Hot Wheels Lap Counters

There was a strong emphasis on racing in the early years of Hot Wheels. To make it happen Mattel gave you the equipment for real competition. This includes 3 different lap counters from the first 4 years of Hot Wheels production.

It all starts off in 1969 with the single-lane Automatic Lap Counter.  You get 99 laps out of it and the return to “00” signifies lap 100.

Lap Counter 1

Lap Counter 4

Close up of activity in the observation tower.

Close up of activity in the observation tower.

For proper storage the one’s column must be on 0.

LC1

It doesn’t matter what the ten’s column is showing. If you have a lap counter that has been sitting for the past 40+ years on a number in the one’s column that isn’t zero, then you find that the ten’s column malfunctions.

Fortunately there’s a quick fix for this:

For 1970 the dual-lane Lap Counter came out. You get 20 laps counted in 2 lanes.

Box art - front.

Box art – front.

Box art - back.

Box art – back.

For proper storage the counters should both be showing “20”.

Stored with counters on the 20s.

Stored with counters on the 20s.

Anything less (and zero is the worst) means the spring mechanisms have been under tension for the past 4+ decades and will have stretched out. Then you’ll probably find that it works fine up to lap 16 or so, but the last 3 or 4 laps just won’t register.

Fixing this is problematic because you have to break into the glue-sealed case without causing major damage.

Finally, in 1971, we get the Sizzlers Lap Computer.

Box art- front. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art- front. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art - back. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art – back. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

This slick device works on Fat Track and counts 100 laps for 4 cars.  It is done by tunnelling the Sizzlers cars into a single lane where antennas on the back of each car tick off every lap for a given lane.  The triggers for counting laps are located in the ceiling of the Lap Computer tunnel. After lap 99 comes the checkered flag.

For proper storage, all lanes should be showing checkered flags.

Stored with all 4 lanes showing checkered flags.

Stored with all 4 lanes showing checkered flags.

This is much like the dual-lane lap counter because the rewind springs are in the least tension when the checkered flags are visible.  If you buy one of these that has the zeros showing, then 40+ years of storage will have stretched the springs and you will get decent counting up to lap 90 or so, but the last 10 (and certainly the last 2 or 3) laps will not register.  It’s tough to be leading a 100 lap race only to get stuck on lap 97.

Repairing these is also very difficult because you have to break into the heavily glued sides of the lap computer.

So there you have it.  Lap counters from 1969 to 1971. Let the racing begin.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Here are the instructions for each lap counter.

IMG_1250

Dual-lane Lap Counter instructions - Step 1.

Dual-lane Lap Counter instructions – Step 1.

Steps 2 & 3.

Steps 2 & 3.

Back of Dual-lane Lap Counter instructions.

Back of Dual-lane Lap Counter instructions.

Lap Computer - front.

Lap Computer – front.

12

Step 1.

Step 1.

Steps 2 & 3.

Steps 2 & 3.

Steps 4 & 5.

Steps 4 & 5.

Last page.

Last page.

Advertisements

1971 Hot Wheels Sizzlers track sets summary

1971 Sizzlers tracks came as 2 orange tracks and 3 black Fat Tracks.

Of the orange tracks one was for North America and one for the United Kingdom.

North America got the Highwinder Set.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - back. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – back. Courtesy eBay.

The U.K. got the Pursuit Set.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

Mustang heading up and over on the Pursuit Set track.

Mustang heading up and over on the Pursuit Set track.

The big advance for 1971 was the advent of Fat Track.  This gave Sizzlers cars room to wind up and go!  All 3 sets had an Ontario Motor Speedway theme.

First up: the Big “O” Race Set.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

Racing by the Juice Machine.

Racing by the Juice Machine.

Deep into the 180 degree Fat Track curve.

Deep into the 180 degree Fat Track curve.

The California 500 Race Set.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

Moving fast into the second curve.

Moving fast into the second curve.

And the Super Circuit Race Set.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

Jumping out of the Scramble Start.

Jumping out of the Scramble Start.

Under the overpass.

Under the overpass.

Sailing through the 180 degree curve.

Sailing through the 180 degree curve.

Up on the overpass.

Up on the overpass.

Round the 270 degree curve.

Round the 270 degree curve.

Through the last curve and back onto the straightaway.

Through the last curve and back onto the straightaway.

And when you need pit stops…

Ready to charge.

