, Target or TRU care a whit about? Retailers and retailer buyers from a ‘competitor’ don’t really care about packaging exclusives especially as ‘mundane’ as smaller cards. So this might be a safe way for Kmart to get an exclusive that don’t affect the relationship with the much more important WM, TRU & Target.

Casual buyers don’t really care – only ultra completists will care.

What’s really amusing is the back art … or lack thereof … the back of the short cards art?

A photo of the regular card.

I hope they extend this concept. They can do an even smaller ‘mini’ card that will feature the ‘short’ card art on the back … and eventually just do a blister shape CAR with the art of the ‘mini’ card on the back … how small can you go? How small can you go?

And of course, “Collect Them ALL!”

Though what’s disappointing is that the ONLY art on the back on ALL the cards is LIGHTNING McQUEEN … so that would fall under the ‘money savings’ category obviously …

Thanks “Mike” for the photos and the update on the card backs!

And what the Mattel Hot Wheels short card looks like:

“Husker_Crazy” has been kind enough to give us a running checklist so far …

Bling Bling Lightning McQueen
Brand New Mater
Chick Hicks
Crusin’ Lightning McQueen
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dinoco Helicopter
Dinoco Lightning McQueen
Doc Hudson
Lightning McQueen
Lightning Ramone
Radiator Springs McQueen
Ramone – Purple
Tongue Lightning McQueen

UPDATE: There is a a A & B Case – each also with 18 cards/CARS. As soon as I have a full breakdown, I’ll let you know. Presuming only Box A is out, there might be up to 18 Lane Mates cards/CARS or the more likely possibility of 14-16 …  How much overlap is there with case B?

Some people have asked about their collectibility value and to that, I say – yes, no, maybe …

Mattel is using its best Jedi mind power, ‘These are the CARS you are looking plus many more in larger card sizes.’


Filed under Advertising, collecting, Film, Gadgets, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Retail, Toys, TV

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Mini Adventures – Packaging Variant or Just Confusion

You can debate whether Mattel simply doesn’t know what they’re doing or they are purposefully trying to sell you an extra card …

On the back of the RADIATOR SPRINGS FIRE DEPARTMENT card for Ramone & Flo, it lists them as themed “Race Rods.”

Other Cards that show them correctly.

The ACTUAL cars match the photo, that little dot/blur on their back quarter panel area? The Radiator Springs Fire Department logo so these are the Fire Department Ramone & Flo … even if their OWN card is confused by what theme they belong to.

The Checklist of what’s out is here.


Filed under Advertising, CARS, Checklist, collecting, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Media, Retail, Toys, TV

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: The Contact Numbers & Websites

© Copyright Disney/Pixar

Collecting CARS is nirvana and we’re all a giddy as schoolboys and schoolgirls – life could not be finer, full of rainbows, 32-oz steaks and free parking … well, at least for the first 3 days 🙂 … after that, we tend to get a little grouchier.

So, if collecting CARS or buying CARS is not entirely 100% the way you like … go straight to the source and politely tell them how you think things could be improved upon …

Mattel doesn’t have email but they have 800-numbers:

Canada- US: 800-524-8697 (hearing impaired: 800-382-7470)

You can write them at:

Mattel, Inc
333 Continental Boulevard
El Segundo, CA 90245-5012

You can also let them know what they think about their website.

After you join the Hot Wheels Collectors Club, you can post to the forums including:

The Site Feedback Forums.

The Off-Topic Forum (as there is no specific CARS Forum though you can send the webmaster an email and ask them why not: comments@hotwheelscollectors.com)

NOTE: Both sections above will require you to sign up to view.

In Europe:

Mattel Europa, B.V.
Gondel 1
1186 MJ Amstelveen
The Netherlands

(or check their international customer relation website front page)

You can contact Target by email or phone here. Or if you’d like to comment on merchandise (or lack there of), here is the ‘merchandise’ email form.

You can contact WM by email or phone here. Or the merchandise comment email is here.

TRU contact email form is here. Or by phone – 1-800-869-7787.

Or if you have any sins you wish to confess.


Filed under Advertising, collecting, Computing, Internet, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Media, Retail, Toys, TV

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: New York Comic Con Panorama

Thanks to reader “HisWill” who got a chance to go to NY Comic Con last weekend – he also got us a great panorama shot of CARS and of course, what’s coming by examining it closely.

