Through the years, Hot Wheels toy cars have mostly been collected by children, but since the late 1990s, there’s been an increase in the number of adult collectors. Here are a few facts you absolutely need to know about these adult-worthy toys.
- Hot Wheels were an instant hit. Elliot Handler, Mattel’s co-founder, challenged a design team to create a toy line that could outperform other toy cars. The team came up with Hot Wheels, which were popular right from the start. Today they’re the top-selling toy in the world. The average American child owns 50 of them.
- Hot Wheels were first introduced in 1968 at the New York Toy Fair. The first vehicle produced was a dark blue custom Camaro.
- Hot Wheels released its Corvette before General Motors released the real deal. The generally accepted tale is that since Harry Bradley had worked at GM just prior to his stint with Hot Wheels, he managed to acquire the plans to the car, thus enabling an early release. These days manufacturers get upset if so much as a grainy photo leaks a couple hours early.
- According to Mattel, Hot Wheels got its name from an offhand compliment. There are a few versions of the story floating around, but the official Mattel line is that when Elliot Handler (the “el” in Mattel) saw (Hot Wheels’ first designer) Harry Bradley’s El Camino in the parking lot, he said “Those are some hot wheels.”
- Every second, 16.5 Hot Wheels are produced. More than 6-billion Hot Wheels have been sold. That’s more than the number of cars that have been manufactured and sold by the “Big 3” automakers since the start of the auto industry.
- There are 20,000 different variations of Hot Wheels cars in existence. Hot Wheels partner with nearly every auto manufacturer in the world. Over 130 new car designs are introduced each year and they’re sold in over 150 countries.
- Every single one of the 16 original Hot Wheels is based on an actual customized vehicle. In the first few years, Hot Wheels models all had a red striped tire. Prices on these vintage Hot Wheels are significantly higher than most other models, and it’s not uncommon to see prices exceeding $100 each.
- The most valuable Hot Wheels is the 1969 Rear-Loader Volkswagen Beach Bomb. There are only 40 known units in existence today. Read more about the five most expensive Hot Wheels cars.
- For their 40th anniversary, a diamond-encrusted racer was commissioned to honor the occasion. It was designed by a celebrity Beverly Hills jeweler, using over 3,000 diamonds (1,388 blue diamonds, 988 black diamonds, 319 white diamonds, and eight rubies) that weigh in just under 23 carats. This car is valued at $140,000.
- The iconic orange Hot Wheels track has stayed the same for 50 years. Mattel makes more than 6,000 miles of track every year.
- The first life-sized Hot Wheels car was the Twin Mill in 2001. Hot Wheels currently has a total of 20 life-size cars.
- The largest Hot Wheels collection is worth over $1M, owned by a private collector.
- Before the 2011 Indy 500, a real-life Hot Wheels car was driven down a ramp attached to a giant 10-story “door” and executed a world record jump of 332-feet.
- Hot Wheels is part of some of the biggest video games in the industry, including Forza, Need for Speed, and Rocket League
- #HotWheels is shared every 30-seconds on social media
Do you know some cool facts about Hot Wheels that we don’t know? Let us know in the comments!