A few weeks ago, I went looking for a Hot Wheels Super-Charger. Easiest place to find one? It’s gotta be eBay. Getting a good one? How hard can it be?
A promising looking machine was listed for the reasonable price of $18 plus shipping. Seemed nice. Hopefully it had been well looked after. And the icing on the cake…the ad stated, “It works!” Sweet.
When the Super-Charger arrived it looked like a good buy. The stickers were in good condition, the housing was intact, and the battery area had it’s little door. How good is that!
It looks good!
I put batteries in and fired it up. Yup. It worked as advertised. But…the howling squeal from the electric drive motor was akin to finger nails on a chalk board. Turn it off! Turn it off!
Whew! Peace and quiet. That’s better. I suspect there is no useful lubrication getting to the internal workings of the drive motor any more.
So…what do you do? Send it back? Shipping costs make that unreasonable. A lot of times returns are not accepted. Keep using it? Maybe you get use to the racket after a while. But how would you hear yourself think? What about opening it up? There is a video on YouTube of a Super-Charger that was opened, had a transformer installed, and now runs on plug-in electricity. It must be possible to look inside.
Turns out it is possible…but not advisable. Mattel never meant for these things to be serviced. Super-Chargers are sealed with glue around all the edges where the roof meets the walls. A knowledgable person might know how to get inside without causing a lot of damage, but I don’t. Working with a used dental pick and some thin wedges, I was able to, eventually, get the roof off. But it wasn’t a clean job and the roof took a beating.
Still…the inside of a Super-Charger is now ready for inspection. With the roof off, here’s what’s inside:
Let’s start with a closer look at the throttle and rheostat. The rheostat is a metal coil (looks like a fine thread screw). When the throttle is moved, the metal slider attached to it also moves up and down the rheostat. This changes electrical resistance and alters the amount of current reaching the electric motor. As the throttle is moved to the “faster” mark, the metal slider moves closer to the electric motor, electricity has less distance to cover so resistance goes down, more current flows to the motor and the motor spins faster.
Throttle with attached metal arm to slide along the rheostat.
Rheostat attached to electric drive motor and it’s little drive wheel.
The little drive wheel in the foreground is running the two big wheels.
The big wheels with their foam covers propel the Hot Wheels car onto the track.
One big wheel out for a side view.
Both big wheels out.
Now everything is out. Only the battery housing in the foreground is left.
This little electric motor is running this big, old Super-Charger.
Out of the house and lined up.
Oiling the electric motor shaft helped, but it was still abnormal.
What was my final solution?
Admit defeat, write a blog, make a video and buy another one naturally.
Here’s my YouTube channel showing the inside of a running Super-Charger.
So…my next purchase came from North Tonawanda, New York. Here it is:
And this time…success. Great condition, starts right up, runs smooth, and no tired squealing components. Booyah!
So there you have it. The 1969 Hot Wheels Super-Charger.
It’s still fast! Still fun!
From 1969 Collectors’ Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.
Box art – front.
Box art – back. The electric motor is “Made in Japan”. Everything else is “Made in the USA”.
Box art – side.
Box art – flap.
German Super-Charger: box art – front. Courtesy eBay.
German Super-Charger: box art – side. Courtesy eBay.
German Super-Charger: Box art – back. Courtesy eBay.