I posted earlier today about my vacation haul. I was so excited about sharing them, I didn’t even bother opening the boxes up (not one for keeping boxes tbh, these go straight on my shelf). I live in the UAE, where you don’t get Tomicas, so when I spotted my first two at a 7 Eleven in Phuket, I grabbed them. When I posted an image this morning, androoo pointed out that the first two cars I’d gotten a hold of were Tomica Cool Drives, which he’d never heard of before.

Tomica Cool Drive packaging (front)

I started digging trying to find out what they were exactly. I finally found this post explaining what they were:

To me, it looks like Tomica responding Hot Wheels’ massive success in certain markets (not to mention a resurgent Matchbox). Packaged in a way that’s certainly more appealing to kids (though maybe not to collectors), it makes sense. A brightly-colored blister with an animated car looks a lot more fun than the simple, white (and to my mind, quintessentially Japanese) packaging.

I finally got around to opening one of them, and it looks like it’s more than just the packaging. There’s far less detail on the Cool Drives than you would normally find on even the basic Tomica line. Here are the differences I’ve noticed:

  • Complete lack of underbody detail
  • No opening body-parts (doors, roof, hatches, hoods)
  • No suspension
  • Blacked-out windows (probably no interior under there)

Photos below:

Blacked-out windows, no opening parts, general lack of detail

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No underbody detail

I think the back of the packaging basically sums this up. The Cool Drives seem to be Tomica’s attempt at introducing the brand to new markets. I can’t argue with that, and aside from the blacked-out windows, I’m not lamenting the lack of detail either. These could be great models to relaunch with in places they don’t have currently have much of a foothold (like the UAE...you know, because I live here). If they do well enough, maybe it could lead to bigger things (like standard models, Premium, and even Limited Vintage). However, as much as I love the fact that you can buy oddball cars from Tomica, maybe the Cool Drive line is an opportunity to focus more on hot, mainstream cars (more sports cars & flashy SUVs), as well as more interesting paint jobs. I just can’t see the kids rushing out to to buy a lime green Mitsubishi Mirage...then again I did.

Tomica Cool Drive packaging (rear)