Some time in 1998 or 1999, before I started collecting Hot Wheels, I passed by a toy store and saw a Hot Wheels 30th Anniversary Side Kick (in metallic purple) for sale. I really wanted to buy it (because it reminded me of my childhood) but decided not to as its box was in such horrible shape.
Some time in 2001, I was able to buy a Side Kick in mint packaging. I’ve posted another picture of it below because a side view does not do it justice.
If I was asked to choose only one Hot Wheels model, I would choose the Side Kick. To me, it is the perfect example of what Hot Wheels means to me: a cool car (a wedge car!) that’s not a copy of an existing car. It also has added play value because pulling the exhaust pipes at the back brings out the driver’s seat on the side. I love the exposed engine, the rear louvers, and the hidden headlamps.
I’m sad to say that my Side Kick has a plastic base (but a metal body), unlike its previous incarnations with metal bases and bodies. Ever since I bought this 2001 model, I’d been waiting for another one, but it seems that this was the last one released as a mainline model. (The eight versions released after this one were not mainline models.)
I was a little disappointed when I saw this Slide Kick recently because it seems to me that it is intended as a replacement to the Side Kick. Gone are the exposed engine, the rear louvers, and the hidden headlamps. The Side Kick’s driver can only see what’s in front and what’s on the right, but the Slide Kick’s driver can only see what’s on the right (unless the seat is out). I bought it nevertheless because it is a first casting.