Hot Wheels first appeared in 1968 and had a dramatic effect on the diecast market. These cars from Barbie creator Mattel arose from the Hot Rod craze in America at the time. The cars were approximately 1/64 scale came in bright metallic colours and rolled across the floor or on special tracks faster than any diecast at the time.
Sixteen cars were released in 1968, the first being a dark blue Custom Camaro designed by Harry Bentley Bradley. Matchbox responded with Superfast in 1970 and with more trick cars and dragsters, but it was too late for Matchbox on the American market. Of the first 16 cars; 10 were based upon customized versions of regular production cars of the era, and 6 were based upon real show cars and cars designed and built for track racing. All of the cars featured metallic “Spectraflame” paintwork (unlike the more drab enamel on Matchbox cars of the time), bearings, redline wheels, and working suspension.
The early years of Hot Wheels are known as the Redline Era as until 1977 the wheels had a red line etched around the tyre rim. The cars were a staggering success. Here’s a video I posted in an earlier post (The Nostalgia Buzz) about the Hot Wheels Story:
Growing up in England in the sixties and seventies, I was aware of Hot Wheels and saw their effect on Matchbox, but it is only recently I’ve been actively collecting Hot Wheels. In the beginning Hot Wheels were mostly models of American cars but today there are European, Australian, Brazilian and Japanese cars in the range. I have maybe 300 Hot Wheels cars, more than I have from any other manufacturer. My favourite brand is still Matchbox, possibly for nostalgic reasons, and now in the 2014 season there are far more new Hot Wheels castings that interest me than there are new Matchbox castings. Since 1997 both Matchbox and Hot Wheels have been owned by Mattel. Lately I’ve been looking out especially for Japanese cars or JDM models.
The Honda Civic EF and Datsun 620 Pick Up are currently top of my wants’ list. I know some keen collectors keep their cars carded in the blister pack. I rarely keep my cars in the blister pack as I like to hold them in my hand and photograph them from different angles. I know this will reduce any resale value, but I collect for my pleasure not looking for future profits (The highest price paid for a Hot Wheels car was $72,000 in 2000 for a Volkswagen Beach Bomb, a VW microbus with a pair of surfboards poking out the rear window. This version was a prototype of which only 25 are known to exist.). I do keep maybe a dozen in cards including my Treasure Hunt Ferraris.
On Facebook, I am in a couple of Philippines based Hot Wheels groups, initially I was just looking for a Hot Wheels group, and when I found Pinoy Hot Wheels Collectors’ Club https://www.facebook.com/groups/phwcc/?fref=ts I wasn’t aware it was based in the Philippines. I don’t speak Filipino but the guys posting on the site have some great cars and collections, they also are fluent in English.
The USS Enterprise doesn’t even have wheels, just a plinth to display it on. There have been a few models based on TV Series and films, maybe the material for a future post.
In Georgia (former USSR) many markets sell “Hot Wheel” cars designed to look like Hot Wheels but cheaply made in China. These often have plastic not diecast bodies painted in silver to look metallic through the blister.
The packaging is designed to fool the uninitiated.
2014 Hot Wheels Wants’ List (for my most recent wants list click the link)
- Honda Civic EF ✓ (found in a three pack)✓ ✓(got one red and two turquoise)
- Datsun 620 Pick Up ✓✓
- ’70 Toyota Celica (Red) ✓
- Jetsons Capsule Car ✓
- Mustang Mach 1 ✓
- Mercury Cougar ✓✓(new casting)
- Snoopy ✓✓
- 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray ✓
- Nissan Skyline H/T 2000 GT ✓
- Morris Mini (Red and green racing livery) ✓ (red)
I found some of the above from my wants’ list.