Hot Wheels Store Displays

From 1968 to 1970 Mattel produced elaborate displays that were intended to showcase the Hot Wheels line-up for store customers.

This late 1968 display looks like something right out of a big car show in Los Angeles or Detroit.

Each of the “Sweet 16” cars is represented. Five of the cars have custom paint jobs just for this display. This includes a Watermelon Custom Mustang, Chocolate Brown Custom Camaro, Honey Gold Custom T-Bird, Light Blue Custom Cougar and the Ruby Red Custom Barracuda.

For 1969 three displays are offered. The first diorama shows Hot Wheels cars on a hilly coastal roadway crossing above cars that are travelling through a tunnel.

1969 Coastal hill and tunnel display. Courtesy

1969 Coastal hill and tunnel display. Courtesy http://www.hwredlines.com/menu-grp-cars/Displays/display-US-69.shtml

The second display is located in Europe, possibly Monaco, where Grand Prix race cars are being paced at the race’s start by a Maserati Mistrel. Spectators have parked their European cars nearby. A ship at water’s edge is a nice touch.

1969 European Gran Prix display. Courtesy

1969 European Gran Prix display. Courtesy http://www.redlinegrandprix.com/Redline_GP_OddsEnds.html

The third display puts us at the Daytona Motor Speedway where race cars are on the high banks of the track. In this case, spectators from a vintage car club have shown up presumably to cheer on the Classic ’57-Bird.

Close-up. Courtesy Instagram by Bruce Pascal. http://www.online-instagram.com/media/894901587630698938_1622287635

Close-up. Courtesy Instagram by Bruce Pascal. http://www.online-instagram.com/media/894901587630698938_1622287635

The 1970 Display is a ‘Multi-Mural’ diorama with a white curved sloping track.

1970 display. Courtesy

1970 display. Courtesy eBay.

The first three murals, from left to right, show a Spoiler style car, a heavyweight vehicle and a race car.

1970 display 4

Close-up left side.

The last mural on the right reveals the open road for Hot Wheels to travel on.

1970 display 3

Close-up right side.

1970 display 2

Top view – left.

1970 display 5

Top view – right.

Also, for 1970, Hot Wheels was going ‘head-to-head’ with Matchbox so in England a special store display was used.

1970 U.K. display. Courtesy

1970 U.K. display. Courtesy pinterest.com.

The English store display is an open six-tiered white grandstand made of wood.  The entire display holds 50 cars (6 rows of 8 or 9 cars each) and has a colorful backboard illustrating a Porsche 917 with the caption, “ Here’s why more Boys prefer: Hot Wheels”.  Obviously a direct challenge to Matchbox whose display looked like this…

U.K. Matchbox display. Courtesy

U.K. Matchbox display. Courtesy pinterest.com

So there you have it. A look at some of the early Hot Wheels diorama displays used in stores.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

For more information you can check out http://redlinewheels.com and look under “articles”.

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1968 Hot Wheels Hot Strip Track Set

Minimalism: Living in the simplest manner.

When it comes to minimalism with Hot Wheels track you can’t get simpler than the 1968 Hot Strip Track Pak.

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It comes with just 10 feet of orange track and 5 joiners.

Box art - front.

Box art – front.

But Mattel says you can still go racing with this Pak.

IMG_1718

Box art – side.

I’ve got a universal clamp and with 2 Hot Strip Track Paks I’ll make a drag set.

IMG_1813

For a start gate, I’ll go basic by using a pencil.

IMG_1704

And for a finish line, I’ve got checkered flag stickers to put on the end.

IMG_1707Time to go racing. Today I’m using 4 redline cars from 1968.

l to r: white Ford J-Car, blue Custom Corvette, red Beatnik Bandit and a gold Custom Camaro.

l to r: white Ford J-Car, blue Custom Corvette, red Beatnik Bandit and a gold Custom Camaro.

Here’s a drag race down the track.

Ready at the start.

Ready at the start.

Accelerating hard!

Accelerating hard!

Neck and neck down the stretch.

Neck and neck down the stretch.

It's the Beatnik Bandit at the line!

It’s the Beatnik Bandit at the line!

To see what happens when these 4 cars race, check out my YouTube video:

So there you have it. The 1968 Hot Wheels Hot Strip Track Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Here are some extra images of the Hot Strip Track Pak.

Box art - side.

Box art – side.

Box art - side.

Box art – side.

Box art - French (Canadian).

Box art – French (Canadian).

Box art - end. French (Canadian).

Box art – end. French (Canadian).

Box art.

Box art.

