What goes better with hot vehicles (or the miniature versions of them) than some heavy rock? Nothing, so thinks the toy giant Mattel, who makes the long-running Hot Wheels die-cast model series. As ultimateclassicrock.com (UCR ) and Loudersound.com report, their latest entry is a series of five collectible vehicles brandishing the covers of five Led Zeppelin albums.
The company has chosen five albums that represent five different time periods in the band’s career, and each has a different name. Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut album cover ended up on “Haulin’ Gas,” a late-‘60s tour bus in black and silver. “Super Van”, which UCR thinks is reminiscent of the old-school Hot Wheels Real Riders, with the band’s name in a pink font and the smoke from Led Zeppelin II on each side. The rear is emblazoned with the LP’s nickname, “The Brown Bomber,” and a vanity license plate reading “LOTALUV” that nods to “Whole Lotta Love.”
Then comes “Combat Medic,” a white van with the artwork from Led Zeppelin III on the sides. The band’s fourth untitled album is represented by the 67 Austin Mini Van. “It’s all gold with the cityscape from the record’s cover on either side. The four symbols that represent each band member are affixed to the top panels.”
The fifth model is not actually donned by a Led Zeppelin album cover but is inspired by their 1975 North American tour. The sides of the touring truck invoke the American flag, with stripes and stars in red, white and blue. The Swan Song logo is on each side of the “Hiway Hauler,” with an overlay of the best-known Led Zeppelin font. The fuel tanks include an incredible detail: all the cities visited on the ’75 trek.
Each of the vehicles, which are 1:64 scale models, come with a backing card that shows the corresponding album cover – save for “Hiway Hauler,” which features the Swan Song image in full color. As UCR also notes, Hot Wheels has previously given a similar treatment to The Grateful Dead and The Beatles .