“Mystery” Cars? Not if you can decipher the code on the package.

If you have spent anytime on LaLD you have undoubtedly read someone referring to the cars they picked up as coming from a certain case. Something such as an “Awesome Q Case Hawl!” for instance.

What do they mean by that? Well, Hot Wheels releases 15 cases a year and each batch is assigned a letter. It starts with an A case and moves on from there. However, certain letters will get skipped. There was no mainline “O” case in 2014 for example. The letter is an easy way to figure out what cars you are looking at on the pegs, as well as which treasure hunt and/or super treasure hunt is potentially mixed in for you to find. (For more on Treasure Hunts, see this DieCast 101: What is a Treasure Hunt?).

The easiest way to tell which case a car is from is to simply flip over the card. Here is a Nissan 370Z


On the back of the card you see this:


By reading the last letter you are able to determine that this car is an “M” case car.

Here is another one:


This car is from the Q case.

How is this useful? Well, for one it tells you which cars are available. At my local Walmart currently the cars on the pegs all originated in the P case and before. Thus I can tell that there won’t likely be a Datsun 510 Bluebird Wagon (part of the Q case) mixed in with the cars.


At hwtreasure.com you will find a listing of all the Treasure Hunts. I keep a shortcut to the site on the home screen to my phone. Right next to the shortcut for liveandletdiecast.com :) Whenever I am searching I keep hwtreasure.com open so I can have a quick reference guide available. By checking out that website, for instance, I can see that for the P case, a Harley Davidson Fat Boy was the Super Treasure Hunt, while the regular Treasure Hunt was La Fasta.

Please note that this does not work with Short Cards or certain pre-stocked retail displays like you may encounter at a grocery store like Safeway:


How can you determine when a car like this (or even a car long since removed from its packaging) was manufactured? Look at the bottom of the car. Again taking our 370Z from earlier and flipping it over, we see this:

The date 2009 is when the casting was copyrighted but it is not the date of manufacture. Instead, what we are looking for is the “G17”. What does “G17” mean? The G stands for the year 2014 and the 17 refers to the 17th week. That means this car was produced in the 17th week of 2014. Here’s another:


An Angry Bird

E35 means he was made in the 35th week of 2012. Last one:


Horseplay (Year of the Horse edition)

F50 means the 50th week of 2013

When it comes to the Hot Wheels Mystery Car series I always cringe when I come to the display and see that someone has ripped open the packaging on one or more cars. Besides the obvious - being an asinine move that ruins it for everyone, basically - there is the fact that it is wholly and completely unnecessary.


Editor’s Note: This applies only to Mystery Cars produced pre-2016

Here is a Mystery Models Series 2 I bought today:


Here is the list of cars in the series from the back:

Without tearing it open, or even using the little circle window, I can tell you that it is a Chrysler Firepower Concept. How? The key is right here:


G27 / 07

From earlier we know that G27 means that it was manufactured in the 27th week of 2014. The number “07” means it is the seventh car in the series. Go back and look at the picture on the back of the package. You can see that 01 is the Acura HSC, 02 is the Anthracite. And number 07 is the.....


......Chrysler Firepower Concept

So the next time you are going through a bunch of Mystery Models, please don’t rip them open. You don’t even have to mess with trying to figure it out with the little circle window. Just match the code on the front to the list on the back!

Thank you for reading! Let me know if I missed something or if you know of any other “tricks” that you’ve used successfully. Most of all though, Happy Hunting!


Other Diecast 101:

Treasure Hunts



Let me know what else you’d like to see in this series in the comments!