Whether a child or an adult, almost anyone familiar with cars knows this too Hot Wheels. These cars are standard replicas of popular, classic and even amazing cars, both for play and for collection. With decades of experience, Hot Wheels has given the ordinary gift of owning a fast sports car to a child – no small feat and one we deeply respect.
UPDATED 2023/10/04 Ron FP
Hot Wheels are one of the best-selling toys in the world and have helped many children (and adults) develop a love for real cars for decades. We’ve updated this list to include more fun facts about the Hot Wheels brand and its fleet of over 6 billion cars produced since 1968.
Since its inception, Hot Wheels has paid great attention to detail and quality, bringing in the best designers to create large-scale replicas and adaptations of numerous cars. Even as a child’s toy, wheels and tracks make them extremely fun and durable, occupying a place in the minds of all children who have had the pleasure of owning them. Then there are $1 million worth of Hot Wheels collections for adults. Here, we’ll talk about some lesser-known facts about Hot Wheels and how they continued their decade-long journey into our hearts.
13 Hot Wheels is very old
The idea for Hot Wheels was first conceived by Elliott Handler in the 1960s and production began in 1967. In an era of die-casting with lackluster copies of existing cars, the design of a nice and fast car was supposed to be a success, but as with most new ideas, no one guessed the success it would have.
The brand name probably came from a handler who saw an El Camino being tested and said, “That’s one set of hot wheels you have there.” However, like Newton’s story about gravity and the apple, this one may have been slightly embellished. The first 16 Hot Wheels cars produced included the dark blue Custom Camaro, Custom Mustang, Dodge Deora and Custom Firebird, among others.
12 Hot Wheels has built billions of cars
To date, more than 6 billion Hot Wheels cars have been produced, more than the number of real cars in the world. To date, Hot Wheels has produced these units based on over 20,000 different models. All of the original Sweet 16 Hot Wheels cars were custom-made, with bright paint and designs that gave them an eye-catching look compared to the Matchbox offerings. The cars were built in 1/64 scale and were part of the Red Line series, which featured red stripes on the tires. The Red Line series lasted about 10 years, making them great finds for true Hot Wheels collectors today.
Fast forward 50 years and there are 130 new variants sold in 150 countries, giving the Mattel Hot Wheels brand a value of over $1.25 billion in 2022 and counting.
11 Hot Wheels cars cost a lot of money
While the current price of a Hot Wheels car is only $1-$2, some can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Take the coveted 1969 Pink Rear Loading Beach Bomb with surfboards going through the rear window. The last time one sold it went for a whopping $72,000, and now this pink Hot Wheels is going for $175,000 — more than a Porsche Taycan. What makes this design so rare is that it never went into production, so only two of this pink model exist.
Others, such as the 1968 “Cheetah” Base Python, fetch more than $10,000.
10 Hot Wheels is very famous
Like the Mad Maverick, renamed Mighty instead of Mad, and the Over Chrome Camaro, many of these Hot Wheels are popular due to their exclusivity, production issues, and hiccups. Additionally, Hot Wheels cars have also had their own TV shows and movies coming out in 2025, but kids of our generation have probably seen Hot Wheels: AcceleRacers, tune in for a hit of nostalgia.
Starting in 2018, the Hot Wheels Legends Tour takes place as a way to celebrate over 50 years of Hot Wheels with over 100,000 people participating. The winning car gets a model built by Hot Wheels themselves, just like the 2022 JDM Kei Monster Truck Hot Wheels Legends winner.
9 Darth Vader is Hot Wheels’ most popular hero car
According to Mattel, the most popular Hot Wheels character at the moment is Darth Vader. This die-cast character car was released in 2014, and it probably got so much attention from Hot Wheels fans not only because of their love for the Star Wars franchise, but also because Hot Wheels and Star Wars heavily promoted it with the help of – you guessed it – a real life-size vehicle called the Darth Vader Car.
Darth Vader’s real-life car was based on the 1997 C5 Corvette, but its body was made mostly of fiberglass and carbon fiber. This lightweight car, which premiered at the 2014 San Diego International Comic-Con, featured a 526 hp 6.2 LS3 V8 engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission that allowed it to develop a claimed top speed 250 miles per hour.
In addition to Darth Vader, Hot Wheels Star Wars characters also include Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, R2-D2 and C-3PO. However, only Darth Vader’s character car had a life-size version.
8 Hot Wheels and Matchbox share the same owner
Matchbox, which began producing miniature cars in 1953, was a major competitor to Hot Wheels. However, after 3 decades of rivalry between the two toy brands, Hot Wheels owner Mattel acquired Matchbox.
