1968 Hot Wheels Full Curve Drag Set

The 180 degree full curve was sold as an accessory beginning in 1968.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

1968 box art - back. Courtesy eBay.

1968 box art – back. Courtesy eBay.

1969 box art- back. Courtesy eBay.

1969 box art- back. Courtesy eBay.

Today I am building a custom track using 4 full curves.

Here’s the start:

Full Curve 15

The middle section of the track:

Full Curve 16

And the finish:

Full Curve 17

Now for a run through the track.

Rivited and Maximum Leeway at the start.

Rivited and Maximum Leeway at the start.

They're OFF!

They’re OFF!

Racing across the upper deck of the double decker track.

Racing across the upper deck of the double decker track.

Into the first set of full curves.

Into the first set of full curves.

Charging down the elevated track.

Charging down the elevated track.

Rounding the second set of full curves.

Rounding the second set of full curves.

On the lower deck.

On the lower deck.

Heading for the flag!

Heading for the flag!

Across the finish. A close race!

Across the finish. A close race!

Using these 4 cars…

l to r: blue Maximum Leeway, red Impavido 1, chrome Rivited and plum Teegray.

l to r: blue Maximum Leeway, red Impavido 1, chrome Rivited and plum Teegray.

…here’s my video of this track in action.

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

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Original European full curve with Dutch language on one side. Courtesy eBay.

Original European full curve with Dutch language on one side. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up of Dutch language. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up of Dutch language. Courtesy eBay.

Original European full curve with Danish language on the other side. Courtesy eBay.

Original European full curve in Danish language. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up of Danish language side. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up of Danish language side. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up of European full curve artwork. Courtesy eBay.

Close-up of European full curve artwork. Courtesy eBay.

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1968 Hot Wheels Hot Curves Race Action Set: Junglenationals

The NHRA (National Hod Rod Association) is the primary organizational body that oversees drag racing. The NHRA Nationals are the premiere events in drag racing that showcase the best cars and drivers; producing the quickest times and fastest speeds.

NHRA logo.

NHRA logo.

The Gatornationals, in Gainesville, Florida, is the traditional East Coast opener for the NHRA season. It was first held in 1970.

Jungle2

It’s logo shows an alligator racing on wheels while holding a steering wheel.

Jungle3

In keeping with this theme, I am running a drag race featuring Hot Wheels’ animal cars.

l to r: blue Hammer Down, chrome/green Croc Rod, red Scorpedo, and orange Sharkcruiser.

l to r: blue Hammer Down, chrome/green Croc Rod, red Scorpedo, and orange Sharkcruiser.

The track is the alternate version of the 1968 Hot Curves Race Action Set. This layout is prominently displayed in the 1969 Hot Wheels Collectors’ Catalogue.

Jungle5Here’s a run down the track.

Croc Rod & Hammer Down staged and ready to go.

Croc Rod & Hammer Down staged and ready to go.

The track ahead.

The track ahead.

Charging down the track.

Charging down the track.

Croc Rod takes the high road and Hammer Down takes the low.

Croc Rod takes the high road and Hammer Down takes the low.

Into the first curves.

Into the first curves.

Out of the half curves.

Out of the half curves.

Down the straightaway.

Down the straightaway.

Hitting the dual full curves.

Hitting the dual full curves.

Round the bend.

Round the bend.

Dropping down on the final straight.

Dropping down on the final straight.

Neck and neck!

Neck and neck!

Here comes the finish.

Here comes the finish.

And this is a video of the Junglenationals.

So there you have it. The NHRA style Junglenationals run on the alternate version of the 1968 Hot Wheels Hot Curves Race Action Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

 

1968 Hot Wheels Daredevil Loops

For those of us who, in early 1967, could do no better than push our diecast cars along the floor…the thought of running a loop was inconceivable.  But the release of the 1968 Hot Wheels lineup changed everything.  When Hot Wheels arrived on the scene, our days of “pushing” were over.

The Daredevil Loop was mind blowing.

Box art - front.

Box art – front.

It was hard to imagine that this was possible.

Box art - front. Close-up.

Box art – front. Close-up.

