Since its introduction by Mattel in 1968, Hot Wheels has become a household icon. From birthdays to holidays, it is a classic gift for children of all ages. The over 50 years of history behind the Hot Wheels brand is an extremely interesting but generally unknown.
Facts about the History of Hot Wheels Cars
- Elliot Handler, Mattel co-founder, decides to create a competitive toy with the British Matchbox cars. What emerged from his idea was the Hot Wheels model-a set of car toys with innovative alterations from the Matchbox cars, including low-friction wheels made for fast track racing and current-day customizations featured on car models.
- In this first year, Mattel released 16 cars, known as the Sweet 16. The very first Hot Wheels produced was a dark blue Custom Camaro. Other cars included a Thunder Bird, Firebird, Mustang, and Volkswagen. One prominent distinction between these cars and that of later models is that idea of cuts in the models to represent door openings. At first, they were removed due to the fact that they would be too small to notice if done to scale. However, it was introduced with future models.
- For each of the following 6 years, Mattel came out with a line of cars that surpassed the one before. The cars released in the 60s and 70s established Hot wheels as a treasured toy of America.
- In the 1980s Mattel released the Hot Ones, a faster car model with thinner axels and additional suspension. Thermal Color Change Paint was also introduced during this time. Two new models, the Speed Demons and Flip-Outs were introduced when the Real Riders models were discontinued. The first collector’s convention was held in Toledo, OH.
- Putting Hot Wheels even more on the map was its introduction of the toy into the McDonald’s children menu in the 80s.
- The 90s brought major change to Hot Wheels as this was the time when they started introducing cars in series. Two of the major series were the First Editions and Treasure Hunt Series. In 1997 Mattel signed a sponsorship with NASCAR drive Kyle Petty. This brought the NASCAR series of race cars, which were a huge hit and continue to be until today.
- Recently, Hot Wheels celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2003, in none other than by releasing 2 New Style Wheels.
Over the years, Mattel slowly took over the toy car industry in the 60s and has since transformed the toy industry’s perspective on what toy cars should be. Mattel introduced the idea of making a car that would be raced by boys all over the world. The history of the Hot Wheels is one that is sure to continue to grow for years to come.
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