Posts Tagged ‘Hotwheels

27
Jan
10

Matchbox can suck it.

If there is one accessory of my childhood that I couldn’t cast off even if I wanted to, it would be my love for the miniature roadsters known formally as Hot Wheels. And I know I’m not alone. While the girls were off steering their impossibly proportioned Barbies around inside of that all-pink jeep or whatever it was, the fellas had more than enough to occupy themselves with in Hot Wheels toy cars. Mattel estimates by sales that around 41 million children grew up playing with Hot Wheels cars, and that boys between the ages of 5 and 15 own approximately 41 cars each.

The amazing thing about these cars is that they’re only about 6 or 7cm in length, but contain a detail almost identical to the full-sized vehicles many are modeled after. The sturdy, die-cast replicas were fully functional–some with doors that opened, trunks that popped, tiny motors that allowed the car to move on its own, and all with spinning wheels.

General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Motors, Ferrari, Mazda, and Toyota are just a few car makers who have licensed Hot Wheels to make the 1/64th sized scale model of their cars.

Every Hot Wheels model falls under one of the following categories:

  • Street Car
  • Racing Car
  • Extreme Car
  • Rigs or Buses
  • Vans and Off Road Vehicles
  • Formula Fuelers
  • Motocross and Stunt Cycles
  • Special Series Cars (themed from movies, other brands)

A History of Hot Wheels

Elliott Handler, husband to Ruth Handler, who had recently been responsible for the debut of Barbie through their co-owned Mattel toy company, invented the idea of die-cast model cars for boys during the 1960’s. The first line of successful Hot Wheels included models such as the Corvette, the Cougar, the Barracuda, the Firebird, the Mustang, the Volkswagen, the Deora and the Hot Heap.

The first 16 models, which have now come to be known as “the sweet sixteen” in the collector’s world, sold so well in 1968 that Mattel produced a second set of cars for the following year.

“Designs included the Chaparrel 2G, the Charger, the AMX, the Lotus Turbine, the Mclaren M6A, the Rolls Royce, the Police Cruiser, the Mercedes Benz 280SL and the Ford MK IV. The first models from the ‘Classic’ range were also introduced during this year; the 31 Ford Woody, the 32 Ford Vicky, the 36 Ford Coupe and the 57 Bird. There were only another 21 cars produced from this range therefore became admired collectors items.” – ToyReview.com

Since 1968, over 10,000 models have been produced, pointing to a large collectors market for Hot Wheels cars. Mattel hosts several annual collectors events, along with independent organizations devoted to displaying and trading rarities of the line.

Mattel has slated 240 new models for production in 2010. On the official collector’s website, the manufacturers provide a detailed Hot Wheels search engine, collector’s list, upcoming collector’s events, and forums for enthusiasts to meet and share. On a competitive front, they also offer spotlights to serious collectors, and hold contests for inventive stunt tracks. These tracks are themed and designed for racing Hot Wheels cars through any number of absurdly awesome scenarios.

Hot Wheel Vehicles are authorized by the car makers General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler Motors. Other car makers like Ferrari, Mazda, and Toyota have licensed Hot Wheels to make a scale model of their cars.

Internationally, the expansion of the brand and its products has brought people together from all continents. A few years ao, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized Eugenio Alanis of Mexico and his submission for the world’s longest Hot Wheels track.

Here’s a video submission I found for one of Hotwheels.com‘s contests last year. This required some serious editing skills.

If you missed out on the Hot Wheels movement, you are officially forgiven. It doesn’t look like Mattel will be stopping production anytime soon. The automotive industry may be in decline, but these boys have serious staying power. Go beg your parents for some.

BONUS VIDEO:

Awesome Jumpzzzz to Melt your Matchbox Face!!!!! LOLLZZZ!!!!

(edit: Mattel bought Matchbox out in 1996. Sry sry! lolzzz)

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