Ready to charge.

Here’s my video of the 1971 Sizzlers track sets:

In subsequent years, no Sizzlers tracks proved to be faster than the 1971 sets.

They’re still fast.  Still fun.

1970 Sizzlers Race Case

Where do you put your Hot Wheels Sizzlers cars?  In Mattel’s Sizzlers Race Case of course.

Front art work featuring a magenta Revvin' Heaven and a green Hot Head.

Front art work featuring a magenta Revvin’ Heaven and a green Hot Head.

Bottom art work.

Bottom art work.

The orange plastic mold interior provides space for a Juice Machine and 4 Sizzlers.

RC3A stretch rope keeps the cars in place.

1970 Juice Machine with 4 Sizzlers cars.

1970 Juice Machine with 4 Sizzlers cars.

Top to bottom: a yellow 1970 Boss 302 Mustang, a white 1971 Anteater, a green 1970 Hot Head and a blue 1971 Straight Scoop.

Top to bottom: a yellow 1970 Boss 302 Mustang, a white 1971 Anteater, a green 1970 Hot Head and a blue 1971 Straight Scoop.

During 2006 Mattel reissued Sizzlers and included this Race Case.

Case artwork: a white Firebird Trans-Am and a yellow Boss 302 Mustang.

Case artwork: a white Firebird Trans-Am and a yellow Boss 302 Mustang.

RC7

This time the interior has a black injected mold. The Sizzler is a green 1972 Up Roar.

This time the interior has a black injected mold. The Sizzler is a green 1972 Up Roar.

So there you have it. The 1970 Hot Wheels Sizzlers Race Case along with the 2006 reissue.

Sizzlers are… still fast. Still fun.

 

1971 Hot Wheels Sizzlers Super Circuit Race Set

The wildest set for 1971 is the Sizzlers Super Circuit Race Set. This is a track builders delight. Beside oval layouts you can make tracks with 90 degree, 180 degree and even 270 degree turns. All sorts of configurations are possible.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - back. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – back. Courtesy eBay.

This race set includes: 1 Power Pit (I’m using 1 battery powered Power Pak from the UK), 1 Scramble Start, 1 Lap Computer, 1 Squeeze-lane merger, 12 car antenna mounts, 12 antennas, 14 feet of black Fat Track, 4 – 180 degree Fat Track curves, 2 Fat Track center curve pieces, 5 joiners and 16 posts.

This is my assembled layout.

SC0

Here’s a lap around the course.

At the start: red 2006 Live Wire, yellow 1970 Angeleno M70, blue 1971 Spoil Sport and green 1970 Hot Head.

At the start: red 2006 Live Wire, yellow 1970 Angeleno M70, blue 1971 Spoil Sport and green 1970 Hot Head.

And...they're off!

And…they’re off!

Accelerating down the straightaway.

Accelerating down the straightaway.

Deep tilt into the first 180 degree curve.

Deep tilt into the first 180 degree curve.

Careening into the Lap Computer's merger lane.

Careening into the Lap Computer’s merger lane.

The Hot Head's antenna is about to hit the lane 4 trigger mechanism of the Lap Computer

The Hot Head’s antenna is about to hit the lane 4 trigger mechanism of the Lap Computer.

Into the 90 degree turn.

Into the 90 degree turn.

Flying through the overpass.

Flying through the overpass.

Screaming around the 270 degree curve.

Screaming around the 270 degree curve.

Under the overpass.

Under the overpass.

Around the last curve and back into the straightaway.

Around the last curve and back into the straightaway.

It’s a long course and the race is 100 laps.  That means several pit stops will be in order.  Since they may all come in at the same time, I’m using 4 chargers.

All 4 chargers are battery powered: (l to r) 1970 Power Pak (UK), 1970 Juice Machine, 1971 Juice Machine and another 1970 Juice Machine.

All 4 chargers are battery powered: (l to r) 1970 Power Pak (UK), 1970 Juice Machine, 1971 Juice Machine and another 1970 Juice Machine.

Here’s what can happen on a 100 lap race on the Super Circuit.

So there you have it. The 1971 Hot Wheels Sizzlers Super Circuit Race Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

1971 Collectors' Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

1971 Collectors’ Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Front page instruction for the Super Circuit Race Set. Courtesy eBay.

Front page instruction for the Super Circuit Race Set. Courtesy eBay.