They wanted this site taken down...
Welcome to the Blue Real Riders® Club (Dark). The BRRC's Dark side is a descent into the macabre hell that is HotWheelsCollectors.com (HWC). It is a story of corporate greed and sheep mentality; idiocy and lunacy; despotism and rebellion.
Even though I was no longer able to participate at HWC.com, the site quickly covered its ass by amending its 17,000-word Member Service Agreements to forbid users from creating "...derivative works based on...the 'look and feel' of the Website." Over the next year, I twice ventured a willingness to comply with the Agreements, but my offers were rejected. I had been locked away, with no possibility of parole.
I started a Private Message Discussion with a few of the Redliner regulars, but after that reached a couple of hundred pages, HWC.com site admin Chris Parker downgraded my status from "exiled" to "executed". My years of collecting Hot Wheels® were over.
The Blue Real Riders® Club's Dark side tells this story, and others, in a way that is less humorous than our original spoof— a more sarcastic and critical way.
However, since the BRRC® site does deal with stupid little toy cars, it's rather esoteric. This page contains three main keys to understanding the "inside" references and what the BRRC® is all about:
If you know what those things are— you can skip the whole rest of this page.
HW, RL, and the RLC
In 1968, Mattel introduced Hot Wheels® (HW). They immediately dominated their market due to two main factors. Visually, the cars' "California styling" was enhanced by a dazzling candy-chrome paint called Spectraflame®. And mechanically, the cars had a special "torsion-bar" bent-axle system. These axles gave the cars a suspension with a unique "bounce", as well as holding small wheel bearings that allowed the iconic "redline" wheels to roll freer and faster than any other toy cars. This prompted the marketing tagline "Hot Wheels— The fastest metal cars in the world!"
By 1973, both the Spectraflame® paint (SF) and torsion-bar suspension (TBS) had been replaced with cheaper, common systems. In only four years, the Golden Age of the cars we now call "redlines" (RL) was over.
Through the decades, the kids who played with these cars grew up (mostly). In the mid-1990's, the Internet boom allowed forty-somethings who waxed nostalgic for the toys from their youth to find them, just a few mouseclicks away. Long out of production, and with demand multiplying by leaps and bounds, original redlines skyrocketed in price... and that caused speculators to jump into the hobby as well. Hot Wheels® collecting became a booming business.
Mattel messed around with websites for a few years, and in 2001 finally launched HotWheelsCollectors.com (HWC). A year later, the New Media team introduced the Red Line Club (RLC), a premium paid-membership program that gave members the opportunity to buy specially-made, exclusive cars.
The RLC was introduced by Amy Boylan, who said in March of 2003, "Guys, the idea was for us to make cars that represented the cars of the redline era." The RLC was marketed with the tagline "We DO still make 'em like we used to!"
RL vs. RR
In 1985, Mattel had introduced Real Riders®— essentially regular Hot Wheels cars with synthetic rubber "Tires that look and feel like the real thing!"
Almost immediately after the Red Line Club® was created, battle lines were drawn between two schools of thought: "redliners" who wanted more cars made just like the original 1968-1972 redlines, and "RR fans" who wanted the cars to represent modern collectible Hot Wheels®.
In general, redliners were vocal, and passionate. They remembered what made Hot Wheels great, and yearned to recapture some portion of it. The RR fans were usually younger, lacking nostalgia and with more tangible desires— in other words, they wanted the more realistic wheels simply because they "looked cooler." The RR fans were often re-sellers who didn't care that the rubber tires precluded the use of a torsion suspension, one of the things redliners found most important. The Real Riders® camp would choose form over function, style over substance.
Mattel attempted to satisfy everybody by making six "Neo-Classics" cars per year with the features redliners wanted, and six new "Real Riders®" series cars, for everyone else. While this sounds fair, the Neo-Classics cars cost much more to make, giving redliners "more bang for the buck". Over time, the redliners noticed that the Neo-Classics cars were manufactured with increasingly fewer special features, apparently to make them more cost-effective for Mattel. This made the redliners grumpy.
Choosy Mothers: The sELECTIONs Series
In 2004, HotWheelsCollectors.com began manufacturing the RLC sELECTIONs series — cars created through the votes of Red Line Club members. Within the RLC Forums, a series of polls were conducted four times each year. (In 2010, this was reduced to twice per year.) In each series, voters determined the model, color, and wheels of the next sELECTIONs car. When the final round of voting was concluded, the winning car was offered only to RLC members, and only manufactured in quantities to match the number of orders.
There were many RLC members who honored the heritage of Mattel's original redline wheels, complete with "torsion-spring" bent-axle suspension. They admired Hot Wheels' "Neo-Classics" reproduction of those 1968-style wheelsets. To their dismay, the majority of votes went to cheaper, straight-axled, rubberlike Real Riders® wheels — the same wheels that are put on cars in some of Mattel's retail lines. And more and more frequently, the color voted in was some form of blue.
In 2007, a tie in one of the polls resulted in five sELECTIONs cars being produced. Four out of the five were blue, and every one had Real Riders® wheels.
In 2008, sELECTIONs voting resulted in the eighth Real Riders® car in a row— nearly two years without a redline. The Blue Real Riders Club was created in response.
Since its creation in 1976, the Neet Streeter has never had windows.
You can change that.