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.
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.
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.
The 1970 Display is a ‘Multi-Mural’ diorama with a white curved sloping track.
The first three murals, from left to right, show a Spoiler style car, a heavyweight vehicle and a race car.
The last mural on the right reveals the open road for Hot Wheels to travel on.
Also, for 1970, Hot Wheels was going ‘head-to-head’ with Matchbox so in England a special store display was used.
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…
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.
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