History of hot wheel cars

There were sixteen castings released in , eleven of them designed by Harry Bentley Bradley, with the first one produced being a dark blue Custom Camaro. Although Bradley was from the car industry, he had not designed the full-functioning versions of the real cars, except the Dodge Deora concept car, which had been built by Mike and Larry Alexander.

Another of his notable designs was the Custom Fleetside, which was based on his own heavily-customized '64 El Camino. All sixteen of the cars featured 'Spectraflame' paintwork, bearings, redline wheels, and working suspension. Because 'Hot Pink' was considered a "girls color", it was not used very much on Hot Wheels cars. For most castings, it is the hardest color to find, and today can command prices ten times as high as more common colors.

In order for the cars to go fast on the plastic track, Mattel chose a cheap, durable, low-friction plastic called Delrin to use as a bushing between the axle and wheel. The result was cars that could go up to scale mph. The bushings were phased out in The early years of Hot Wheels are known as the Redline Era as until the wheels had a red line etched around the tire rim.


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The "Torsion Bar" suspension was simple, but flawed. Inside the car, the axles followed a "C"-like shape that was connected to the chassis. When pushed down, the axles would bend like a real car. However the axles were hard to install on the chassis while being assembled and would become detached from the lugs on the baseplate if very hard pressure was applied. The suspension was redesigned in Packaged along with the cars were metal badges showing an image of the car so fellow collectors could identify each other and compare collections.

As it turned out, the Hot Wheels brand was a staggering success. This accomplishment must be put in its historical perspective: Basically, the series "re-wrote the book" for small die-cast car models from onwards, forcing the competition at Matchbox and elsewhere to completely rethink their concepts, and to scamper to try to recover lost ground.

Harry Bentley Bradley did not think that would be the case and had quit Mattel to go back to the car industry. When the company asked him back, he recommended a good friend, Ira Gilford.

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Gilford, who had just left Chrysler, quickly accepted the job of designing the next Hot Wheels models. Larry Wood also joined the Hot Wheels team in to help with the increased demand. He'd left Ford and longed to return to southern California. The success of the line was solidified and consolidated with the releases, with which Hot Wheels effectively established itself as the most important brand of small toy car models in the USA. Altogether, 24 new vehicles were released.

The initial prototypes of the Beach Bomb were faithful to a real VW Bus's shape, and had two surfboards sticking out the back window. During the fledgling Hot Wheels era, Mattel wanted to make sure that each of the cars could be used with any of the play sets and stunt track sets. Unfortunately, testing showed that this early version now known as Rear-Loader Beach Bomb, or RLBB was too narrow to roll effectively on Hot Wheels track or be powered by the Super Charger, and was too top-heavy to negotiate high-speed corners.

Hot Wheels Designers Howard Rees and Larry Wood modified the casting, extending the side fenders to accommodate the track width, as well as providing a new place on the vehicle to store each of the plastic surfboards. The roof was also cut away and replaced by a full-length sunroof, to lower the center of gravity. Nicknamed "Side-loader" by collectors, this was the production version of the Beach Bomb. An unknown number were made as test subjects and given to Mattel employees, and today there are only about 25 known to exist.

Market prices on RLBBs however, have easily reached the five-figure plateau. The Hot Wheels Collectors Club released a new, updated version of the rear loading Beach Bomb in as a limited edition. There was some reproduction RLBB made by brightvision not by Mattel and there was even another cheap knock of the brightvision casting. This was also the year that Sizzlers appeared. Howard Rees , who worked with Ira Gilford , had grown tired of designing cars in late He wanted to work on the Major Matt Mason action figure toy line-up. Rees had a good friend by the name of Larry Wood. They had worked together at Ford designing cars.

Wood agreed, and by the end of the week, Larry Wood was working at Mattel. His first design would be the Tri-Baby.

Another designer, Paul Tam , joined Larry and Ira. Paul's first design for Hot Wheels was the Whip Creamer.

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The Most Valuable Hot Wheels Cars (for Now)

Tam continued to work for Mattel until Due to low sales, and the fact that many of the castings were not re-used in later years, the models are known to be very collectible. In , Hot Wheels began using the slogan " Flying Colors ", and added flashy decals and tampo-printed paint designs, which helped revitalize sales. As with the low-friction wheels in , this innovation was revolutionary in the industry, and — although far less effective in terms of sales impact than in — was copied by the competition, who did not want to be outmaneuvered again by Mattel product strategists.

In , Hot Wheels introduced its first motorcycles. In , the Redline Wheel was phased out, with the red lines being erased from the wheels.

Things You Didn't Know About Hot Wheels History, Facts and Trivia - Thrillist

This cut costs, but also reflected that the red lines popularized during the era of muscle cars and Polyglas tires were no longer current. What happened in the s for Hot Wheels sent them in the path of what they are today. In , Hot Ones wheels were introduced, which had gold-painted hubs and thinner axles for speed. In , A new style of wheel called Real Riders were introduced, which had real rubber tires.

Despite the fact that they were very popular, the Real Riders line was short-lived, because of high production costs. Mexico and France begin production of Hot Wheels. Ultra Hots wheels, which looked like the wheels found on a Renault Fuego or a Mazda , were introduced in and had other speed improvements. Hot Wheels started offering models based off of 80's economy cars, like the Pontiac Fiero or Dodge Omni In , Hot Wheels first appeared in Kellogg's cereal boxes. In the late 80s, the Blue Card was introduced, which would become the basis of Hot Wheels cars still used today.

Also, the first Hot wheels collector's convention was held in Toledo, Ohio.

From the wacky to the wonderful, 50 years on Hot Wheels is still hot stuff

In , 33 more cars were rolled out, and 35 more were brought out in The early s was also the final time that Hot Wheels were made in the United States. In , Mattel released its models that are now considered highly collectible. With only three new castings that year, the models were discontinued due to low sales, and now they are hard-pressed novelty collector pieces only the most devoted enthusiasts commit to finding.

During , Hot Wheels branched out to motorcycles, and they were not made again until , again making them hot ticket collectors' items. They included Super Chromes and vibrant color schemes, to name only a few of the features of the motorcycle line. Hot wheels hit a new generation of fans when they were distributed in McDonald's Happy Meals in Kids of that decade went wild for the little cars, and again production was in full swing. In , another notable moment in the history of Hot Wheels came about when the "Ultra Hots" were created.

These were bragged upon as being the fastest model car ever made, and even included two collectors' models not sold in the United States. The following years brought army cars, fantasy vehicles, and the very first collector's convention in Ohio. For Hot Wheels' 20th anniversary, gold and silver cars were sold, and they also started selling plastic garages to hold the individual cars. In , the company latched onto another part of pop culture - the network television show The Simpsons , releasing a special car based off of the show plot.