The full sized panorama shot is up at our FLICKR page.

While there is nothing new that we haven’t seen in part at other trade shows, it’s clear that it’s ready for regular “average” people to look over … so presuming our earlier predications are correct that we’ll get one or two in the next few boxes, here’s what definitely coming – and hopefully sooner than later in the new few weeks & month(s) …

And yea, that Tumbleweed McQueen is pretty weak – I had no problem with Cactus McQueen but a collection of lichens on his head is pretty weak …


Filed under Advertising, collecting, Film, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Retail, Toys, TV

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Lightning Storm McQueen Exclusive at San Diego Comic Con

PLEASE NOTE – This post & this website has moved to TakeFiveADay.com – to read the latest Lightning Storm SD CC News, please click on the link above or click on the logo. Thanks!

Mattel displayed a Lightning Storm McQueen at the recent NY Comic Con – as the big exclusive CAR available at the SD Comic Con in July, 2008.

(more photos at Figures.com).

ToyNewsInternational has a great closeup/PR Photo that solves some of the mystery of what may be exclusive about it.

At larger Comic Cons (aka: Convention), toy companies will often offer an exclusive to draw interest in the line and of course, their booth.

There are four aspects that can make a figure/car/item special at these shows.

Number Distributed/Sold


Accessory (Special/Variant)

Item itself as “variant” version.
What does this mean for CARS & Lightning Storm McQueen?

Number Distributed or Sold Options:

Not Very Limiting – Available Outside Show
Somewhat Limited
Extremely LImited

The first option of exclusivity is simply the number produced or available at the show. It might be something that is not very limiting – you’re allowed to buy 1 per day (they stamp your hand) but you can buy one everyday of the show or perhaps, Mattel has teamed up with an online company so during those 4-5 days of the show, you can buy from them also (or even from the Red Line Club). Based on previous examples & likely Mattel history, this is unlikely, you will most likely be only able to buy only one at the show and at best, perhaps 1 a day which leads to the most likely scenario, that it’s somewhat limited. What that number is hard to guess but it’s a number where Mattel doesn’t have to take any back (home) so most likely, a few thousand. Now, it could extremely limited such as 100 given to vendors and a few raffled off but my guess is since Mattel announced at NY Comic Con it would be at SD, most likely, you have a reasonable chance of buying one. (What’s reasonable?, be my guest to guess 😉 )


Sticker on Card
Unique Card

Packaging pretty much goes hand in hand with the exclusivity. It’s pretty rare for an item at a show not to get some indication its unique – otherwise, of course, it’d be easy to forge when the “regular” one comes out later. The laziest is some sort of sticker on the regular store/retail card saying “SD COMIC CON EXCLUSIVE!” But most companies go to some effort to make it much more enticing – another cheaper way to go is simply to create a unique paper card and staple it to a plastic baggie – while not exactly the best way to go design & esthetic-wise, it is different and to collectors, that’s acceptable though virtually everyone hates the plastic baggie method. The last two are most desireable and of course, immediately add value and make it a collectible and that is some unique packaging – in the case of CARS, a unique SD Comic Con blister card and or in a special box

Accessory (Special/Variant)


So, when the “common” Lightning Storm McQueen is released, ) … will there be a clear plastic stand, the same missiles? – part of the variant possibilities are the accessories? They look pretty detailed and finely painted – will the store bought ones be as nice and as detailed? (It may just be a hand painted prototype anyway).

Item itself


And finally, in addition to “special” packaging & accessories and “limited” in numbers, the CAR itself might be a variant version available only at S.D. Just got the word – NOT LIMITED in availability!

From the Toy News International PR Close up photo, we can see it’s chrome.

Versus plain ‘ole Dinoco McQueen …

So, will there be a chrome Dinoco Blue SD Comic Con Lightning Storm McQueen with variant rockets on an exclusive plastic stand in an exclusive blister card in limited quantities? The mind boggles.

FULL UPDATE HERE. Briefly, it’s a Blue Rangburg chrome with a plastic stand AND the black base. As for packaging, we will have to see though the good news, not limited in quantity.


Filed under Checklist, collecting, Film, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Retail, Toys, TV