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]

VW Toys and Models

VW Toys and Models

A comprehensive site completely dedicated to miniature Volkswagen vehicles. Browse hundreds of toys by country, man… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Original 1968 First 16 Hotwheels Redline Display W/painted Motor Camaro~~look~~Hot Wheels Super Charger Sprint Set Custom Camaro Mustang+60s Red Line Car Lot Hot Wheels Redline 1974 Heavy Chevy Camaro Alternate Color Light Green - NmMattel Hot Wheels Elite 1:18 Diecast K.i.t.t. Knight Rider Kitt Model Car X5469Rare Hot Wheels Army Staff Car Olds 442 Redline Orig. Excellent Condition 1976Vintage 60's, 70's Redline Hot Wheels Lot ~ 47 Cars One Bid Most Excellent C8-c9Hot Wheels Redlines Flying Colors Letter Getter 1977 Excellent Condition!! Rare!Hot Wheels Redline Super Chromes 1976 Heavy Chevy Camaro - Near MintHot Wheels Redline Custom Mustang 1968 Blue Us W/badge, Extremely NiceVintage 1967 Mattel Hot Wheels Custom T Bird Metallic Lime Green Rare Toy CarRedline Paddy Wagon Hot Wheels Rare! Black Canadian Blisterpack No Reserve 1969 Hot Wheels "olds 442" Lime Green Free ShippingVintage 60's, 70's Redline Hot Wheels Lot ~ 12 Cars One Bid Most Excellent C8-c9Hot Wheels Redline 1974 Heavy Chevy Camaro In Yellow - Loose Near MintHot Wheels Redline Super Chromes 1977 Heavy Chevy Camaro - Near MintHot Wheels 1995 & 1997 Jc Penny Treasure Hunt SetsHot Wheels Red Line Era, France, Gloss Red Vega Bomb, Very Rare, Near Mint !!!.Hot Wheels Redline Custom Mustang 1968 Htf Aqua Hk, NiceVintage 1969 Mattel Hot Wheels Red Line Series - Green Volkswagen Vw Beach Bomb 2014 Hot Wheels Halloween Ghostbusters Ecto-1 (lot Of 14) Total Of 14 You Get2 Hot Wheels 2012 Super Treasure Hunt '67 Ford Mustang Coupe Color Variation140. Hot Wheels 1995 Treasure Hunt Series Vw Bug #5 Of 12 MocHot Wheels Redline Rrrumblers Bone ShakerHot Wheels Red Line, Rl, Hk, Gloss Olive King Kuda, Black Roof, Near Mint !!!.2010 Hot Wheels Dream Halloween Vw Drag Bus No ReserveHot Wheels Redline Evil Weevil 1971 Red, Very NiceHot Wheels Blackwall Super Chromes 1977 Heavy Chevy Camaro - Near MintVintage Super Van Redline 1976 Super Chromes 9205 1:64 Hot Wheels Redlines 1967 Mattel Hot Wheels Redline Die-cast Custom Camaro W/ Collectors ButtonHot Wheels Redline Green Backwoods Bomb 1977 Flying Colors - Excellent ConditionHot Wheels Red Line T-hunt Vw Drag Bus And Convention Series Vw Drag Bus Mattel Hot Wheels 1967 Redline Metallic Purple Custom MustangSdcc 2014 Mattel Exclusive Hot Wheels Star Wars Darth Vader Car Sold Out At ShowHot Wheels Redline Custom Volkswagen 1968 Vhtf Creamy Pink Us, Very NiceHot Wheels Super Treasure Hunt Enzo FerrariHot Wheels 1995 Treasure Hunt '67 Camaro MintHot Wheels M2 Custom Ghostbusters Ecto 1 Convoy Custom Semi Hauler 1 Of 1Hot Wheels 1970 Redline Classic Cord Near MintVintage Mattel Hot Wheels Redline Custom Cougar Green On Card 1967Hot Wheels 100% Airstream Dream Vehicle SetRedline Hot Wheels 1971 Double Header No. 5880 Blue Mint In Original Packaging 2014 Hot Wheels - Retro Entertainment - D Case - Complete 5 Car Set Hot Wheels Redline Snake Yellow BpLot Of 5 Vintage Mattel 1968 And 1969 Hot Wheels Red Line Series Cars - Mattel Hot Wheels Redlines Set Sky Show German Package With Box1969 Hotwheels Redline -- "olds 442" 1970's Hot Wheels Redline Green Baja Bruiser Chrome Plastic Base, Nice ConditionHot Wheels Custom Camaro RedlineHot Wheels Red Line Club Ghostbusters Ecto-1 #04767/06530Hot Wheels 2014 Super Treasure Hunt '71 Datsun Bluebird 510 WagonHot Wheels Red Line, Us, Gloss Lime And Orange Hot Heap Lot, Near Mint !!!.Hot Wheels Boulevard Datsun 510 And Nissan Skyline (bonus Skyline Included)1968 Hot Wheels - Custom Barracuda - Redline - #6211 - Hk - Green**hot Wheels Workhorses Hiway Hauler Mountain Dew #1174 Malaysia 1983 Moc**Hot Wheels Retro Entertainment Ghostbusters Ecto 1Hot Wheels Redline Custom Camaro Metallic Lime Usa 1968 Very Near MintHot Wheels Chicago Cubs Mustang Mach 1 & 67 CamaroVintage Hot Wheels Sto Go City Fold Up Playset Town 1979 1980 Mattel Monster Jam Hot Wheels 1:24 Truck Lot Of 6 Monster Trucks Are 7 1/2 In. Long 2014 Hot Wheels Super Treasure Hunt 71 Mustang Mach 1 New

