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.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

DFW Elite Toy Museum

DFW Elite Toy Museum

Ron Sturgeon's excellent gallery of fancy model cars and other vehicles. Nice high resolution shots with classy mus… [read review or visit site]

The Show Room

The Show Room

This gallery at Dave's Show Rod Rally features model show rods from 1960 to 2001. Favorites include the 1958 Thunde… [read review or visit site]

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Hot Wheels 2016 Super Treasure Hunt Tv Series Batmobile Unspun Prototype Rr VhtfHot Wheels Redline 1974 Super Van Blue W/ Flames Cutoff Canyon Hong Kong1968 Hot Wheels Redline Us Custom Camaro Light Red Watermelon Dark Interior LotHot Wheels Redline Revvers Sidecar Set With Rrrumblers Rumblers Preying Mantis*rare* Vintage Estate 1969 Hot Wheels Redline Olds 442 Diecast Toy Car!!! G7691 Hot Wheels Custom Corvette Redline Us Casting Purple Bp1967 Hot Wheels Redline Custom Camaro 1 Of 2Vintage Lot Hot Wheels Redline Fleetside Painted Tail Custom Heavy Chevy Ferrari1967 Hot Wheels Redline Custom Camaro Pink 2 Of 21967 Hot Wheels Redline Purple Custom Firebird Diecast Car Us & Foreign Pat. PenRare Vintage 1970 Hot Wheels Redline Orange Nitty Gritty Kitty Bp Moc BlisterHot Wheels Mongoose Rail Dragster B.p. Signed By Tom Mcewen, Lot 405 Hot Wheels Snake Rail Dragster B.p. Signed By Don Prudhomme, Lot 406 Hot Wheels Redline Boss Hoss Aqua Hong Kong Extremeley NiceHot Wheels, Blue Monte Carlo Stocker, Hk Base, Bw On Patch Card, From 1977Japanese Hot Wheels Redline Heavy Chevy Super Chrome Green TampoHotwheels Redline Olds 442 Magenta Excellent ConditionDte 1973 2 Pc Baggie Hot Wheels Redlines Green Hiway Robber & Red Street Snorter2012 Hot Wheels Super Treasure Hunt ... Ferrari 599xx 1969 Hot Wheels Redline Mustang Boss Hoss Hong Kong RedHotwheels Redline Mustang Light Blue Hybrid W Silver Int Excellent ConditionRare Vintage Hot Wheels Redline 1970 Sand Crab Aqua Hong Kong Blister PullRare Vintage 1973 Hot Wheels Redline Enamel Fluorescent Pink Ferrari 312pHotwheels Redline Twinmill Orange W White Int Mint On The CardHot Wheels Redline Bye Focal Aqua With Plastic Button NocVintage Redline Hot Wheels Lot Of 4 Cars,17 Total Mixed Matchbox,johnny LightingVintage 1967 1968 Hot Wheels Redline Red Line Lot 9 Cars Collection CamaroDte 1981 Card Hot Wheels Rare 5094 Geoffrey Toys R Us Bronco NiopHot Wheels, Green Show Hoss Ii, Hk Base, Bw On Patch Card, From 1979Hotwheels Redline Mustang Boss Hoss Green Over Chrome Mint ConditionHot Wheels 2007 Super Treasure Hunt Ferrari Enzo #9/12 Real RidersVintage Hot Wheels Redline Cipsa Snake Funny Car Barracuda, Made In Mexico Rare!Hot Wheels 1995 Treasure Hunt 67 CamaroHot Wheels Redlines Lot 24 Camaro Mustang Nomad Snake'71 Datsun Bluebird 510 Wagon * 2013 Hot Wheels Boulevard * Real Rider Tires1974 Hot Wheels Flying Colors Redline White Paramedic Van Bp Moc BlisterVintage Lot 50-car Hot Wheels Tomica Lesney Playart W/ Matchbox Case No RedlinesHot Wheels Red Line Lot Of 10 In Good Played With Condition LookHot Wheels 2015 Rlc '67 Chevy Gulf Camaro 3740/4500 Real Riders In ProtectoHot Wheels, Orange '56 Hi-tail Hauler, Hk Base, Bw On Patch Card, From 1978Vintage Lot Of Red Line Hot Wheels 1967 And1968 With Case 2015 Hot Wheels Rlc Gulf '67 Camaro - Free Ship Sold Out #3138 Of 4500 In HandVintage Redline Hot Wheels '73 Enamel Double Header In Orange High Grade C9+Hot Wheels Exclusive Toy Fair 2016 Limited Edition Porsche 934 Turbo Die-castCoca Cola Vw Drag Bus Custom Gigpig Customs Hot Wheels Coke Volkswagen RacingHotwheels Redline Custom Amx Apple Green Glowing Near Mint Beauty! Nr!! Vintage Hot Wheels Redline Vinyl Snake & Mongoose 72 Car Collectors Case *kd*Hot Wheels Redline Car Lot Hotwheels Redline Chaparral 2g Us Hot Pink C9 Condition1969 Hot Wheels Redline Heavy Chevy RedVintage Aurimat Hot Wheels No Redline Ford Mustang Show Hoss Made In Mexico RareHot Wheels Legends To Life Don Prudhomme Animated Funny CarN. Mint 1971 Red Line Hot Wheels Usa Classic Cord Blister Pull Candy Apple GreenHotwheels Redline Woody Bright Yellow W White Int Blister Fresh Mint Condition2016 Hot Wheels Stars And Stripes Complete Set1968 Hot Wheels Redline Custom Mustang Antifreeze W Tan Interior Us Good Cond.Hotwheels Redline Turbofire Rare Magenta Mint On Unpunched CardHot Wheels Very Rare 67 Camaro Limited Edition Real Riders Very Hard To FindCase Of Moko Lesney Matchbox Cars & Redline Hot Wheels Lot---------see PhotosHot Wheels Very Rare 67 Camaro Summer Smash Convention Nationals Only 1 On Ebay

