In January 1945, while World War II still raged, Elliot and Ruth Handler joined a partner, Harold “Matt” Matson, to start a company in the Handlers’ garage in Los Angeles. Matson and Elliot combined their nicknames to come up with Mattel Creations. The young company produced picture frames, later adding dollhouse furniture made from the resulting picture-frame scrap. Health problems forced Matson to sell his shares to the Handlers, who kept the name and focused on toys. In 1947, the company's first hit was the Uke-A-Doodle, a child-size ukulele. Later, we'll see how a musical instrument would ultimately contribute to the success of car enthusiasts' favorite Mattel toys: Hot Wheels diecast model cars.
How successful? More than 4 billion sold to date, which makes it the best-selling toy car in history. It wasn't Mattel's first big hit, though.
Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/uncategorized/what-put-the-hot-in-hot-wheels/
I collected and cherished Hot Wheels cars and accessories in the 60's. My brother and I would race them around the so carefully laid out orange tracks making guttural engine sounds. The difference today is the Hot Wheels I buy are not only considerably more expensive, they also make a whole lot more noise!
It was a famous mid-60s show truck. Sad that it's nearly impossible to figure out how to post a pic, or I would share it here.
I'm VERY disappointed with the comments format. Will probably drop stopping by here as a result.
I have a 1972 Gran Torino sport that I ordered and purchased new. Since then the only scale model that I ever found was the green hot wheels car they brought out after Clint Eastwood's movie.
I was 10 when those cars came out. Thought I could make them faster on my gravity powered orange track. Put a drop of penetrating oil on each wheel. Man they were fast ! A few days later all of the tires cracked and fell off. 😕 I was disappointed but undeterred. Didn’t have any money so I bent the axles enough to get the Delrin bushings to touch the track and they we’re still fast! Needless to say, when I got older I threw those poor old cars away. While gone to college my mom threw the track away. Wish I still had them. Great fun!
Thanks for the reminder!
How cool, I remember when Hot Wheels came out - I was solidly into Matchbox cars, a card-carrying club member. I remember my friends and I thought they looked cheap compared to our Matchbox cars, but boys even a couple of years younger seemingly instantly gravitated towards the Hot Wheels cars. What company came up with the attempted competitor, Johnny Lightning?
Also, Bild Lilli. And The Who's Pictures of Lily. Coincidence?
I worked at Mattel building proto t ypes when Hot Wheels was started. The correct term is "MUSIC WIRE", which is used in pianos, guitars, & ? Music wire comes in many diameters. We used it to make springs :& etc. I might mention that I worked with Harry, great guy.
As a nine year old boy when Hot Wheels premiered, I was squarely in their target wheelhouse and boy did it work. I had a starter set that bolted to a table top using gravity for the motion of the cars and included a loop and a jump. I recall getting different cars and using needle nose pliers to 'align' the wheels for faster running. But the day the superchargers came out was a deal changer. these 'houses' with rotating rubber sides to propel the cars out at adjustable speeds and high banked curves were a whole different ball game. Even my younger brother who has never cared one bit about cars, and still doesn't, loved those sets. And the track was great for whipping your younger brother with, but that's a different story.
Hot wheels just keep marching on. I was born in 67, so there's not a time I can recall when I wasn't making my vroom vroom engine noises pushing my hot wheels all around the back seat while on family outings. Most of my original play cars are long since deceased, but my collection numbers about 10k. I have 7 of the original sweet 16 and always on the lookout for the rest. I don't pay godawful prices online for them. Not as much fun as scoring those elusive redlines at garage sales and friends old stored toys.
I was 17 years old when the redlines came out, but I had 3 younger brothers who
loved Hot Wheels. They had tracks all over the house. Elevated start lines from every
table. When Mom had enough she would reach for her favorite whipping instrument.
Hot Wheels track.
My brothers always thought I was a nice older brother buying them stacks of tracks.
I was just making the tracks handy and within reach for Mom.
I guess it’s about time to tell them.
I've often wondered how model cars were made before computers and CNC machines.
They used a very old device called a pantograph. Used to scale a model up or down.
Here's one from the 60's in action.
I have a few thousand Hot Wheels from when I was a kid to now Fifty years old.
I have just recently started to place my Hot Wheels that are in their original packaging in between of the joists or my newly built garage. This allows me to be able to admire their beauty and design as I work on my classic Plymouth Volare'.
Thank you so much for the five decades worth of fun!!
I still have a bunch of the 1968 Hot Wheels with working suspension. The wheels with 'hub caps' never made production...a small Delrin cap on the inside of the wheel did. I also was a Hot Wheels tester back in 1968.......collected ever since.