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What Makes Certain Hot Wheels Collectible, Part 1: CHILDHOOD FAVORITES

By Brad Bannach

 

Since 2001, new Hot Wheels collectors have come to the forums here on HotWheelsCollectors.com and asked: “What should I collect?” They are usually met with the same response: “Collect what you like.”

 

Why is that? 

 

Hot Wheels collectors collect for a variety of reasons. Some are automotive enthusiasts who find intrigue in adding cars to their toy garage that they could never add to their real garage. Some love recapturing the cars they had as kids. Some make it their mission to collect everything out there, while others simply collect the castings/releases/lines that appeal to them. 

 

The truth is: any Hot Wheels vehicle can be collectible. 

 

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So why do collectors flock to certain things? Why are some Hot Wheels worth more than others? 

 

In the 52 years of the Hot Wheels brand, we’ve seen some pretty crazy reasons why collectors collect what they do. This is the first article in a series of five examining some of today's popular collectible items.

 

CHILDHOOD FAVORITES

 

It all started with the Redlines. Henceforth, it is that generation of collector which established Hot Wheels collecting. Respect. Many of the Redlines collectors of today will tell you some version of a story that starts with, “I remember going to the store as a kid in 1968 and seeing these cars with this shiny, Spectraflame paint and redline wheels…” and that the performance of these cars matched the coolness factor. Whether they kept their childhood collection, or started reclaiming a portion of their youth years later, people we now know as Hot Wheels collectors found any means necessary to obtain those California Custom Miniatures they knew as a kid -- becoming the first generation of the Hot Wheels collector.

 

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Similar stories have been told throughout the toy collecting world, as it echoes a common trait among adult collectors: collecting toys that were childhood favorites.

 

There have been many examples of the nostalgia factor turning adults into collectors over the years, as the brand shifted from Redlines to Blackwalls, and Real Riders to Treasure Hunts. Even the stand-alone lines like the Sizzlers (‘70-’73), RRRumblers (‘71-’73), and Crack-Ups (‘85-’87) have niche followings.

 

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Head to any official Hot Wheels convention to chat with fellow collectors, or do it right here in the HotWheelsCollectors.com forums, and you’ll hear many great stories as to why these Hot Wheels collectors collect what they do. Every generation has its own grouping of products that existed, so...

 

What Hot Wheels are the young adults of today collecting?

 

The Hot Wheels brand has become exponentially more diverse compared to where it started in 1968 with the Redlines. The young adult collectors of today grew up in a world of multiple product lines, so there isn’t just one avenue of the brand that they collect. With that said, probably the more surprising revelation to the “traditional collector” is the interest younger collectors have taken in the AcceleRacers line.

 

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To many, that was their youth. From the four squads in the animated movies to the special co-mold wheels that adorned the vehicles, these clearly resonated with kids at the time. Collectors largely ignored the line in 2005 and 2006 before it was ultimately dropped by retailers. Now? Check the eBay “sold listings” to see the high price some of these vehicles demand on the secondary market 15 years later. 

 

Looking to complete the set and need an original Chicane or Reverb in the package? Be prepared to spend as these no longer come cheap on the open market.

 

Ultimately, it goes to show that no matter the era, Hot Wheels collectors exist at all ages. Many of those collectors collect nostalgic pieces, reminiscing of much simpler times. This is not the only reason why certain Hot Wheels are collectible, but certainly one of the more easily identifiable concepts surrounding the Hot Wheels collector. In part two we will look at Variants & Variations.

 

Which Hot Wheels do you collect for nostalgic reasons? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by BIGBADBRAD01

BIGBADBRAD01
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LarryLegend

Posted

I guess my favorite to collect is the Twin Mill.  I got the orange version as a kid from 1969 and kept all of my cars through the years.  I would've been either 3 or 4 at the time.  Of course it has some scrapes from play as a child, but it is my sentimental favorite.  Got back into Hot Wheels when my first son was born and would routinely check the aisles at retail stores, but never went out of my way.  When Hot Wheels turned 50, me and my son watched a special on TV featuring the 50th Anniversary, and I was once again hooked.  I joined the RLC for the past 2 years and don't seek every casting available, just the ones that appeal to me.  I think my favorite RLC that I have purchased was the 55 Flying Tigers Gasser.  My love of WWII history made it  a must have.  I actually painted the shark mouth on my canoe about 15 years ago and have attended a Flying Tigers reunion back about 5 years ago at the Infantry Museum in Columbus, GA.  One of the last surviving members resided in Columbus until he recent passing.  Kind of got carried away here.  Everyone stay safe and happy collecting.

