In news I never expected to read, Hot Wheels and Gucci have announced their first ever collaboration — a 1:64-scale Cadillac Seville, customized with a gold-toned roof to celebrate the Italian fashion brand’s centennial. It comes in its own acrylic display case with a green embossed paper slip cover. As you’d expect of anything emblazoned with those interlocking Gs, it costs a little more than the typical Hot Wheels diecast you’d find at Target. Ten times more, as a matter of fact.
Yes, this limited-edition Seville is $120. For that price, you’d presume a few crystals and some gold leaf thrown in, as my colleague Owen put it. But no — this Seville is pretty much at the level of quality of one of Hot Wheels’ slightly more premium Car Culture products. The paint is misaligned in places, just like on the toy cars us commoners buy. Even the Gucci name isn’t centered quite right on the front license plate there.
At least you’re getting Hot Wheels’ “Real Riders” rubber tires, which come appropriately pinstriped. The attempt to approximate the Seville’s wire wheels looks decent, too. But I can’t shake the fact that this toy would cost $10 if it lost the Gucci logos.
On one hand, paying for the name is quite literally the crux of high fashion, so it makes sense. On the other, I’m not used to seeing brands like Gucci fraternize with toys and media from my childhood. It was weird when it happened to Sega, and it’s weird now.
Nevertheless, there is a historical reason for Gucci and Mattel to partner like this. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, General Motors indeed sold a Cadillac Seville “designed by Gucci.” The Gucci responsible was Dr. Aldo Gucci, one of the sons of the brand’s founder, Guccio Gucci. (I didn’t know that was the name of the dude who started Gucci until three minutes before writing this; if you didn’t either, I swear I didn’t make it up.)
Anyway, Aldo Gucci took pride in the opportunity to design a Cadillac, as it was the kind of association a world-renowned fashion institution could still be proud of back in the ’70s. Gucci said of the Seville, per Classic Driver:
“I have strong feelings for this car, because it is fundamentally different from anything I’ve designed in my life,” the designer said over a glass of champagne in the driveway of his estate in Palm Beach. “This Cadillac is another stone in the necklace of our international success.”
The Gucci Seville had the brand’s logo strewn inside and out, and prominently displayed as a hood ornament. It featured special patterned pillows and a red-and-green striping motif, as well as a custom luggage set. For all this, you paid at least $19,900 — $7,000 more than a standard Seville. In 2021 money, that translates to a shade under $75,000. The $7,000 premium represents about $26,000 today.
These days, Mattel releases a new Hot Wheels of one of my favorite cars of my youth seemingly every other week, so I can’t begrudge them for the Gucci cash grab too much. My local big-box stores are perpetually sold out of the good ones, which frustrates me to no end. Somehow, though, I don’t envision that happening with this Seville. If you’re tempted, you can order yours from Hot Wheels’ site on October 18.