By Gary Barnum
When Hot Wheels ripped out of the starting gate in 1968, it was with 16 exhilarating cars. And those cars have made tracks for 50 years, building a brand known around the world.
For our 50th Anniversary, we've taken our HWC Original 16 retools of these rare castings and constructed one awe-inspiring showroom-style display set. A recreation of the original store displays made in 1968 to showcase the new die-cast brand, it features a slide-out tray to hold the cars until you’re ready to show them off. Whether you were there when they launched or not, this nostalgic set will be a classic addition to your collection.
Each of these die-cast/die-cast cars features a Spectraflame finish—a shiny paint job named with the original releases. They also roll out on Neo-Classics Redline wheels, emulating the classic red-striped tires that inspired the early line. Remaining authentic to the first editions, some of them feature opening hoods and/or matte black roofs as well.
Here are the 16 cars you'll receive in this wondrous display set:
Possibly the most notable creation of legendary car customizer Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, the Beatnik Bandit was built on a modified 1955 Olds chassis with futuristic bubble top and joystick steering. It was a celebrated legend of car shows in the early 1960s. This edition is Spectraflame pale violet.
Originally released as the "Python" in 1968, it was intended to be called the Cheetah. We've since been able to claim the name as first planned back in '68. Based on a popular show car, the name now proclaims "speed." For this release, we've used Spectraflame bright orange with a matte black roof.
Custom '67 Firebird
The Firebird was Pontiac's entry into the pony car market. It came with a convertible option, which we used for our 1:64 edition. This piece is finished in Spectraflame olive with an opening hood.
Custom Plymouth Barracuda
With its longer wheelbase, the 1967 Plymouth Barracuda fastback evolved from a swift fish to an actual pony car. It either swam or galloped into the inaugural Hot Wheels line, depending on how you look at it. This one is Spectraflame antifreeze with an opening hood.
From the very beginning, the 1967 Camaro and Hot Wheels went together: the first Camaro was also the first Hot Wheels car produced. The Camaro® remains one of the most favored Hot Wheels castings to this day. This release of the flagship of the Hot Wheels fleet is finished in Spectraflame brown with a matte black roof and an opening hood.
Back in 1968, the Corvette®—named after a small type of warship—was released with an all-new, third-generation look. It sailed right into the inaugural Hot Wheels line. For this set, the nautically-named sports car is Spectraflame ice blue with an opening hood.
With its first market release, the 1967 Cougar was a slightly lengthier version of the Ford Mustang. This was Mercury’s cool cat in the pony car stable, and it clawed its way to car of the year. You'll find Spectraflame purple on this feline, with a matte black roof and an opening hood.
Heavily redesigned in 1967, the Cadillac Eldorado took a luxury car and made it slick. For example, the headlights were hidden behind vacuum-operated doors. It was pure gold! Fitting that this edition features a Spectraflame classic yellow finish with a matte black roof and opening hood.
Brought in to design the first Hot Wheels cars, designer Harry Bentley Bradley was driving a "California custom style" '64 El Camino at the time—a look popular with the Southern California surf culture. Mattel CEO Elliot Handler famously directed Harry to make Hot Wheels "look like that thing of yours outside." This edition of the car that defined the brand is finished in Spectraflame dark green with a matte black roof and opening tonneau cover.
Ford's Mustang was such a popular car that it led to the coining of a phrase to describe an entire genre of cars as "pony cars." This release features a Spectraflame magenta finish and the earlier open-slot style opening hood.
Our Hot Wheels spin on the luxurious 1967 Ford Thunderbird features the “fishmouth” grille that was inspired by jetfighters. Thunder in the skies or thunder on the highways, this bird soared. Finished in Spectraflame pink with a matte black roof, this edition includes an opening hood.
Though it had actually been around since the 1930s, the Volkswagen Beetle became an iconic car of the 1960s. The "bug" was powered up in 1967, and Ira Gilford added it to the Hot Wheels inaugural lineup. This release features a Spectraflame dark red finish and the slide-open sunroof.
Dodge Deora Concept
The real customized Dodge A100 show car was designed in 1964 by none other than Harry Bentley Bradley. Deora is a Spanish word for gold, the color in which the show car was finished. When Harry designed the Hot Wheels version a few years later, two removable surfboards were added. True to its origins, this edition features a Spectraflame yellow finish and two removable surfboards.
Based on the 1967 Ford GT40 Mark IV driven by the legendary Carroll Shelby, the Ford J-Car took its place among the inaugural editions of the Hot Wheels brand. Finished in Spectraflame navy blue, this release also features the opening rear.
Inspired by Tognotti's T—the award-winning customized Model T Roadster designed by Don Tognotti in the 1960s—the stylish Hot Heap was one of several show cars represented in the original 16 Hot Wheels editions. This release is finished in Spectraflame light brown.
It was a real show car in the 1960s, and the eye-catching custom joined the Hot Wheels brand launch in our first year. However, the real Silhouette went missing in the 1980s—and has never been found! This edition is finished in Spectraflame aqua.
NOTE: This item has limited quantities and might sell out while many await the opportunity to purchase. Unfortunately, not everyone who is held in the Waiting Room is guaranteed to be able to purchase, so please be prepared.
Production cars may vary from the photos shown. Mattel reserves the right to modify the color, decorations and wheel type.
Packaging and Quantities:
- Packaged in a sturdy white box with the 50th anniversary logo; the display contains a drawer to hold the individual cars
- Each set features an individually numbered sticker (xxx/1,500)
- RLC Members (36-hour Priority Window): 11/6/18 at 9 a.m. PT until 11/7/18 at 9 p.m. PT
- HWC Account Holders (if not sold out): 11/8/18 at 9 a.m. PT
Pricing and Purchase Limits:
- Priced at $499.99 plus shipping and processing; customers shipping to Canada may be required to pay an additional shipping charge (we do offer international shipping to some countries; for the list of available countries and more shipping options and information, click here)
- Limit of ONE (1) per RLC Membership
- On 11/8/18, unless sold out, there is a limit of ONE (1) per HWC Account, and RLC Members may purchase their limit of ONE (1) if they did not do so during the Priority Window (purchase limits subject to change after RLC Priority Window)
- Rewards Points for RLC Members (per purchase): 500
- Refunds only, no exchanges