More than 16 cars are sold every second. But what does it take to make a classic little bike?
When Was Hot Wheels Made
Small cars are big business. While Toyota was busy celebrating its status as the world’s largest car company with sales of 9.5 million cars in 2020, Hot Wheels, the maker of micro-machines littering living rooms around the world, has already passed the 500 million mark. . Starting in California in 1968, Hot Wheels has continued its flaming red and yellow logo in the minds of millions of children, adults and collectors. More than six billion pocket cars have been produced since Elliott Handler, Ruth Handler and Harold Matson founded their parent company Mattel; The Hot Wheels range now exceeds 20,000.
Hot Wheels Uses 3d Printing To Miniaturize Real Life Custom Cars
“We call ourselves the greatest car manufacturer in the world,” laughs Ted Wu, Mattel’s vice president of design for Hot Wheels, from his Los Angeles office. “Over 16 Hot Wheels cars are sold every second, and I think the key to our success is variety and freshness.”
“We have a number of really cool vehicles like the toilet seat on wheels or the giant rubber duck, but there are also designs that follow the shape of the actual vehicle,” he explains, looking over the many models in his line. office shelves. With degrees in business economics and visual arts from Brown University, Wu studied animation and illustration before joining Mattel in 2003. From there, the car enthusiast went on to work in Toy Story and Disney Pixar.
“We have an incredibly talented group of designers from the transportation industry,” says Wu. “Many of them have worked at real car manufacturers like the big three and many have experience in graphic design, if not transport design.
“Hot Wheels is a pretty good creative outlet because if you work at a real car company, you might get stuck designing a door handle or a radio handle. But here we make 130 new car designs a year. It’s great to see your work come to life and go out into the world – it’s so beautiful.”
Mutant Machines Rattle Roller
Beginning with a single dark blue Chevrolet Camaro Custom that first rolled off the line in 1968, the Hot Wheels model line quickly evolved into what is now known as the “Original Sweet Sixteen.” The collection reflected the custom, hot rod and muscle car scene of the era with deep luscious colors, lots of chrome and engines that popped out of the hood. The cars came with “up to 30 tracks and special accessories, so you can race or do stunts,” according to the brand’s original marketing material. Since then, the range of cars produced has expanded significantly, reflecting both the custom scene and the consumer car market around the world. From 16 models in 1968 to over 20,000 in 2022, the Hot Wheels product portfolio shows no signs of slowing down. To keep the new cars coming, Wu and his team of designers monitor cultural trends in the automotive community to help decide what the next batch of models will be each year. “It starts with looking at the culture, and that’s where Hot Wheels was born, from the mainstream car culture in California,” Wu says.
“It’s one of those complex math problems we have to solve every year,” laughs the head of design. “There’s a lot of science involved.” “We talk a lot about silhouettes, colors and what the right recreational vehicles are right now.” Since the brand launched its Car Culture line in 2016, with a metal chassis, more realistic tires and more detail, Hot Wheels has miniaturized everything from realistic exotic supercars to modern classics and underground tuning community cars from around the world. Going from strength to strength in recent years, the brand has built on the cultural capital it has acquired and launched collaborations with luxury moguls such as Gucci and IWC Watches to broaden its appeal beyond the car collector community. Unsurprisingly, the limited edition models sell quickly and at high prices, with their replica Gucci Cadillac Sevilla now fetching between £300 and £350 on the second-hand market.
Once the year’s styles and scenes are chosen, Wu’s team gets to work and begins sketching out their ideas while entering into confidential discussions with car companies about models based on the reality of the production cars of the future.
Hot Wheels is a creative outlet… we make 130 new car designs a year Ted Wu, Vice President of Design, Mattel Hot Wheels
Hot Wheels Background Stock Photos, Images & Photography
After narrowing down the ideas, the successful ones go through the important phase of sculpting and scaling. Unlike the traditional automaker, which uses all-clay models to perfect its designs, Wu’s method is more technology-based. Using 3D modeling software, designers can sculpt a virtual representation of their design outdoors with pens for feedback before the file is sent to a rapid prototyping tray to be printed onto a physical structure in hours.
“When something is translated to 1:64 scale, it doesn’t work like scaling it down 64 times because the car doesn’t look quite right; the emotions that the car evokes are not present,” Wu insists. “So there’s a little bit of push and pull, like making the fenders stick out a little more, or making the stance more aggressive, and maybe making the wheels a little bigger.”
While the design and proportions of the car are perfected, the teams work on the paint and trim, giving each model its own color characteristics. Once resolved, it’s off to the factory before starting the process again – 129 more times over the course of the year.
Now the brand is more than half a century old with a multi-generational following, after young collectors began to reverse the process and remove their vehicles to be part of the Hot Wheels line. “We wanted to do something that celebrated the legacy of Hot Wheels and also connected us to our automotive roots and our own automotive culture,” says Wu, explaining how they created the Hot Wheels Legends Tour 2018 competition to celebrate the 50th anniversary.
Top 10 Most Valuable Hot Wheels Cars
“We started out going around the US and doing car shows, but what comes across with Hot Wheels cars is that you have an eclectic group of vehicles – nowhere else will you see a Bugatti next to a car that looks like a giant chicken!”
Looking for a show hook, they decided to immortalize the winning car in 1:64 scale, ushering in a wave of automakers looking for a chance to scale back and reproduce their pride and joy. “Four years later, we’ve continued to expand the show and make it grow. Every car we pick has a really cool story about how it was made. The spirit of the garage is central to what Hot Wheels is all about. For more than five decades, Hot Wheels has provided adrenaline-filled vehicle play that ignites the challenging spirit in every child with the most amazing and innovative cars and track systems. Hot Wheels was born when Mattel co-founder Elliott Handler (left, with his wife and Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler) challenged his design team, which included a General Motors car designer and a rocket scientist, to create cooler toy car. and better than anything on the market. They responded with the first trackable toy car.
Handler was so impressed with the car’s revolutionary new design and performance that his first response when he saw it rolling on the ground was:
Soon deals were struck to recreate the muscle cars of the big three manufacturers, with patented independent suspension to complement the fast wheel design.
On This Day
The Hot Wheels® Custom Camaro® (shown at right) hit shelves in May 1968. 15 more 1:64 scale machines followed soon after. This first edition car became known as the “Sweet 16”, now among the most valuable and collectible toy vehicles ever made.
Challenge has always been at the core of Hot Wheels gameplay. How fast can I go? Will I make the leap? Will the car go through the loop? These are just some of the thoughts that go through children’s minds when they play with Hot Wheels.
Hot Wheels believes the challenges the brand provides through competition, creativity and experimentation help kids build the skills and confidence they need to take on the world.
Much more than a toy, the brand has become a thriving multi-channel gaming franchise and experience. It has become a true lifestyle brand with segments in gaming, digital platforms, automotive partnerships, licensed apparel and merchandise.
Hot Wheels Made In The Usa Boxcar
Now in its 50th year, the Hot Wheels die-cast car is the world’s best-selling toy* with 16.5 Hot Wheels sold every second.
* Assortment of basic Hot Wheels cars