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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS 3: Collecting CARS 3 Diecasts

For those of you joining the CARS diecast bandwagon, welcome to the Star Wars of diecasts. Let’s just concentrate on CARS 3 for the time being in this post.

In a perfect world (and it was for about a year in 2008-2009) – new cases of CARS diecasts appear on store shelves every 2-3 weeks at all the three major CARS retailer (Target, WM & TRU). We called that the GOLDEN AGE.

It is tougher now … the Big Three retailers simply do not commit to ordering 2-3 cases of singles for EVERY STORE anymore. The currently cases with 24 CARS. You can also buy cases from Mattel indie resellers.

The DXV29 is the current Mattel product code for CARS 3 diecast singles. The letter at the end – L – is the case code (see below). Generally A is the first case of the year. It seems obviously but A is NOT always the first case and the toy year starts in November of every year. So, in November, it’s considered 2018.

What was in CASE L? You can read this post.

With CARS now, retailers will skip cases so it varies greatly from store to store even the same chain 5 miles away.


For once, Mattel has made it relatively simple by releasing the poster at the BEGINNING of the year so you can download the official poster and of the 100ish CARS on the list, most of the top rows are all out and the Demolition Derby CARS are trickling out. The poster does NOT include ones only available in box sets or exclusives but it’s a good start. The poster comprises of the bulk of releases from April 2017 to July 2017.

A step up is if you collect variants – which are production changes to a diecast release (Guido with Hay Bales is a different VERSION release since it has a different name and hence, not a variant). A variant is something like the color variance in the Octane Gain Hauler …

One is clearly an error – sometimes it’s easy to tell which is correct, sometimes it is not. In this case, the hauler only appears in passing – but Octane Gain the new racer matches the blue-purple (bottom) better than the obvious purple above so it seems likely the blue-purple one is the correct one and the purple one is the variant. There is a post on variants from the early CARS 3 releases here.

Are you also collecting cards unopened? That’s the next level of collecting. So far, for CARS 3, we’ve had THREE different cards for a common release like Lightning McQueen.

Without going over every detail, the first couple cases contained cards with a small logo – it was then switched to the larger logo (as with all releases after the first two cases) – you can read all about it here along with a checklist. 

Recently a third card was added, the ones sniped with a mini poster.

Our latest “everything” checklist is here. I tried to list only releases out at least a month as diecasts generally trickle out and then hits everyone. This checklist shows all the releases only in box sets (generally in the OTHERS column). Here’s a stack of all the box sets out so far.

So, where do we stand – now, September 2017? As usual, we have a lull between the next wave of releases – so don’t panic you can’t walk into a store to buy the latest (you are so unreasonable – what are you, some kind of interested customer?  🙄   ).

We try to keep you apprised of what’s just starting to hit stores but unless you need to be first, nearly everything is re-released over and over again during that year or even the next year – and we will tell you if something is in short supply.

Next up is the “reset.” Retail lingo for reconfiguring and re-stocking during several times a year (some are obvious like HOLIDAY) … Here is Walmart’s who just tape their up, Target usually keeps their hidden. This is a “plan-o-gram” that shows clerks how and what to put on the pegs … so if your store is sold out on the Demo Derby CARS, don’t worry, it’s on the WM plan-o so more are coming …


The next big question is the HOLIDAY RESET (mid November) when the CARS 3 Home Video/Discs are coming so while we should expect new CARS diecasts … will there be a card motif design change (at the turn of the toys & CARS toys year?)

Hope that helps – good luck collecting ’em all.

Here’s our post from 2007 on collecting CARS diecasts – the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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