When Mattel launched Hot Wheels in 1968, its biggest diecast-metal-car competitor was Matchbox, whose Models of Yesteryear line featured a 1911 Model T Ford and 1906 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. It was a bit quaint compared to the original 16 Hot Wheels cars, which focused on American muscle cars of the day (Camaros, Mustangs, T-Birds, etc.) as well as hot rods, the most famous of which was the Beatnik Bandit by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth.
In addition to being contemporary, Hot Wheels cars were also fast, thanks to their tiny torsion-bar suspensions and low-friction wheel bearings. Hot Wheels also had candy-colored Spectraflame paint jobs (colors ranged from Aqua to Purple to Hot Pink) and “redline” wheels, so named for the red stripe painted on the tires.
The first Hot Wheels car was a Chevy Camaro, which like the other 1968 Hot Wheels was manufactured in the United States. Other cars in the Sweet 16 included a Cougar, a VW Bug with an engine poking through the hood, and a surfboard-toting Dodge Deora concept pickup, which “Motor Trend” once described as “the world’s coolest skateboard.”
In 1969, Ira Gilford joined the Hot Wheels design team and designed two of the company's most famous original cars: the Twinmill, which featured an exposed engine behind each front wheel, and the Splittin’ Image, which resembled two single-passenger pods with an engine and exhaust pipes running between them.
Another collectible car from 1969 is the Beach Bomb, which was a VW Bus with exterior compartments on each side for carrying surfboards. Early prototypes of the beach bomb had surfboards loading in from the rear of the van—an example of this highly collectible vintage Hot Wheel, of which only 22 are known to exist, can be found in the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
The next two years saw almost 100 new cars released, including the Light My Firebird, whose name was a play on the popular Doors song from 1967. Mattel also added two important product lines, the Heavyweights and the Sizzlers. Heavyweights, as its name implied, featured cement mixers, fire trucks, and other large vehicles. The Sizzlers featured a custom-made General Electric Ni-Cad battery that could be charged in 90 seconds at a Juice Machine or Power Pit.
By 1972, all Hot Wheels vehicles were made in Hong Kong to keep prices low and meet the high demand. Snake and Mongoose rear-engine dragsters were issued in what was an otherwise...
The following year, production levels and model introductions were back up and Sizzlers tires were retooled as Fat Daddy racing slicks. Because new Sizzlers were not offered again until 1976, these Hot Wheels from 1973 are particularly collectible. Models and colors to look for include the green Fire Works and Hiway Hauler, as well as the yellow or red Ram Rocket.
One of the most sought-after vintage Hot Wheels spinoffs from 1973 was the Revvers line, which lasted for just one year. Designed for off-track use, the 10 Revvers models were powered by a rubber band. Among the most prized models and colors are the lemon yellow Burnin’ Box, any color of Jettin’ Vette (although dark blue is the Holy Grail), and the Revvers camper set, which included a station wagon and camper trailer.
The Flying Colors line dominated 1974 and 1975, and the Super Streets and Super Chromes were popular in 1975 and ’76. But Mattel dropped the trademark redline wheel from all Hot Wheels in 1977, bringing an end to the vintage era of this most popular of all toy cars.
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'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' spoilers: Pictures of Kylo Ren's Hot Wheels car ...International Business Times AU, August 26th
Photos of Kylo Ren's Hot Wheels car from “Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens” merchandise have leaked online. The product will be unveiled during the 18-hour long global event, where many action figures and other toys will be launched. Star...Read more
Hot wheels: Arson attack damages 37 motorcycles parked under Hong Kong footbridgeSouth China Morning Post (subscription), August 26th
Thirty-seven motorcycles parked under a footbridge were damaged in an arson attack in Hong Kong in the early hours of today. The fire department dispatched three fire engines and one ambulance to Wong Tai Sin after the motorbikes burst into flames at...Read more
Hot wheels: Thieves target cars at Dania Beach Tri-Rail stationSun Sentinel, August 26th
Three parked vehicles were left propped on bricks after thieves stole their wheels at the Tri-Rail station in Dania Beach, officials said. lRelated FAU student steals roommate's girlfriend's car, lies to police, report says. Boca Raton News · FAU...Read more
Hot wheels at Wellfleet skate park competitionWicked Local Provincetown, August 22nd
WELLFLEET — High-flying skaters wowed the crowd with spectacular tricks and jumps on Saturday, Aug. 15, at the annual Wellfleet KF Skateboard Park Competition. The competitors ranged from age six to 24 and hailed from all over the state and as far ...Read more
This Race Car Bed Is a Giant Extension Of Your Kid's Hot Wheels TracksGizmodo, August 19th
Step2's Hot Wheels Toddler-to-Twin Race Car Bed makes the transition from a crib to a real bed a lot easier for a child to deal with. Because instead of feeling like they're behind bars, the race car bed is one big Hot Wheels playset that's compatible...Read more
Mattel Toys Like He-Man, Barbie and Hot Wheels Get A Beautiful Art Showio9, August 11th
There are pieces based on Masters of the Universe, Barbie, Hot Wheels, M.U.S.C.L.E, Food Fighters, Magic 8-Ball, Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, Dino Riders, Fisher Price and more. Many are poster prints but some art original paintings, drawings and ...Read more
Keeping Hot Wheels CoolWOWT, August 2nd
Keeping your vehicle cool in the oppressive summer heat can be tough, but there are some things you can do to help your air conditioner beat the heat. Blocking the sun's rays when your vehicle is parked outside is a no-brainer, but the type of shades...Read more
Hot Wheels Help Get #ForceoftheFuture Into STEMArmed with Science, July 31st
Speedometry was created with education researchers and toymaker Mattel to help get kids interested in STEM through good old fashioned Hot Wheels fun. The kids use critical thinking, collaboration and scientific practices to build real-world problem...Read more