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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hot Wheels Dream Van XGW and Panel



On the Hot Wheels side there has been one casting that I've been fascinated at when I was a kid and on the hunt for a long time: it's the Dream Van XGW.  I normally don't get excited about van's, but when I saw the creativity in a coloring book by Hot Wheels when I was a kid and then finding out about the casting's functionality I had to have one.  It's not easy finding one in good condition with the door and rubber tires intact, and then Hot Wheels teased me when they revived the Dream Van in 2011 only to do a panel version instead of the wagon version with the opening gullwing door.  This year I found both and i'm very glad to have them.





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The Dream Van XGW was designed by Larry Wood (I strongly believe) and was introduced in 1984.  While many would say this is based on the popular van culture of the 1970's, it was also Hot Wheels vision of the new minivan segment that started with the new Chrysler Minivan's introduced in 1983.  This red one shown here was introduced in a 3-pack and was found in excellent condition aside from a few chips and minor bends in the wheel.  The front has a split-grille design with headlights and grilles a part of the metal base, with a center cap and just below the bumper a slow where air flows to the radiator.  The van bucks the bland minivan nature with a sloping front-end leading to a rear with a lip spoiler, louvered rear window, and Ford Aerostar-like taillights.  The sides add to that with a lower metal sills that contour to each wheelwells, side graphics, and full windows.  The high point here is the driver's side gullwing door that opens up to the rear passenger area.





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Unlike a typical minivan this is a van designed for camping.  The rear seats are replaced with a side-facing sofa with room for three, while at the rear is a mattress with sheets and pillows that need to be made; be careful not to step over the dog!  Access to the front is not a breeze as you have to enter through the gullwing door at the rear.  Once in the front you get bucket seats and a long dashboard with K.I.T.T.-style steering wheel and controls that would be futuristic in 1984.  The metal base shows off the engine details which shows a front-wheel drive layout likely powered by a pushrod V6 and three-speed automatic transmission as in the Chrysler minivans.  The goodyear rubber tires on white multispoke wheels look good here, though they never stood up to the abuse over the years and you'll be surprised how hard it is to find a loose real riders from the 1980's in good condition.





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Just before I found the red one at a flea market I got the Reese's panel version that debut in 2011.  The main difference (and tragedy) here is the revert to a panel version which means no more gullwing door or doggy and mattress in the back.  The roof gets a sunroof while losing the ridges, while the front-end gets some cleaning-up.  Same goes for the interior and the wheels on this Reese's version looks just like the original real riders except for a few differences.  I tested this one since the red one is getting older and has seen its glory days: it feels just like a performance car inside of a minivan with great stability for a van.  So I can see that this van definitely fits the Hot Wheels bill with sporty looks, sporty handling, and pretty cool features; if only the panel van would continue the gullwing door and detailed interior this would still be a pretty cool casting.  Whatever the case I finally have my Dream Van!




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