Hot Wheels is a brand of US toys founded in 1968 belonging to Mattel.
Today, the brand continues to produce new collections each year mixing real models and imaginary models and markets worldwide. The brand also produces circuits, garages and many other accessories. Over time, these miniature vehicles have become the subject of collections, there are at least 100,000 existing models and variations since 1968. The most expensive Hot Wheels in the world (a model "Beach Bomb," a modified Volkswagen Transporter) has was sold about 72 thousand dollars at Petersen automotive museum in Los Angeles.
- 1968: creation of the brand Hot Wheels by Mattel; Production in California then, late in the year, Hong Kong.
- 1972: production stop in California.
- 1973: replacing colors by Spectraflame Enamel shades.
- 1974: launch of Flying Colors models for decoration by pad printing.
- 1978 abandoned tires with red tape and distribution models in seven thematic groups (Speedways Specials, Super Streeters, Oldies But Goodies, The Heavies, Drag Strippers, Rescue Team Classy and Customs).
- 1980: launch of Hi-Rakers and workhorses series.
- 1982: start of production in Malaysia.
- 1983: Launch of the series Real Riders and beginning of production in France and Mexico (arrested in 1986).
- 1987: cessation of production in Hong Kong and the first convention Hot Wheels collectors in Toledo (Ohio) organized by Michael Strauss.
- 1989: acquisition of the British firm Corgy Toys.
- 1990: launch of the series California Customs.
- 1991 : production de la milliardième miniature Hot Wheels.
- 1992 : début de la production en Chine. Lancement des premiers modèles fabriqués en édition limitée (12 000 exemplaires au lieu des séries normales de 200 000).
- 1994 : apposition systématique du logo de la marque (une flamme entourant une roue) sur un endroit de chaque miniature.
- 1995 : structuration de la gamme en quatre séries : First Editions pour les nouveaux modèles, Treasure Hunt pour les variantes de modèles existants en édition limitée, Segment Series pour les variantes de modèles déclinées en douze groupes de quatre miniatures et Regular Line pour les autres variantes.
- 1997 : lancement de la série Hot Wheels Collectibles dont les modèles très détaillés sont destinés aux collectionneurs. Rachat de la firme Tyco propriétaire de la marque Matchbox.
- 1999: signature d'un accord d'exclusivité mondiale avec le constructeur Ferrari pour la reproduction à toutes les échelles de tous les modèles de la célèbre firme italienne.
- 2003 : sortie du film Hot Wheels World Race (en français « course mondiale ») à l'occasion du 35e anniversaire de la marque.
- 2004 : lancement de 100 modèles entièrement nouveaux dans l'année (le rythme habituel étant de 36).
- 2005 : sortie du film Hot Wheels AcceleRacers (suite de World Race).
- 2008: 40e anniversaire de la marque avec les sorties de la série des Since 68 et du coffret 40th Anniversary.
- 2010 : sortie de la série Battle Force 5.
- 2011 : Opération spéciale pour les 100 ans de la course des 500 miles d'Indianapolis.
The origins of the brand
If the 1950s can be considered the golden age of the automobile toy across the 1/43 ° with the development of brands such as Dinky Toys, Norev and Solido, the 1960s saw the miniature car outbreak smaller in scale 1/64 °, including Matchbox and Majorette are brands of famous representatives. The outbreak of this scale is due to the enlargement of the target toy manufacturers to "little brothers" of the children of the previous decade which does not yet have the age to play with models 1/43 ° .
This market is dominated by European manufacturers who export heavily to the United States, but their models are primarily miniatures of European cars and young Americans desperately waiting to play with miniature American cars. The American manufacturer Tootsietoys is certainly present on the market, but its range includes vehicles daily, while young people dream more sporting and exclusive cars such as "custom" and "hot rod" to change bodies and inflated engines, or specifically American race cars like the dragsters and cars Nascar.
The creation of the Hot Wheels
Elliot Handler, the founder of Mattel president will then meet this demand by launching a specific miniatures brand: Hot Wheels, a play developed on the term hot rod and a reminder of the main feature of these miniature stories, their wheels that very thin axle allow to run with much less friction than their competitors, allowing them to go faster.
The first range presented by Hot Wheels is a heterogeneous mixture of 16 miniatures representing auto dreams of young Americans ...
Eight models reproduce modified versions of American cars sporting and contemporary touring: Custom Camaro, Custom Cougar, Mustang Custom, Custom Barracuda, Custom Firebird, Corvette Custom, Custom Custom T-Bird and Eldorado. The roof of these models can be painted black to include a vinyl roof.
Four are dream cars designed by famous designers of the movement "custom" as Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth and Bill Cushenberry: Silhouette, Deora, Cheetah and Beatnik Bandit.
Three are highly modified models: Custom Fleetside, Hot Heap and Custom Volkswagen.
The last is a race car: Ford J-Car.
