It just came to my attention minutes before writing this that you can walk into one of the great many big box retailers across this country right now and there is a good chance you’ll be able to leave with a Hot Wheels diecast of a Nissan R390 GT1 road car. This is incredible.
Every single time Mattel makes a 1/64-scale version of one of my favorite cars from Gran Turismo, I’m filled simultaneously with joy and sadness. Joy, because it would have made my week — no, month — if I had a tiny R390 to play with during those moments in between school and being glued to Gran Turismo 2. Sadness, because I’m no longer six years old.
Know that if you are a kid today, I’m so incredibly jealous of you for exactly that reason. But this is the unfortunate cycle of history. Kids like me growing up in the ’90s were on a constant drip-feed of ’60s and ’70s Americana despite many of us having no interest in those cars. That’s because boomers ran the world, boomers were our parents and parents tend to project their nostalgia onto their children.
Now millennials and Gen X’ers are calling shots, and I assume zoomers couldn’t care less. To all the yougins reading this, I apologize. But know this: I am loving Mattel’s newfound obsession with obscure ’90s homologation specials, even if I was born too early to benefit from it and probably wouldn’t care if I was a kid in this moment.
Apparently, a Lancia Delta Integrale, Bugatti EB110 and Audi RS2 Avant are also out there alongside the R390 for 2021. If I was being pedantic, I’d have preferred Mattel go with the earlier short-tail, red R390 road car design, that was seemingly pretty camera shy before it disappeared and was replaced by the long-tail, blue one we all recognize today. Some people say the original road car was torn down and repurposed for racing; others say it was rebuilt into the blue model. Regardless, I’ll take what I can get.
There’s so much good stuff in the toy car aisle these days that I feel like every time I visit a Target or Walmart, I routinely end up spending $5 I didn’t plan to. Last year, I picked up Porsche 959 and Lancia 037 rally cars, a Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II, a Nissan Skyline Silhouette and an ɛ̃fini-branded Mazda 787B; in 2019, I nabbed a Subaru SVX made by Matchbox, an Advan-liveried Porsche 962 and the latest Ford GT GTE.
These are some of my favorite cars in the world, and I bet they’re yours too, since you’re reading Jalopnik and we’ve probably written about each of them at one point or another. And now, you can buy tiny versions of them. It’s a considerably easier investment to stomach than the hundreds of dollars on real models from Auto Art, HPI and Ixo that I burned when I was a teenager. I can’t afford that stuff anymore, I got bills to pay. But Hot Wheels? Yeah, I’ll buy ’em up each and every time I see a car on those retail pegs that would have made kid Adam cry tears of joy.