Hot Wheels turns 50-years-old

Classic tiny car brand hits big milestone

Throwback series Hot Wheels 50th anniversary

Mattel’s tiny toy cars have been around for a half-century, with Hot Wheels having been an early influencer for many car fanatics.

To celebrate, Mattel has revealed a ‘Throwback’ collection which brings back some classic Hot Wheels icons from the late 1960s.

The series is modelled on the ‘Original 16’ cars, which consisted of several ‘Custom’ versions of popular real cars of the time, as well as a few more conceptual cars.

The idea came from Mattel co-founder Elliot to design a line of die-cast model cars to compete with then British brand Matchbox.

Former General Motors designer Harry Bentley Bradley was one of the first to lend work to the way each car looked, though he left Mattel shortly after the Hot Wheels brand started up.

Since then, thousands of different Hot Wheels designs and – the company says around 20,000 variations have been produced – with collectors having amassed huge assortments of the small vehicles.

One such collector, Bruce Pascal, is often said to have the world’s largest collection of Hot Wheels, with over USD$1M worth of cars.

Similarly, some Hot Wheels cars have become incredibly valuable in the eyes of collectors, especially early and rare models.


One of the rarer, called “the holy grail of Hot Wheels” by an Antiques Roadshow appraiser, is a prototype for the Kombi-inspired Beach Bomb.

With a surfboard slotted through the back window – as opposed to on the side as production version had – this specific model of prototype has been valued at up to USD$150,000.


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