All these miniatures are made in California and at the end of 1968, Hong Kong, with differences such as size flying (small for models manufactured in the United States, great for those manufactured in Hong Kong) or the presence or absence of a dashboard. They all have the famous red stripe tires to wheels that will be worth them the nickname "Redlines" and are available in many colors based on a specific painting called Spectraflame.
Given the success of these small cars, Mattel launches orange plastic tracks and various accessories to create a game environment around them, as well as small carrying cases including the famous suitcase shaped wheel. Sold for 90 cents then, every Hot Wheels model is presented in a package with a wheel-shaped collection of button with a drawing of the thumbnail and its name on the rim. This success will bring Matchbox has completely changed the wheels of his models and launch its range "Superfast" in 1969.
1969: Brand Development
The Hot Wheels miniature of popularity is growing as the number of models in the 1969. There are twenty-four new cars, bringing the total number of miniature forty models. Decals can be applied on the thumbnails are inserted into the packaging.
The range consists of six mini-series of four models each; the first includes classic Ford models treated hot-rods, the second covered wheel racing models from Can-Am type, third fully imagined fancy cars by Hot Wheels designers, the fourth race cars not covered wheels type Indianapolis, the fifth and the sixth American cars European cars. The two mini-series racing cars are officially the Grand Prix series. Miniature continue to be manufactured for both United States and Hong Kong. Many new boxes and accessories are also available.
The entire range is designed by Ira Gilford, former stylist at Chevrolet. The first four fancy models make their debut: the "Splittin Image", the "Torero", the "Turbofire" and "Twin Mill", a model with two engines mounted on the side. The miniature will become one of Hot Wheels models most sought after of all time also appears: the "Beach Bomb," a Volkswagen minibus modified and equipped with surfboards. The series "Grand Prix" is composed of eight models of type race cars Formula 1 Indianapolis and CanAm proposed in their true racing colors: for example, "Chapparal 2G" is painted white, the "Brabham-Repco F1 "and" Lola GT 70 "in English green," Ford Mk IV "dark red and" McLaren M6A "orange. These cars are well known at the time because of their presence in television shows and in films like Grand Prix in 1966. Mattel adds two more muscle car in 1969: the "AMX" and "Custom Dodge Charger" . Four new hot rods inspired by Ford appear: break the "Woody" of 1931, the "Vicky" in 1932, the "Off" from 1936 and "Thunderbird" in 1957. Woody and Vicky are equipped with engines apparent metallized The Coupe rides on tiny front wheels and huge rear wheels, which gives it an extremely racy look, and Thunderbird has a windshield windscreen and an aerodynamic extension restraint driver's head.
The first police car incorporates the range, in the form of a Plymouth Fury called "Police Custom Cruiser." This model has the distinction of being the first toy Hot Wheels to wear a tampon printed pattern, a six-pointed badge and the word "POLICE" on either side of the body.
A third luxury coupe is added: the "Lincoln Continental Mk III." Finally, Mattel added to its range three European models: the "Maserati Mistral", the "Rolls Royce Silver Shadow" and "Mercedes 280 SL". As Continental Mk III, these three cars retain their set of pace, with the exception of their Spectraflame painting and the famous Hot Wheels wheel.
Each year, the generic range of miniatures in scale 1: 64th is renewed. It consists of several series, the main are named:
First Editions (formerly Model Series): New Models.
All Stars (formerly Open Stock): New old models variations.
Treasure Hunt: rare models.
Code Cars: Models with an internet code to unlock the virtual content.
Mistery Cars: Models packaged in a packaging that hides them.
Track Stars (formerly Track Aces): Models specifically designed to work on Hot Wheels circuits.
Teams: Models made within a subject each consisting of four vehicles.
The membership of the model range is indicated by the colored band and the corresponding name on the right side of the front face of the package.
There are also other series, apart from the generic range, such as Classics, Ultra Hots or 68 Since, whose prices are often higher and better finish but whose collections can also be renewed annually.
Michael Strauss, Tomart's Price Guide to Hot Wheels Collectibles, Tomart Publications, 1st edition in 1991, 4th edition in 2000.
Bob Parker, The Complete Book of Hot Wheels, Schiffer Publishing, 2000.
Mac Ragan, Hot Wheels Cars, MBI Publishing, 2001. Michael Zarnock, Hot Wheels Variations - The Ultimate Guide, Krause Publications, 2004.
Animated Feature Films
- 2003 Hot Wheels - World Race (Original title: World Race)
- 2005 Hot Wheels Acceleracers 1 - Last Light (Original title: Ignition). Duration 60 min
- 2005 Hot Wheels Acceleracers 2 - The Silence Speed (Original title: Speed of Silence). Time 66 minutes
- 2006 Hot Wheels Acceleracers 3 - Extreme Situation (Alternate Title: Breaking Point, Original title: Breaking Point). Duration 61 min
- 2006 Hot Wheels Acceleracers 4 - Ultimate Race (original title: The Ultimate Race). Duration 61 min