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SHUFFNCARS

Posted

Great topic and narrative Brad. I'm just as curious as to why certain eras/series/ cars/ castings are demanding such big buck$ Myself?  I'm a muscle car guy...I was 10 in "69 and had older siblings and their friends who had all the COOL cars of the later decade and early 70's, when big motors and skimpy interiors were cheap and colors were TRIPPY...it was a 60's /70's dealership show room out front of my house everday when I got home from school....never mind the Chevy Ford and Mopar ads of the day. I still laugh at some of these ads especially dodge and plymouth...Sheriff J Higgins...LOL

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RAUH-MEN

Posted

Perhaps the most exciting thing with these little cars that has kept my interest over other hobbies is how little one needs to look to find something that speaks to them. There are so many HW product lines spanned across different eras that are like a time capsule of the culture they were created from 

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AZCoyote26

Posted

Lamborghini Countach. Ever since the opening sequence of Speed Zone, and the white camoed red Countach in Cannonball Run, been hooked! Excited for the black RLC one to come, was able to get the red one last year.

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Drpsnwbrdr

Posted

My oldest, stayed on a bookshelf for decades, survived a few, “let’s donate some of these cars” talks.
During a time when flipping was not a topic, collecting was not my thing, cars always, but real ones mostly, corvettes were not my bag either, neither was wearing gold. And I had no tracks, not one. Didn’t even google Hot Wheels till 2017, always thought the wheels could be better but never even considered customizing. 🤷‍♂️
Just don’t know, it spoke to me because I like to look at it with a sense of wonderment. 

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JayCee Squared

Posted

I definetly can relate to the Hot Wheels Acceleracers and World Race line of cars. I mean seeing Hot Wheels racing on the TV in animated form was so jaw dropping, and knowing that you could then get those was just about the coolest thing in the world.

 

Thanks for making this little post. Gives us younger guys a chance to show why we love what we love! Especially since I even cosplayed as the character in the movies and then got to see the actual Deora 2

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BIGBADBRAD01

Posted

1 hour ago, RAUH-MEN said:

Perhaps the most exciting thing with these little cars that has kept my interest over other hobbies is how little one needs to look to find something that speaks to them. There are so many HW product lines spanned across different eras that are like a time capsule of the culture they were created from 

 

Couldn't agree more. 

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BIGBADBRAD01

Posted

58 minutes ago, JCC2224 said:

I definetly can relate to the Hot Wheels Acceleracers and World Race line of cars. I mean seeing Hot Wheels racing on the TV in animated form was so jaw dropping, and knowing that you could then get those was just about the coolest thing in the world.

 

Thanks for making this little post. Gives us younger guys a chance to show why we love what we love! Especially since I even cosplayed as the character in the movies and then got to see the actual Deora 2

 

We all have things we like that are made up from the way we grew up. Its fascinating seeing the passion the younger adults have towards HWY35/AcceleRacers. Keep on collecting!

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VINKEARNS

Posted

Hot Wheels were always my escape from everyday problems when I was a child. I would play for hours & hours in my own imaginary world. When my son started to like them, it took me back and I was happy to start buying them and racing them with him. We'd play for hours & hours. I was in a new heaven.

As he got older though, he was less interested of course. Lucky for me my 3yr old daughter was now obsessed with taking his cars, and she was the one that took us to a level I never expected. She was the one who got me into collecting the way I do today. She's growing up and no longer bothers with them, but she still knows everyone we have.

Good thing my son got married, and I now have a 3 year old grandson....ah the circle of my life with my Hot Wheels continues....God Bless 

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destroyah5000

Posted

Being that I started with Hot Wheels when it was already 30 years old, I've always taken to the anniversary sets, since you guys love celebrating those. I'm very fond of the Highway 35 mini movie cars, the precursor to Acceleracers, and all those crazy decals on them. It was in fact the recent celebration of the 50th anniversary that drove me (no pun intended) to collect way more cars that year, up until today. But what really get me into Hot Wheels personally is the designs of the fantasy cars, stuff that might actually pass for looking like some future prototype, but still way too impractical to be seen on the road. It's why I love the Deora casting so much, because it WAS a prototype car that never saw assembly lines. 

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mikey56

Posted

I got hooked back when they came out with the Snake and Mongoose. I had all the first 16 cars that came out my older brother and I would play for hours on end. The snake and mongoose got me hooked I love drag racing. 63 yrs later and I still love those 2 cars. Out of all the cars made I will have to say the 55 gasser Candy Striper is my fav. Been a member since 2006, joined RLC in 2012 will try and be a RLC member till the day I pass. I love all the great cars RLC puts out. Keep the great looking car coming

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MIKE$TOY$

Posted

I collect what speaks to me and I feel like I have good taste, win win. 

