Hot Wheels is a brand of die-cast toy cars that was launched in America by an American toy manufacturer named Mattel in the year 1968. A Die-cast toy is any toy or collectible item manufactured utilizing the die casting method. These toys are made using metal and plastic. The metal most commonly used is ZAMAK, which is an alloy of zinc and aluminum. Initially, these cars were designed to on a 1:64 scale and were used on Hot Wheels track sets. However, in 1970 a series of Hot Wheels cars were designed on a 1:43 scale. This new range of cars became adult collector series vehicles that were replicas of Formula One and NASCAR cars, which were extremely successful. The Hot Wheels logo was designed by Rick irons, a Californian Artist who worked with Mattel.
Elliot Hander, co-founder of Mattel, wanted to manufacture a range of die-cast toys for boys. He wanted to dominate the toy cars industry which was once upon a time dominated by Lesney, a British company with their Matchbox cars. Even though, Hander's executives thought it was an awful idea, the toy cars became a major success. In 1968, Mattel released nearly sixteen castings. Eleven cars were designed by Marry Bentley Bradley. The first one manufactured was an elegant dark blue Custom Camaro.
In 1968, Hot Wheels introduced the custom-built Volkswagen, which was one their first cars. Some of the other cars they released in the same year were: Beatnik Bandit which was designed by Ed Roth, Custom Barracuda, Custom Camaro, Custom Corvette, Custom Cougar, Custom Eldorado, Custom Firebird, Custom Fleetside, Custom Mustang, Custom T-Bird, Custom Volkswagen which was designed by Ira Gilford, Deora, Ford J-Car, Hot Heap, Python which was designed by Dean Jefferies, and Silhouette. All these cars had colourful paint work, bearings, redline wheels, and working suspensions.
In 1969, Twin Mill was one of the most popular and accepted Hot Wheel cars. In 1970, the famous Sizzler, the rechargeable electronic car was made. In 1985, the Hot Wheels Torino Tornado was one of the most renowned cars. In 1995, the Hot Wheel cars were differentiated into specialized series i.e. the Model Series which was later renamed First Edition, and the Treasure Hunt Series. In 2000, a new range of Hot Wheel Cars came into the market. These cars had exquisite paint jobs, and functioned like their original counterparts.
Over the years, Hot Wheel cars have not only been collected by children, but it has become a collector's item for many adults too. There have been estimates that over 41 million children have collected Hot Wheels toys throughout their childhood years, and an average collector has over 1,550 cars to his collection.
The Hot Wheel range of toys include many different kinds of tracks, accessories, different kinds of vehicles like the 'Sizzlers' the rechargeable electric cars, 'Hot Line' trains, 'R-R-Rumblers' motorcycles, and 'Hot Birds' aeroplanes, but they have always been most popular and well known for their collection of small scale free-rolling models of custom hot rods and muscles.