It was in 1968 that Hot Wheels was introduced by Mattel Toys in USA. Their very first product was a blue coloured Chevrolet Camaro which was part of a set of 16 cars made under the series "The Original 16". Designed by Harry Bentley Bradley, Don Tognotti and Bill Cushenberry they made history later, as some of the world's most expensive toys.
Mattel Toys idea was to bring out models that parents could afford to buy for their kids. They were all in 1:64 scale car (about 2” in length) and could run fast.
To mark its 40th anniversary and 4th billionth production of toy cars, Hot Wheels in February 2008 unveiled their most expensive toy car.
This toy car was designed by celebrity jeweller JASON OF BEVERLY HILLS (located in Beverly Hills, California) and was made with 2700 diamonds that weighed nearly 23 carats. The car was cast in 18 carat gold and the vehicle was set in blue coloured diamonds. The tail lights were red rubies. Black diamonds and red enamel were used to create the red line tyres.
Nearly 25 people took nearly 600 man hours to complete this car. It cost nearly US$ 140,000 (Rs. 91 lakh) and made this toy car as the world’s most expensive Hot Wheels.
Now, that’s not the only expensive toy model, that Hot Wheels have. Their "Original 16" cars also fetch a premium price. Read more,
1. Volkswagen Beach Bomb: This rear loading version of the 1969 model is a prototype and with only one version made, this Hot Wheels sold for $125,000 (Rs. 84 lakh).
2. Python: Only a handful of these red Hot Wheels cars were ever made, starting from 1968. Its initial name was the “Cheetah” but Mattel changed it for some reasons. A single "Python" costs nearly $10,000 (Rs. 6.7 lakh).
3. Purple Oldsmobile 442: With only 15 of this 1971 toys made, they are a prized find for any Hot Wheels collector. This rare purple colour cost and each cost over $5,000 (Rs. 3.4 lakh).
4. Enamel Camaro: This 1968 white enamel Camaro is a part of the "The Original 16". The Camaro was the first Hot Wheels car ever produced therefore making it a valuable toy at over $2,500 (Rs. 1.68 lakh).
5. Custom Volkswagen without sunroof: This toy was also part of the "The Original 16" and didn’t feature a sunroof unlike the actual car that was sold in the USA with a sunroof. These now sell for nearly $2,000 (Rs. 1.35 lakh).
6. Beatnik Bandit: Also part of “The Original 16", this 1968 Beatnik Bandit is also highly sought after by collectors. Inspired by the concept car designed by Ed Roth for Rod & Custom magazine in 1961, it has a joystick in place of a steering wheel and a bubble on the driver's seat. Exact value is not known.
7. Red Baron: Hot Wheels made the Red Baron in 1970 only as a prototype and not for the general public. Only 10 of these prototypes were produced, making this toy car extremely valuable. The car was designed after the World War I, German fighter pilot Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen whose nick name was 'Red Baron' and so has a German helmet instead of the roof. Red Baron worked for the Imperial German Army Service and is considered to be the 'ace-of-aces' pilot of any war since he won over 80 combat dogfights. Exact value of this car is not known.
8. Mad Maverick: The current Mighty Maverick was originally known as the Mad Maverick. Because, of a small number of them being produced in different colours in the 70’s, they are now extremely valuable. Exact value is also not known.
9. Custom Barracuda: The Custom Barracuda Hot Wheel was based on the 1967 Plymouth Barracuda 2-door coupe. These were made in both the USA and Hong Kong factories of Mattel Toys for nearly 2 years.
10. Custom Fleetside: The Chevy Fleetside was based on the 1964 pick-up, Chevrolet El Camino.
11. Custom Cougar: The Custom Cougar is based on the the 1967 Mercury Cougar. Every car had red-line wheels, bent axle suspension and were painted in Spectraflame, which was a special process developed by Mattel Toys. It was a transparent lacquer that was applied over the polished zinc plated casting. This model was available in Spectraflame Blue and Spectraflame Orange.
12. Ford J Car: The Ford-J car was based on the the 1967 model of Ford, the GT40 Mark IV.
13. Hot Heap: This model was based on a modified Ford Model T. They were made for nearly 4 years, until 1971.
14. Custom Mustang: This model was based on the 1967 Ford Mustang. This too commands a good price as the production ran for just 1 year.
15. Deora: The Alexander brothers Larry and Mike were well known for modifying cars in their garage at Detroit, since 1957. One of their most well known creation was a modified 1965 Dodge A100 pick-up truck, that they named as Dodge Deora. To pay a tribute to the legendary stylists, Mattel Toys decided to dedicate a toy. This scale model could easily be identified by its two detachable plastic surfboards.
16. Silhouette: The Silhouette was a apple red colour car and was based on a modified 1956 Buick frame. Because of a large number of these being made, they carry the least value and yet it will set you back by few hundred dollars.
Folks, did you feel the heat of the above Hot Wheels?