Recent News: Hot Wheels

Source: Google News

Strong Museum adds 'Hot Wheels' exhibit
News 10NBC, February 5th

Hot Wheels are now at the Strong. Friday, we got a preview of the museum's newest exhibit. You and your kids will have a chance to see what goes into the sport of racing. With authentic racing gear and a real-life car engine on display, you can also...Read more

Barbie and Hot Wheels help Mattel to net sales rise for Q4 2015
Toy News, February 4th

Mattel is celebrating a surprise increase in quarterly net sales as revenue from Barbie dolls enjoyed a recovery and demand rose for Hot Wheels toys. The results marked the company's first rise in more than two years as it saw sales of Barbie dolls...Read more

Hot wheels on display at Auto Expo 2016
Livemint, February 3rd

US car major Ford Mustang displayed its iconic sedan Mustang at the Auto Expo. Ford plans to launch Mustang in India in the second quarter of this year. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint; The Jaguar XE launch at Delhi Auto Expo 2016. <b>Photo: Pradeep ...Read more

Hot wheels - Flash Fire jet truck slated for Duluth air show
Grand Forks Herald, January 28th

a part of this summer's Duluth Air and Aviation Expo. (Photo courtesy of Duluth Air and Aviation Expo). Hot wheels - Flash Fire jet truck slated for Duluth air show. By Forum News Service on Jan 28, 2016 at 4:30 p.m.. Email. Sign up for Breaking...Read more

Stolen Hot Wheels, meth found following Georgia traffic stop
ActionNewsJax.com, January 27th

Officers went to a home on Hollywood Lane, where they said they found even more stolen items, including a shotgun, a Smith and Wesson gun, more drugs and a closet full of Hot Wheels cars. “All of them are still in their original packaging without any ...Read more

Toy Spotlight: Collectible, Nostalgic Super Mario Hot Wheels Cars
The News Wheel, January 27th

It's a beautiful thing when two things you cherish merge into one beautiful package–especially if it brings back memories of your childhood. So when my wife revealed an early birthday present for me–Super Mario Hot Wheels cars–you can imagine the...Read more

Hot Wheels: These cars are getting all the attention at Montreal's Auto Show
Globalnews.ca, January 14th

Hot Wheels: These cars are getting all the attention at Montreal's Auto Show. Max Kalinowicz By Max Kalinowicz Associate Producer Global News. more. WATCH ABOVE: Jessica Laventure discovers some pretty unusual vehicles featured at this year's ...Read more

2016's First AVA Digital Platinum and Gold Awards Go to Original Hot Wheels ...
SHOOT Online, January 13th

Directors Eric McCoy and Justus Meyer, known collectively as Mccoy | Meyer, are very proud to announce that their original Hot Wheels web series, produced for the brand through Tongal, has earned some of the year's first Platinum and Gold AVA Digital ...Read more