Many die-hard Matchbox collectors of the 1990s disliked the acquisition, primarily because they felt the Hot Wheels line was inferior and that Mattel would eventually bring Matchbox quality up to Hot Wheels. At the time, these fears were not unfounded. Indeed, in 2003 Mattel released Matchbox Ultra Heroes, a series of fantasy vehicles that deviated from Matchbox’s original concept of realistic miniature cars. Matchbox fans responded strongly by keeping their wallets closed, so Mattel discontinued the new line after only a year. In 2004, Matchbox, with a renewed design team, returned to the production of realistic and well-detailed models. Mattel has since maintained Hot Wheels and Matchbox as separate brands with their own unique offerings and design principles.
7 Hot Wheels is a Guinness World Record holder
Believe it or not, there is Guinness World Record for Longest Hot Wheels Track at 2,364 feet, and this was done in 2020 in Australia during the Covid-19 lockdown. It took 3 attempts to achieve the record: the Hot Wheels car ran for 5 minutes without external power.
There are other records like the most loops on a Hot Wheels track (14 loops, achieved in 2022) or the largest loop (12 feet, set in 2021), all of which prove that Hot Wheels is still around. very popular
6 Hot Wheels owes its origins to Barbie
Before Hot Wheels was conceived, there was Barbie. In fact, without Barbie there would be no Hot Wheels today. In the 1950s, Ruth Handler, the wife of the creator of Hot Wheels, had the idea to make a three-dimensional doll for their daughter. Elliott was skeptical, saying that a doll with breasts would not be very popular. However, during its first year in 1959, Barbie sold over 350,000 units.
A couple of years later, Elliott had a similar idea for boys, and Hot Wheels was born. Is it a coincidence that the two best children’s toys came from the same couple? In any case, we owe them a lot.
5 Hot Wheels cars can be very rare
The White Enamel Custom Camaro pictured above is the newest Hot Wheels reveal that could bring in over $100,000. This is one of the original Sweet 16s produced in 1968 for Mattel in the United States and Hong Kong. This is an enameled prototype made as a first model proof casting and these were not normally sold hence the scarcity. The Pink Beach Bomb we mentioned earlier only had 2 models ever made, while the base Python “Cheetah” only had 6 and the Mad Maverick only 4.
Sometimes it’s the build, sometimes it’s the paint, and sometimes it’s the car itself, like the Hot Wheels Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, that makes it a great replica, but at the end of the day, all of these cars are special in their own way.
4 The designers of Hot Wheels were real car designers
Harry Bradley and Larry Wood, both famous designers of Hot Wheels, worked in the automotive industry itself. Actually, Harry Bradley made a Hot Wheels replica of the 1968 Corvette even before the actual car was released to the public, using his plans from his time at GM. Larry Wood, aka “Mr. Hot Wheels,” has been a designer for over 50 years and previously designed for Ford. Larry Wood was the one who created the 1967 Hot Wheels Camaro. The designers chosen by the company simply demonstrate the level of detail and refinement that Hot Wheels strives for when creating cars.
3 Hot Wheels has partnered with NASA
Hot Wheels has partnered with NASA not once, but twice. In 1998, Hot Wheels made a replica Sojourner flying to Mars. In 2012, another similar project was made for the Curiosity Rover. The six-wheeled $2.5 billion Curiosity Rover is still in operation today, and thanks to Hot Wheels, you can get your hands on a model of the interplanetary vehicle.
With all the tools, unique design and strange wheels, the Curiosity Rover must have been another brand for Hot Wheels. However, the company made sure to build it and give the joy of space to many children around the world. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll see a Hot Wheels car floating in space.
2 Hot Wheels cars can reach speeds of over 300 miles per hour
One of the original advantages of Hot Wheels over Matchbox was that the first cars were faster. The original 16 Hot Wheels cars were designed by a GM engineer (Harry Bentley Bradley) and a true aerospace and rocket design expert (Jack Ryan) – and they focused on making the wheels better than what was on the Matchbox cars of the time. True, the original Hot Wheels cars had low-friction wheels and could go fast and far with just a little push.
More recently, some Hot Wheels cars have gone electric and are now capable of breaking the 300 mph barrier, as the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ did – but only at scale speed, of course.
1 Hot Wheels cars are very special
Almost every child has dreamed of cars, and Hot Wheels is a company that gives kids the opportunity to have any car of their choice right at their fingertips. Just like with Matchbox, the idea of having a scaled down version of the car so it could fit in a matchbox (eureka moment) was great. Some cars are so rare that you have no chance of seeing them in the real world, but you can still get a Hot Wheels version to make a little kid’s dream come true.
Hot Wheels left a mark on many generations of children, even after Elliot Handler died in 2011 at the age of 95. His legacy will live on in his ideas and the joy he brought to toy-loving children of all ages around the world.