Recent News: Hot Wheels

Source: Google News

How To Win At Interior Design: Use A Chevrolet C/K Truck Grille As A Hot ...
GM Authority (blog), September 17th

Chapman was looking for a place to store his Hot Wheels models when a friend suggested using the grille from a 1973-77 Chevrolet pickup truck. It's a good way to keep the models from getting scratched or damaged and looks effortlessly cool hanging on...Read more

Hot Wheels auction to benefit RPD's Blue Santa Program
Rockport Pilot, September 17th

An anonymous benefactor recently donated 360 new-in-the-box Hot Wheels die cast cars to the Rockport Police Department to be auctioned off with proceeds going to the annual Blue Santa Program. The cars, in various scales and carrying the Hot Wheels, ...Read more

E for excitement - electric hot wheels gain traction
South China Morning Post (subscription), September 17th

Despite the best efforts of Tesla, fans of sports cars have rather looked down their noses at electric or hybrid hot wheels. Imagine everyone's surprise then when an actual electric racing car formula turned out to be, well, rather good. Formula E got...Read more

Meet the Agency That Dreamed Up Life-Size Hot Wheels
Adweek, September 16th

It's not often that advertisers get to break world records. But when Mistress Creative, a boutique agency based in Los Angeles, was tasked with helping Mattel's Hot Wheels reach a new demographic, the team members minds went immediately to stunts...Read more

Want a cool Hot Wheels display? Head to the junkyard
RoadandTrack.com (blog), September 16th

Ben Chapman just came up with a way to rile your landlord and display your Hot Wheels for the world to see. Start with one grille from a 1973-1977 Chevrolet pickup truck, screw that sucker to the wall and fill the empty squares with die-cast goodies...Read more

Hot Wheels collectors in Elkhart race for some of the rarest toy cars at Kmart
The Elkhart Truth, September 14th

Hot Wheels enthusiasts have been visiting Kmart stores for the opportunity to find these collectible cars for the last decade at the very least, Truax said. In the 10 years she's worked as an employee of Kmart stores in Mishawaka and Elkhart, Truax...Read more

Pics: Hot Wheels & Hot Sauce at SMW
Light Reading, September 10th

LAS VEGAS -- Super Mobility Week -- Connected cars were a key topic here at the re-branded CTIA show Tuesday. Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of Mobile and Business Solutions at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) predicted that 10 million cars will have ...Read more

First Look: Team Hot Wheels: Origin of Awesome
Sports Illustrated Kids (blog), September 2nd

That's the set up for the new animated movie Team Hot Wheels: Origin of Awesome, available on iTunes today and hitting DVD on September 30. The film brings Hot Wheels play to life like never before — and it gives your imagination the fuel to create...Read more