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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hot Wheels 1990 Honda Civic Hatchbox, and other Honda's from Mattel

It's hard to believe that before the turn of the century there was no Honda's in the Hot Wheels lineup. Now there are several Honda's in the line today, including four Civic's.  The most recent is the 1990 Honda Civic EF Hatchback.

The one that started the Civic popularity

Introduced in 1972 as a three-door hatchback designed for those who live in the tight quarters of a city and only needed a car for driving around the town.  Since then the Civic has grown into a larger model lineup with sedan, coupe, hatchback, CRX, Del Sol, and Si just one of the different variations over it's 40 year lifespan.  The fourth-generation Civic introduced the first Civic with independent four-wheel suspension to it's entire line.  It consists of double-wishbone suspension at all four corners, with the rear toe control arms smaller to allow for a roomier interior.  The styling was smooth out and looked more in common with the CRX.  Interior was roomy and had simple ergonomics on the dash.  Powertrains were mostly SOHC I-4 motors, unless you got the Japan and Euro-spec only SiR model, which featured the first use of the 1.6L DOHC VTEC I-4 producing 160 hp. at 7,600 rpm.  Connected to front wheels with a 5-speed manual in a car that weighs 2,100 Ib's and four-wheel independent suspension means a track-ready car, that was also a daily driver, for thousands less than comparable cars at the time.

Hot Wheels Hot SiR

I must say Hot Wheels did one heck of a job with this Civic.  The red paint with only front headlight and side trim details on a car that only has flared wheelwells, a rear spoiler, and the coffee can exhaust tip on an otherwise stock body.  The interior is nicely done and is right-hand drive for accuracy of the SiR origins.  The base shows little, but just enough to show the exhaust and even the drivetrain at the front.  Here's a tip for those who find one: check to make sure the corner lights are level with the headlights and not floating higher than the headlights (quality control at it's best again at Mattel!)

Redbox 1984 Honda Civic CRX

This was a casting I had since I was a kid and this green one is my second version.  The body is nicely done with the correct shape and lighting detail (including CRX in the back), while unlike the Hot Wheels version being perfectly stock.  The 8-dot wheels look natural on this as well.  The tan interior is laughable: it's only just two seats and a bus-like steering wheel.  The CRX revised the Civic as a two-seat coupe with a 1.6 SOHC I-4 that can only muster out under 100 hp, but with under 2,000 Ib's to move it was quick and fun to drive on an autocross.  Also it was a fuel-miser with 60 MPG reported on earlier versions.  The second generation provided more power and all-independent suspension for even better performance dynamics.

Hot Wheels 2001 Honda Civic Si: The one that started it all

Give credit where credit is due: the 2001 Civic Si coupe was the first Civic in the Hot Wheels lineup with a collaboration from Super Street magazine to create a custom of the real Civic Si, then copy it down to 1:18 and 1:64 scale forms in the 2001 line.  End result is one hot Civic tuner while still keeping the lines of the stock Civic Si coupe body.  The interior features seating for two in Recaro's, rollcage, nitrous bottle, and LCD screen for the stereo with subwoofers in the back.  The front has a carbon fiber hood with two large vents, larger bumper openings, taller rear wing, and large coffee can muffler.  The Si comes with the same 1.6 I-4 and 5-speed manual found in the 1990 SiR, with just a few slight changes.  The Si was short-lived, only appearing in 1999 and 2000, and is even more rare to find a stock one since most of these models were custom-tuned just like the Hot Wheels version.

Hot Wheels 2003 Civic Si/Type R

In 2003 Hot Wheels made a second Civic based on the new sole Si hatch for the U.S.  It featured an updated 2.0L DOHC I-4 producing 160 hp. and a new six-speed manual.  The styling was based on the Euro Civic hatchback and was more dynamic than the sedan and coupe, but the handling was not so.  Nor was the interior with the shifter oddly placed on the dashboard (and from the Honda Element).  This Hot Wheels model came with lowered body kit, rear spoiler, and a nicely-done interior.  In 2006 the Si casting was rebadged the Type R and that was a no-brainer since both were identical save for a few engine and chassis modifications.


Hot Wheels 2006 Civic Si Coupe: Take two

After the first successful car build, Hot Wheels did it again this time on the new 2006 Civic Si coupe.  The new Civic sported radical styling changes that no competitor could match even today.  The hatch was gone from the U.S. so the Si now comes in coupe and sedan form.  The same engine and transmission carry over from the 2003 model, except the shifter is now located on the console.  The dashboard features a two-tier gauge cluster with the speedometer at the top and the tachometer in front of the driver.  The Hot Wheels version features a new lower body kit (the kit parts were later offered for sale for Civic owners), taller rear spoiler, hood with gills, and smaller but still visible exhaust tip.  Surprisingly the interior remains stock with no modifications.  This casting looks nice, but for those who prefer the stock Si look might want to look to Greenlight since this one looks a bit too much cartoonish for my taste.

Matchbox Honda Civic Type-R: MB gets into the Civic game

Matchbox until 2008 was not into the Civic lineup much, but that changed with the introduction of the new Type-R European Hatchback.  The Euro hatch takes styling cues from the U.S. 2006 Civic, but looks more rounded (egg-shaped) with larger headlights and a rear spoiler that splits the rear window into two.  The Type-R exhaust are triangular as well.  The center grille is non-functioning, and the interior uses the same split pattern as the U.S. version but features a different center stack layout and right-hand drive.  The Type R uses the same 2.0L I-4 and six-speed as the U.S. Si, but with most of the modifications done to the suspension for track use.  As usual Matchbox did a great job with this model, featuring full lighting detail front and rear, 10-sp wheels with 5-sp later on, and interior details on par with the real car.  What's more cool than this red is the yellow variation with smoked 10-sp wheels, one of my personal favorites.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, first of all I want to say I really like this post. I'm a big fan of the Honda Civic and I like the HW and MBX castings!

    I suppose you know but the green CRX isn't a Mattel product. The car is made by Motor Max and is an old model from Zylmex/Zee.