This article appeared on the Redlines Online website on May 1, 2001. Special thanks to Bruce Pascal pinkbeachbomb for giving Redlines Online the exclusive scoop on this rare and special story!
The latest in a short list of Rear Loading Beach Bombs was found a little over a week ago in one of the rarest colors ever: HOT PINK!
The only other Hot Pink Rear Loading Beach Bomb was purchase by Bruce Pascal from Chris Marshall who had purchased it from a former Mattel employee. Before laying down any money for the First Pink Beach Bomb, Bruce did extensive research to validate its authenticity and origins. He contacted the original owner and obtained letters of authenticity to document the car's history.
Satisfied with the car's provenance, he went ahead with the purchase, paying a record amount. Although the sale price has never been disclosed or published, the original asking price was $72,000. It is rumoured to have sold for less.
Since purchasing the Pink Bus, Bruce has continued his effort to authenticate the car, since some collectors — including one high-visibility "authority" — have disputed the car's authenticity. Bruce's efforts included contacting former employees, looking up retirement rosters, older Mattel newsletters and using a referral approach to track down anyone who could verify that the car existed and why it existed.
In Bruce's constant search for more information about his Pink Beach Bomb, he made contact with a retired Mattel employee living in Southern California. This gentleman — a former Liaison Engineer involved in Production and Research and Development — told Bruce he had a collection of cars from the years he worked at Mattel and one of them was a Beach Bomb. After a few questions about the cars, Bruce determined that several of the cars were pre-production or prototype cars. He also determined that the Beach Bomb was a Rear Loading Beach Bomb.
The retired engineer told Bruce that the Beach Bomb was pink. Bruce thought he really meant Rose or Magenta. The following is a transcript of the letter Bruce received from the engineer:
To: Mr. Bruce Pascal 24 April 2001.
You requested a brief history of my involvement with the Hot-Wheels VW Beach Bomb.
I worked for Mattel Toys from 1967 to 1986, 19 years. During the late 60s and early 70s my function was as a Liason Engineer between Products and Research and Development on all toys and Hot Wheels products, particularly automated equipment.
During this time the VW Bus was run on an engineering pilot producing around 200 products for reliability testing and assemblability.
After this Pilot, concern was expressed that the VW bus would not function with the power booster and several of the engineers involved were asked to take samples home and see if our children had any problem with this defect.
We found that our children 'were' disappointed by the fact that VW Bus' could not be power boosted. Report was made to management and subsequently the design changed to one with a wider body which functioned with the booster well. (Surf-Boards were moved to the sides)
I retained my test car as was Mattel's policy with test toys. The vehicle has been in my attic at the above address for 30 years and was only retrieved at your request.
Enclosed in addition to the VW Bus are ten other cars which have been in the same box for the same length of time.
Trusting this note is adequate for your records.
Bruce went ahead and purchased the collection. When the package arrived, he was in shock as he opened the package to reveal a Hot Pink Beach Bomb. The irony is that the original Pink Beach Bomb was also purchased from a Liaison Engineer.
Since purchasing the original Hot Pink Beach Bomb, Bruce is of the opinion that there are more of these in existence, even if only a few. The letter discloses that there were probably 200 engineering pilots produced.
That makes this second find, along with the original Rear Loading Pink Bus, incredible historic events in the world of redline Hot Wheels.
The Rear Loading Beach Bomb is legendary for it's rarity and desirability among redline Hot Wheels collectors. It is considered only a pre-production model and therefore never sold in stores. The original design, while more accurate in its representation of a real Volkswagen Bus, was too skinny to work in the Superchargers. Superchargers were designed by Mattel to propel Hot Wheels around the Orange Track. Subsequent design changes were made thinner and the result is the more common Side Board Beach Bomb that did go into production in 1969.
Rear Loading Beach Bombs are among the highest-value Hot Wheels cars in existence, commonly selling for between $8,000 to $22,000. The Hot Pink Beach Bombs however are in another league as their rarity and desirability are currently unsurpassed.
In the photos that follow, you'll see the two Beach Bombs in side by side comparisons. The original Beach Bomb has a transition base which is the actual production-model base (wider) and the RLBB body (skinnier). The new Beach Bomb has the correct base and body, as well as other characteristics of RLBB, clear windshield glass, rear-loading interior slots for the surfboards, smaller sunroof and other casting characteristics seen in RLBBs.
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