The Making of a Legend


The miniature toy car market prior to 1968 had been dominated by Matchbox, Corgi, and Dinky Toys amongst other manufacturers. While their size and detail may have varied between companies the theme stayed the same. They all focused on normal from-life vehicles that in reality were rather mundane. Yes, Matchbox had fastback Mustangs and Corgi awesome James Bond Aston Martins but they did not stretch the imagination. Breaking that barrier is what made Mattel’s Hot Wheels one of the most successful toy brands still adored and seriously collected today.

1968 introduced the first wave of Hot Wheels to the world creating an instant sensation. Commonly referred to as the “Sweet 16”, the first wave offered sixteen different cars finished with vibrant metallic Spectraflame paint. The other identifying feature to the original series of Hot Wheels is their iconic redline tires. The term commonly used by collectors and dealers today in the trade to describe the original cars. If you’re reading this and have Hot Wheels at home remember, redlines are king.

The original series of redline Hot Wheels range from 1968 to 1977 and are the hottest thing going for the Hot Wheels market. When it comes to their collectability even in loose played with condition, they are valuable. Recently at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers we handled a large estate grouping of vintage Hot Wheels. They were played with and heavily loved, but original none the less. When sold in large groups with several vehicles missing wheels, hoods, or just missing a ton of paint they average $15.00 a car. If you have a rare color combo variant then it would be worth considerably more. Hot Wheels have been around over 50 years, they feel common place but in reality, can be worth a serious chunk of change.


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