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Friday, October 10, 2014

Hot Wheels Texas Drive 'Em

One of the most popular trucks out there right now for Hot Wheels is, well, anything that is a classic truck that is lifted or a big rig with a metal base.  Texas Drive 'Em started the classic truck 4x4 scene and is still popular today.

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What is it based on?

Texas Drive 'Em, released in 2009 and done by Larry Wood, is based on the 1967-1972 Ford F-100 Pickup.  This generation is not often done in diecast, and if it was you'll have to go back to the 1970's to find one.  It's a beautiful design that finally eliminates the previous generation's almost Chevy-look-alike styling.  The front has a slanted look (like the Fairlane and Galaxie line at the time) with round headlights in square frames with signal lights below, and a split eggcrate grille.  The hood takes a little bit off the front fenders.  The classic fleetside look continues from the previous generation, as does the back-end with vertical oval taillights and FORD on the tailgate.  This generation also seen the first adaptation of the Heavy-Duty line with 3/4 ton and 1 ton models, plus the first Crew Cab model. 

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The interior featured a traditional truck-like bench seat, but the dash was more car-like with horizontal speedometer and most radio and HVAC controls centered toward the driver.  The engine choices range from an I-6 to several V8 models, the most common is the 390 CID V8 producing 255 hp. through a 3 or 4-speed manual or 2-speed automatic.  Four-wheel drive models got a floor shifter to activate two 4WD modes, one for low-range.

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Flying High

This was the must 'Gotta-Have' in the 2009 Classics line.  Since this series was difficult to find in big box stores, I had to rely on a Mast General Store to finally find one.  It is drop-dead gorgeous in the metallic orange paint and white two-tone!  FORD letters printed on the hood, while the letters are stamped in the tailgate facing down.  Not sure why the tailgate is down since the two plastic dirt bikes fit nicely in the long bed.  Nevertheless it's cool!  The raised height and metal base give this truck some attitude, as does the front winch.  Some have also found the chase version with blacked-out 6-spoke wheels; i'm not sure but I think these were the same plastic rims found now on current 4x4 models.  A recolor was also offered in metallic blue.  In 2010 the Wal-Mart-only 4th of July cars featured the TDM in brown with wicked flames outlining the American flag.  It is so far the cheapest version of the TDM to date at about $2 bucks back in 2010 (most are now a premium to get).

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Next up was the Flying Customs in 2013, decked in white with the same American tampos, but done in a different way.  The original 1970's Hot Wheels 4x4 tires look nice, but a tad bit small.  Since this series was the last release big-box stores never got them, and the one chance that I find the last series at Publix last year, the line was split into two, so there was two different releases sent out; the one with TDM was not one of them.  Then there was the Hot Wheels Collectors.com Red Line Club TDM in metallic blue with detailed headlights, taillights, and extra painted details on the bikes in the back.  I wish I had this one, but it's currently commanding a high price on Ebay!

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Nevertheless I managed to scoop this one quickly from my favorite online retailer just a minute before selling out.  Now that's HOT!!!  This latest release is from the General Mills selection, decked in Cocoa Puffs deco with the Cuckoo bird.  Still the graphics don't hide the excellent body details and the three-tone paint (red roof, brown, and white lower).  This is my first version of TDM with rubber tires on chrome rims and, SURPRISE, redlines (where were they back in 2009???).  The first one with rubber tires was the RLC exclusive.  Though I must question the use of detailed headlights at the front and why they are placed off-center.

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With a Tex-Mexico version coming out, and probably several other non-retail versions done, it's no wonder the Texas Drive 'Em is one of the most popular Hot Wheels 4x4 classic truck to date!

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