We would stare at the back of the box in disbelief. But there it was, a picture of a kid setting off a car that would run the track…including the loop…all by itself. Simply amazing!

Box art - back.

Box art – back.

Right off the bat, the loops came in sets. 1968 saw the Stunt Action Set. A single lane track with one loop.

Box art - side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – side. Courtesy eBay.

The following year brought the 1969 Double-Dare Race Action Set. A dual-lane track with one loop in each lane.

A complete Double-Dare Race Action Set. Courtesy eBay.

A complete Double-Dare Race Action Set. Courtesy eBay.

Over the years loops have become a staple in Hot Wheels’ offerings.

Single-lane loop & chute set.

Single-lane Loop & Chute set. Courtesy eBay.

Snake Mountain Challenge. Courtesy eBay.

Snake Mountain Challenge. Courtesy eBay.

loop17

Loop & Launch Mega Pak. Courtesy eBay.

Mongoose & Snake Drag Race Set.

Mongoose & Snake Drag Race Set.

Loop & Splash Set. Courtesy eBay.

Loop & Splash Set. Courtesy eBay.

But it did not stop there. Ultimately, we saw the Double Loop Launch Set with 2 loops, back to back, in a single lane.

loop7

And then there was the Thrill Drivers Corkskrew Set. A dual-lane drag set with 2 loops in each lane.

loop3

Without question, Mattel’s Hot Wheels is king of the loops.  At least that’s what I thought until I saw this on eBay recently.

loop8

A single lane triple loop track from 1970 by Johnny Lightning. The Ricochet series involves tracks where the cars are launched in one direction and then returned in the opposite direction by a second launcher at the other end.

loop9

The other thing that caught my eye is the caption, “Beats them all”! Can a Hot Wheels car do a triple loop? Time to find out.

So there you have it. The 1968 Hot Wheels Daredevil Loop accessory.  The beginning of fast moving diecast cars that could do anything.

And it’s still fast. Still fun.

Box art - end

Box art – end

Box art - side.

Box art – side.

Accessory Paks from the 1969 Hot Wheels Collectors' Catalogue.

Accessory Paks from the 1969 Hot Wheels Collectors’ Catalogue.

Wallpaper from the Hot Wheels collectors.com website. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Wallpaper from the Hot Wheels collectors.com website. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Poster for Thrill Drivers Corkscrew Set. Courtesy eBay.

Poster for Thrill Drivers Corkscrew Set. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - side. Thrill Drivers Corkscrew Race Set. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – side. Thrill Drivers Corkscrew Race Set. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - back. Thrill Drivers Corkscrew Set. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – back. Thrill Drivers Corkscrew Set. Courtesy eBay.

1968 Summary and extra pics

Mattel’s 1968 Hot Wheels track sets are all gravity powered and include:

1. Strip Action Set

2. Stunt Action Set

3. Drag Race Action Set

4. Hot Curves Race Action Set

This is my summary video for these 4 Action Sets.

And here are a few extra pics of the 1968 sets:

Cars that I used for my Strip Action Set video and blog.

Daredevil loop from Stunt Action Set.

Trestle hill from Stunt Action Set.

Mid air jump from Stunt Action Set.

Out of the jump from Stunt Action Set.

From the Drag Race Action Set.

From the Drag Race Action Set.

From the Drag Race Action Set.

From the Drag Race Action Set.

On the 90 degree curves in the Hot Curves Race Action Set.

Dodge Challenger SRT8 in focus.

2007 Ford Shelby GT500 in focus.

Out of the 180s and flat out to the finish.

Finish line on the Hot Curves Race Action Set.

The 1968 Hot Wheels track sets.

They are still fast.  Still fun.

1968 Hot Wheels Hot Curves Race Action Set

The big track set for 1968 is the Hot Curves Race Action Set.  Each car has to deal with 16 feet of orange track, a 90 degree half curve and a 180 degree full curve.  I find the most interesting feature of this set involves splitting up the cars through the mid portion of the track.  This adds an element of suspense as each car speeds along on its own.  “Who is ahead?” Then, just before the finish gate, both cars are brought back together for a head to head finale.

Hot Curves Race Action set box art – side: close up.

