A few years ago Hot Wheels released Baracus' (played by actor Mr T) van as part of their mass produced budget range. It was good if you could get one off the rack for a dollar or two but didn't have the right paint job (ie it was black both beneath and above the red line) had cheap wheels and thing like this but for a few bucks, you really couldn't be too picky. However as we collector know who are collecting stuff that was around before we decided to join this great hobby, resell online prices in the years ahead, especially when you include postage, mean you aren't just paying a few bucks. Therefore the 2011 HW Premiere A Team Van really wasn't worth it if you couldn't didn't get one in stores.
This time round as part of the Retro range I think both those finding them in stores and paying the off the rack price (which is about 5 times the price of the basic Hot Wheels vehicles), or even those who have to pay the higher online prices in the future will look at this one and say, yeah that was worth it. This retro version does have the better paintjob (grey top half above the red stripe, even the stripe looks better, especially on the roof). It has rubber tyres, the back ones with white writing, and better red hubcaps are used as well, the general detailing in the paint job such as the headlights, break lights is far superior and it also has a black plastic used for windshield, windows etc rather than the blue with the mass produced one.
The retro range vehicle though isn't found in as many stores or even a lot of countries that the mass produced Hot Wheels one was back in 2011, and certainly not in the same quantities. Meaning the price gap will likely widen over the years between the two. Unless the retro ones you can find have skyrocketed to ridiculous prices if you're a new collector I'd definitely pay a little bit more to get this much better van. Maybe get a mass produced one to open and play with and keep the retro in the packaging for display. Packaging wise the Retro one is slightly better, it's still in a blister bubble on piece of cardboard that you have to destroy if you want to play with it, but it is a slightly larger card and the packaging sits upright on a flat surface, whereas your mass produced Hot Wheels range leans towards you on a severe angle on a flat surface so you've got to lean it against a wall or something. The retro range version arguably doesn't have as good an image on the card, as it is simply the A Team word logo in front of a resembling explosion looking yellow backdrop with the Hot Wheels banner above. Disappointingly unlike a lot of other die-cast car manufacturer's premium priced vehicles you cannot see the car through the back of the pack and the cardboard is not covered in plastic meaning it is more susceptible to getting bent or if it gets wet is not protected. For the price of these I would have really have liked to see the better blister pack technology used.
Other companies such as ERTL have released this van over the years also in 1/64 size (which is your standard mass produced size) over the years but I'd have to say this Retro version is the one to collect. You will also find the A-Team white corvette in the same Retro range from Hot Wheels.--James N Symson Shop here