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It's nice to read all these stories about collecting. I've been collecting since 2008 so not THAT long at all. I had just got of the army and with my dad passing away in 06, I needed something. I still try to find the garbage trucks every do often for my old man. 20200323_193151.jpg.26808964c9ecb2d840e7d99a7e3a5590.jpgNow in 2020, I have a basement full of stuff!!!! Zamacs, car culture,  team transport, retro entertainment, treasure hunts and sets. 

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1983

Posted (edited)

13 minutes ago, 1983 said:

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by 1983

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SAMACE26

Posted

I collect everything out there in hotwheels that I can find and that I can afford. 👍

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94Blazer

Posted

I miss some of the creative products of the late 1990's and early 2000's. I remember drooling over a "Mechanix" kit that my friend had, for example. My friend told me not too long ago that he had the "Robo Wheels" series... and who can forget the custom car maker? I also recall the "Custom Car Designer" software that came standard with the all-white VW Drag Bus. Those first couple runs of mystery cars were always cool, but I could never justify spending a hard-earned dollar just to get stuck with a Ford. 😁😉

 

I never got into the Acceleracers or World Race(?) series, which is a shame because I find them super cool now. We didn't have cable back in the day, so I wasn't able to watch the cartoons. I certainly appreciate them now. 

 

It wasn't until a few years ago when I was building a video game collection that I discovered the old Hot Wheels PC. In a perfect world, I'd find one that's broken and customize it with all-new hardware. How cool would that be? 

 

I don't recall my favorite casting as a kid. It was probably a Chevy something or another. I loved Escalades in middle school, and nowadays I claim the Super Van as my all-time favorite. 

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GRAYBEARD

Posted

I was around for the introduction of Hot Wheels. I still remember going to the hobby shop and picking a car off the spinny display. My favorite car was a green Light My Firebird. It rarely made a track run....it usually sat and watched the other cars get beat to death. I had that car until my wife and I bought our first house, then it vanished somewhere in the move. A member here....Boneshaker....found out about it, and got me a replacement at one of the conventions. I wish I had continued collecting all those years in between, but I did pick up some blackwalls and Real Riders along the way until I got back into it. This is great fun to me, and while Treasure Hunts are hard to come by these days, I still get a kick just finding a casting I like. My wife doesn't even get upset about the money I spend (no car payment size cars in my collection) because she knows there are much worse things I could be doing. I'm 60 now, and hoping I get to keep this up for at least another 20-25 years........my son can deal with finding them homes when I'm gone.

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hotwheelgrandpa

Posted

my first car was a 57 t bird purple .35 at a liquor store that was 50 years ago have not stopes since I am 86 years old and slowing down I have about 15,000 

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SEAMOORE

Posted

Looking forward to more installments on this topic...

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WHEEL63

Posted

Great start to this series Brad. I have been collecting on and off since the 70's. My main area of interest is muscle cars but I do collect anything that catches my eye.

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Great start to the series, Brad. One of my childhood favourites that I still have and I've managed to complete excluding interior variations is the Vette Van from the early 1980s Hi-Rakers series.

 

 

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Crohnenberg

Posted

I personally collect Way 2 Fast. While not one of the originals, I believe it exemplifies what a Hot Wheels is. An insane hot rod that take bares it all. Sure the Twin Mill has two engines like Way 2 Fast, but something about W2F screams hot rod more than the Twin Mill to me. From the chopped cab to the two fully exposed engines in a line. The orange paint with a checkered flag on the top drew me in as a kid and I find myself all these years later trying to slowly get each release in my collection

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Hello Everyone, recently joined this site because my Grandson is just getting into Hot Wheels. All of this brings back some great memories for me as I navigate through all of this content. In regards to the photo of the Silver #4 Mustang shown above, is that the one that was part of a cereal offer (or some sort "by mail" ordering)? If I recall, mine came protected with a purple foam protective sleeve. Is this one of the top collectibles?

 

Also, maybe someone can shed some light, I put about 40 cars in my cart (but it's not really a cart, so to speak). To acquire these vehicles, does one have to find these at the shows/events that are discussed?

 

Thanks in advance for information on this.

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I was born in the 50's and that era of cars I can link with those cars. Not to say I don't like others but the 50's produced a lot of muscle!

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