The set includes 32 feet of orange track, 12 joiners, one universal clamp, one start gate, one finish gate, 6 trestles,  two 90 degree half curves, and two 180 degree full curves.

The set up is a little more involved, so it helps to pay attention to the instructions.

Front Page on instruction sheet. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Back Page of instruction sheet. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Ready to go…

They’re off…

Splitting up at the 90s…

Racing into the 180s…

Coming back together…

Flat out to the finish!

There you have it.  Drag racing with a twist (so to speak).

The 1968 Hot Wheels Hot Curves Race Action Set.

It’s still fast.  Still fun.

Here is a link to my YouTube channel: 

From the 1968 Collectors’ Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Here’s another way to set up the track.

From the 1969 Collectors’ Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art – front.

Box art – back.

Box art – side. Same for both US and Canadian boxes.

Box art – side. US boxes have clear windows that let you see which cars are included with the set. So, you get this great art on the box side.

Box art – side. Canadian boxes with no clear window to show which cars come with the set. Instead, the included cars are marked on the side.

Box art – end.

1968 Hot Wheels Drag Race Action Set

The Muscle Car era had been building rapidly in the sixties.  So when it came time to design a race track for the new Hot Wheels cars, a drag race set was an obvious inclusion.

Close up of 1968 Drag Race Set box art.

The 1968 Hot Wheels Drag Race Action Set track components include 30 feet of orange track, 14 joiners, one universal clamp, one starting gate, one finish gate, and one elimination lane merger.

Here’s the instructions:

It is easy to set up and I can remember spending entire afternoons racing cars with friends.

Ready, set….

Go!!!

Stretch it, stretch it….

The winner!!!

On other occasions, tight races always turned into crash events at the elimination lane merger.

So there you have it.  The 1968 Hot Wheels Drag Race Action Set.

It’s still fast! Still fun!

Here is a video link to my YouTube Channel:

“From 1968 Collectors’ Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.”

Box art – front.

Box art - front. This is an early run 1968 box where Mattel used stickers for the cars contained inside. In this case an orange "Custom Chevrolet Fleetside" and a lime "Custom Mercury Cougar".

Box art – front. This is an early run 1968 box where Mattel used stickers for the cars contained inside. In this case an orange “Custom Chevrolet Fleetside” and a lime “Custom Mercury Cougar”.

Another early run box with a Custom Camaro and a Custom Mustang. Courtesy eBay.

Another early run box with a Custom Camaro and a Custom Mustang. Courtesy eBay.

Box art -side.

Box art – side.

Box art – back.

Box art – end.

“Picture of a Drag Race Set on the back of a 1969 Competition Pak.”

The Italian version. Front box art. Courtesy eBay.

The Italian version. Back box art. Courtesy eBay.

1968 Hot Wheels Stunt Action Set

Covering distance with speed was the focus of the 1968 Strip Action Set, the Drag Race Action Set and the Hot Curves Race Action Set.  Straight forward and to the point.  But Mattel did one more thing in 1968.

They came up with a way to stretch every kids imagination.  Mattel devised a track with a 360 degree loop, a mid section hill, and a jump ramp.  Any one of these track components would have been a hand full for other die cast cars of the time.  But putting all three together in one set had, heretofore, been an impossiblity.  Could even a Hot Wheels car do it?

Track components of the 1968 Stunt Action Set

Those of us who tended not to follow guidelines, took a good, long look at the instruction sheet just to verify that this was for real.

Stunt Action Set instructions – Front Page

“Stunt Action Set instructions – Back Page”

The moment of truth.  The car is at the start.

Powers through the loop.

Hits the apex of the trestle hill.

Jumps a wide ramp.

And…just like in the Strip Action Set…the Hot Wheels car doesn’t just make it to the end, but shoots off the orange track ready to do more.

Wow!  That’s what most of us said the first time we saw it done.

Wow! is right.  The 1968 Hot Wheels Stunt Action Set.

Still fast, still fun.

Here is the link to my YouTube Channel video:

1968 Collectors’ Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

From the 1969 Collectors’ Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Comic book ad from 1968 featuring the Stunt Action Set on top.

A Stunt Action Set box and track contents. Courtesy eBay

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - back. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – back. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - end. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – end. Courtesy eBay.