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Hot Wheels turns 50: Getting better with age

2018-05-18 14:07

Image: Mattel

There’s something enchanting about a toddler playing with a toy car that his father owned decades ago, especially when it’s a toy car that even his grandfather played with.

This is just one of several reasons Hot Wheels® is so special: the popular die-cast vehicles and track systems have been exhilarating and challenging kids worldwide for over three generations.

A timeless classic

Today Hot Wheels® is the number one selling toy and vehicle property in the world and this year, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the brand is going into overdrive – with a campaign designed to celebrate five decades of pushing the limits of performance and design.

At the starting line are specific 50th anniversary products including: a Black & Gold Themed Assortment, Zamac Themed Assortment, a Premium Collector Favorites Assortment and a special 5 Pack – as well as distinctive 50th anniversary branding on all 2018 products in the track set range. 

This year, Hot Wheels® is also introducing Hot Wheels® City – a system of play, compatible with the others, that allows kids aged 3 to 6 to build a Hot Wheels® world. Parents can expect the infusion of stunting, jumping and looping with imagination and storytelling.

As Hot Wheels® enthusiasts already know, the ‘try, repeat’ play pattern that’s intrinsic to these die-cast toy vehicles awakens the challenger spirit in every individual – helping to boost confidence, inspire creativity, and entrench a sense of good sportsmanship in younger children, older children and lifelong Hot Wheels® collectors.

A worldwide sensation

It’s also part of the reason that over 6 billion Hot Wheels® have been produced since 1968, with more than 130 new car designs released each year in 150-plus countries. That’s 16.5 toys produced per second, across 20 000 variations.

                                                              Image: Mattel

Known to have partnered with almost every auto manufacturer in the world, it is licensed to create scale models of many full-size cars, including the use of original design blueprints and detailing.

It also has segments in digital, automobile parts, licensed apparel, merchandise, live events, the Guinness World Records and video gaming, where these cars are featured in some of the biggest games in the industry, including Forza, Need for Speed and Rocket League.

But where did Hot Wheels® come from? It emerged, as many legends do, from a challenge.

                                                                Image: Mattel

In 1968 Elliot Handler, US inventor, businessman, and co-founder of Mattel, dared his design team - a rocket scientist and a car engineer - to create a toy car that was cooler and performed better than anything else on the market, so that young boys could experience the thrill of hot rod culture.

When Handler saw the first trackable toy car, with its custom design and eye-catching paint job zipping across the floor, he said: “Those are some hot wheels!”

                                                                    Image: Mattel

Hot Wheels® have become popular with adult collectors, for whom limited-edition models are now made available, over the last 15 years. The average collector owns over 1 550 cars.

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