1968 Hot Wheels Classic Trials

The longest running motor sport event in the world is probably the Trials held in the United Kingdom.

CT12

They first began in 1901. There are three “classic trials” in the UK including: the Edinburgh Trial, the Exeter Trial and the Lands End Trial.

Unlike most motor sport, trials are about how far you can go rather than how fast you get there. In the early years of the automobile, trials were basically endurance and reliability tests for two wheel drive vehicles. Four wheel drive machines are not included.

CT2

The typical trial sets out a road course to complete (as much as 450 miles long) and has several “sections” where man and machine are put to the test. A standard challenge is hill climbing. One of the toughest hills to conquer is Simms Hill on the Exeter Trial.

CT1

The objective of a hill climb is to reach the top, of course. But the catch is, you have to do it without a single stop or back slide.

CT5

Today I’m running my own trial on 5 different layouts; each made with 1968 Hot Wheels track components. The car that travels the furthest distance on a given course gets 1 point. The second place car gets 2 points. The third gets 3 points. And the last car gathers 4 points. The car with the lowest score after 5 tracks is the winner.

Here are my 4 cars for the trial.

l to r: green '67 Pontiac Firebird 400, red '65 Mustang 2+2 Fastback, yellow '67 Chenille SS 396 and a black '71 Plymouth Road Runner.

l to r: green ’67 Pontiac Firebird 400, red ’65 Mustang 2+2 Fastback, yellow ’67 Chevelle SS 396 and a black ’71 Plymouth Road Runner.

Here are the 5 tracks.

Track 1

Track 1

Track 2

Track 2

Track 3

Track 3

Track 4

Track 4

Track 5

Track 5

To see how the cars do on this trial, check out my video on YouTube.

So there you have it. A classic trial with 1968 Hot Wheels track pieces.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

1968 Hot Wheels Dual Action Stunt Set

Back in 1968 Mattel released the single lane Stunt Action Set to give us a taste of loops and jumps.

1968 Collectors' Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

1968 Collectors’ Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

The following year, 1969, Mattel showed a TV commercial which included a dual lane drag set complete with dual loops and dual jumps.  But it wasn’t until 1976 that Mattel actually produced this set. It is called the Dual Action Stunt Set.

Box and track for the Dual Action Stunt Set. Courtesy eBay.

Box and track for the Dual Action Stunt Set. Courtesy eBay.

Here’s what this track looks like with 1968 components.

This set includes 28 feet of orange track, 2 loops, 2 jumps, 1 start gate, 1 finish gate, 1 universal clamp and 6 joiners.

This set includes 28 feet of orange track, 2 loops, 2 jumps, 1 start gate, 1 finish gate, 1 universal clamp and 6 joiners.

DASS14

Assembled.

Time for a run from start to finish.

Ready at the start.

Ready at the start.

Charging down the track.

Charging down the track.

Into the loops.

Into the loops.

Here come the jumps.

Here come the jumps.

Stretching to the finish!

Stretching to the finish!

And this race is done.

And this race is done.

These are the 4 cars that I will be using on this track.

l to r: blue Flat Out 442, green '72 Ford Gran Torino Sport, violet "84 Mustang SVO and a gold Chevy Camaro Concept.

l to r: blue Flat Out 442, green ’72 Ford Gran Torino Sport, violet ’84 Mustang SVO and a gold Chevy Camaro Concept.

To see who wins this event, check out my YouTube video.

So there you have it. A custom track, the 1968 Hot Wheels Dual Action Stunt Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Box art side and back for Dual Action Stunt Set. Courtesy eBay.

Box art side and back for 1976 Dual Action Stunt Set. Courtesy eBay.

1968 Hot Wheels Long Distance Set

“Pack the kids into the car and hit the road”.

LD12

For many of us, summer vacation road trips were a big part of growing up. And one of the classic Big Road Trips is Route 66.

First established in 1926, the “Mother Road” ran from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. That’s a distance of 2,448 miles (3,940 kms).

Historic Route 66.

Historic Route 66 map.

Although the original road has been largely supplanted by interstate highways, there is still a lot to see on what’s left of Route 66.

Museums like this one in Clinton, Oklahoma.

Museums like this one in Clinton, Oklahoma.

Restaurants like the Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas. If you can eat their 72 oz. steak in one hour...it's free.

Restaurants like the Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas. If you can eat their 72 oz. steak in one hour…it’s free.

Road side attractions like the Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, Texas.

Road side attractions like the Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, Texas.

Hotel and motels of every description.

Hotel and motels of every description.

And lots of great cafes.

And lots of great cafes.

Today I’m making a custom track; the 1968 Hot Wheels Long Distance Set.

LD11

This layout uses 46 feet or orange track,  20 joiners, 2 full curves, 2 red trestles and 1 universal clamp. Including the track and the curves, this set is nearly 50 feet long.

Here are the 8 cars that I have selected to go the distance.

l to r: a red Ford GTX1, a black '10 Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake, a yellow C6 Corvette, an orange 2005 Ford Mustang GT, a white Dodge Charger Drift, a green 24 Ours, a plum '69 Corvette, and a blue '73 Firebird Trans Am.

l to r: a red Ford GTX1, a black ’10 Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake, a yellow C6 Corvette, an orange 2005 Ford Mustang GT, a white Dodge Charger Drift, a green 24 Ours, a plum ’69 Corvette, and a blue ’73 Firebird Trans Am.

See which of these cars travelled the furthest on my YouTube video:

So there you have it. A custom track. The 1968 Hot Wheels Long Distance Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Front page image of a Hot Wheels coloring book. Now that's a road going station wagon! Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Front page image from a Hot Wheels coloring book. Now that’s a road going station wagon! Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Another coloring book front page with a Rodger Dodger on the road. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Another coloring book front page with Rodger Dodger on the road. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

1968 Hot Wheels Split Curve Drag Set

The arrival of Hot Wheels in late 1967 meant that we now had cars that could “GO”.  And putting all that “GO” to work meant the cars needed some place to run.  Thankfully, Mattel gave us track at the same time.  It came in sets and it was also offered as “Add-On Accessories”.

The "Add-On Accessories" page of the 1968 Hot Wheels Collectors' Catalogue.

The “Add-On Accessories” page of the 1968 Collectors’ Catalogue.

With this page…

Add-On Accessories from the 1968 Collectors' Catalogue.

Add-On Accessories from the 1968 Collectors’ Catalogue.

…I’m going to build a custom track.

The 1968 Hot Wheels Split Curve Drag Set.

Starting Gate.

Starting Gate.

The Split part.

The Split part.

And the Finish Gate.

And the Finish Gate.

Here’s what a race down this track looks like.

A yellow Corvette C6 and a green Corvette ZR1 at the start.

A yellow Corvette C6 and a green Corvette ZR1 at the start.

Full charge out of the gate.

Full charge out of the gate.

Blasting into the first set of half curves.

Blasting into the first set of half curves.

Way out there. Coming off the full curve.

Way out there. Coming off the full curve.

Racing back together on the second set of half curves.

Racing back together on the second set of half curves.

Who's ahead?

Who’s ahead?

Across the finish line. This race is done.

Across the finish line. This race is done.

For my YouTube video of this track, I’m going to run 4 late model Corvettes.

l to r: red 2009 Corvette Stingray Concept, green 2009 Corvette ZR1, blue 2011 Corvette Grand Sport and a yellow Corvette C6.

l to r: red 2009 Corvette Stingray Concept, green 2009 Corvette ZR1, blue 2011 Corvette Grand Sport and a yellow Corvette C6.

See which ‘Vette comes out on top in my YouTube video.

So there you have it. A custom track. The 1968 Hot Wheels Split Curve Drag Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

1968 Hot Wheels Half Curve Drag Set.

The half curve pak was first sold in 1968.  Each pak included 2 banked 90 degree curves.

Half Curve 10

Box art – front.

1968 Box art - back.

1968 Box art – back.

1969 Box art - back. Canadian version.

1969 Box art – back. Canadian version.

This time I am going to use 2 sets of Half Curve Paks and make a custom drag strip.

Gravity start.

Gravity start.

Two half curve sets. The first set adheres to some particle board to reduce track movement.

Two half curve sets. The first set adheres to some particle board to reduce track movement.

And a finish gate at the end.

And a finish gate at the end.

Here’s a run down the Half Curve drag strip.

A green 1968 COPO Camaro and a purple 1971 Dodge Demon at the start.

A green 1968 COPO Camaro and a purple 1971 Dodge Demon at the start.

They're off!

They’re off!

Hard into the first set of curves.

Hard into the first set of curves.

Racing 'round the second set of curves.

Racing ’round the second set of curves.

Charging down the final straightaway.

Charging down the final straightaway.

And the winner is.......

And the winner is…….

Check out the Half Curve Drag Set action on my YouTube site:

So there you have it. A custom track; the 1968 Hot Wheels Half Curve Drag Set. It’s still fast. Still fun.

Close-up of 1969 box art - back.

Close-up of 1969 box art – back.

Close-up of track instructions.

Close-up of track instructions.

Box art - end.

Box art – end.