Hot Wheels Christmas Dreaming

This may be the influence of “Toy Story” talking but I was imagining what it would be like to be a Hot Wheels car hanging from the Christmas Tree. You’re safe and secure in your blister pack watching the build up of holiday festivities but deep down you can’t wait for Christmas Day to come.

Christmas6

On that day you envision running through a world of Hot Wheels tracks; going for all your worth.

Here’s my Christmas video of 2 Faster Than Ever cars…

A gold Fast Fish.

a gold Fast Fish

A silver Chrysler Firepower Concept.

and a silver Chrysler Firepower Concept

…waiting for Christmas to come.

So there you have it. Hot Wheels and Christmas. A time of anticipation and fun; especially if you’re a Hot Wheels car with big dreams.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Hot Wheels Christmas 1968 ad

Hot Wheels Christmas 1968 ad

1969 JC Penny Christmas Catalogue. Courtesy eBay.

1969 JC Penny Christmas Catalogue. Courtesy eBay.

Hot Wheels Christmas 1969 catalogue page.

Hot Wheels Christmas 1969 catalogue page.

1969 Christmas Catalogue for Montgomery Ward.

1969 Christmas Catalogue for Montgomery Ward.

 

 

Hot Wheels Christmas 1970 Catalogue page.

Hot Wheels Christmas 1970 Catalogue page.

Hallmark's 30th anniversary of Hot Wheels decoration featuring a dare-devil loop and a twin mill car.

Hallmark’s 30th anniversary of Hot Wheels decoration featuring a dare-devil loop with a Twin Mill car.

1968 - the beginning of Hot Wheels and Christmas.

1968 – the beginning of Hot Wheels and Christmas.

Team Hot Wheels and Yur-So-Fast decoration.

Team Hot Wheels and Yur-So-Fast decoration.

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.

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.

1971 Hot Wheels Track Sets Summary

1971 marked an ambitious 4th year for Hot Wheels.  Mattel introduced the Big Belter/Matchmaker, RRRumblers motorcycles and Sizzlers Fat Track.  The big promotions involved more Don Prudhomme and Tom McEwan drag racing plus Ontario Motor Speedway.

For the Hot Wheels mainline there is:

1. The Flyin’ Circus Set.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

2. The Great Getaway.  A limited production chase set sold only in Canada.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

3. The Ontario Trio with oval layout, drag strip and figure – 8 course.

Ontario Trio box art - front.

Ontario Trio box art – front.

4. The Danger-Changer 2-Pak deserves special mention because it did not show up on any sets in 1971 (with the sole exception of a single Danger-Changer in the Great Getaway set).

DC0

With Danger-Changers sitting in the track, the potential for a collision will always grab a kid’s attention.

5. The Mongoose & Snake Drag Set from the United Kingdom (Funny Cars).

UK box and contents. Courtesy eBay.

UK box and contents. Courtesy eBay.

6. The Mongoose & Snake Wild Wheelie Set (Rail Dragsters).

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

7. The Big Belter/Matchmaker & Victory Pak accessory paks let you make the same track as The Wild Wheelie Set.

BBM1

Victory Pak.

Victory Pak.

Here’s a video summary of the 1971 Hot Wheels mainline track sets.

The brand new RRRumblers motorcycles run on 5 tracks.

1. The Big Belter/Matchmaker & Victory Pak combo.

track

2. The Stunt Rider Set

1971 Stunt Rider Set - 01

3. The Daring Duo Set from the United Kingdom.

DD8

4. The Dizzy-Dare Set.

Box art - front. Canadian version.

Box art – front. Canadian version.

5. The Mean Mountain.

MM3

Here’s another video summary.  This time for the RRRumblers motorcycles.

And finally we have the 1971 Sizzlers Sets; 2 orange track sets and 3 Fat Track Sets. With 3 cars wide passing available on Fat Track, racing doesn’t get much wilder than this. Ontario Motor Speedway (OMS) played a prominent part in the first year of Fat Track.

Sizzlers sets include:

1. The High-Winder Set.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

2. The Pursuit Set – United Kingdom.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

3. The Big “O” Race Set (Fat Track). A nickname for OMS.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

2. The California 500 Race Set (Fat Track). The main open wheel event at OMS.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

3. The Super Circuit Race Set (Fat Track). This is Mattel’s biggest Hot Wheels set for 1971.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

This is a summary video of the 1971 Sizzlers track sets:

So there you have it. A summary of all the 1971 Hot Wheels track sets; including cars, RRRumblers and Sizzlers.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

 

1970 Summary and extra pics

In 1970 Mattel hit full stride with the Hot Wheels main line.  You got to see:

Super-Chargers

Super-Charger

Single-Lane Rod Runners

Rod Runner

Dual-Lane Rod Runners

DLRR

Single-Lane Speedometers

Speedometer

Dual-Lane Speedometers

Dual-lane Speedometer

Drag ‘Chutes

Drag 'Chutes

Tune-Up Towers

Tune-Up Tower

Sky Show airplanes

Sky Show

and mountain race tracks.

HH

The 1970 track set list includes:

1. Speed Test Set

2. Super-Charger Speed Test Set.

3. Super Speed Action Set.

4. Drag ‘Chute Stunt Set.

5. Mongoose & Snake Drag Race Set.

6. Twin ‘Chute Action Set (UK).

7. Rod Runner Speedway Set.

8. Dual-Lane Rod Runner Race Set.

9. Dual-Lane Rod Runner Drag Set.

10. Road Trials Set.

11. Hi-Performance Set.

12. Hazard Hill Race Set.

13. Sky Show set.

Here’s my YouTube summary of the 1970 Hot Wheels sets.

And then there is the first year run of Sizzlers: The Fastest Electric Cars in the World!

There were both single lane sets:

IMG_4361

And dual-lane sets:

DLSizzlers

1. Laguna Oval Set.

2. Atlantic Oval Set.

3. Newport Pacer Set.

4. U.S./8 Race Set.

5. California/8 Race Set.

6. Pacific/8 Race Set.

7. Dare-Devil Duel Set.

8. National Champ Race Set.

This is my YouTube video of the 1970 Sizzlers track sets.

1970…what a year!

All about fast. All about fun.

1970 tracks from Mattel's Hot Wheels Racing World magazine. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

1970 tracks from Mattel’s Hot Wheels Racing World magazine. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Large scale track set up from Mattel's Hot Wheels Racing World magazine. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Large scale track set up from Mattel’s Hot Wheels Racing World magazine. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

 

1969 Summary and Extra Pics

The track sets first released in 1969 are dominated by Super-Chargers.

1. The Double-Dare Race Action Set.

2. The Super-Charger Sprint Set.

3. The Super-Charger Double Action Set.

4. The Super-Charger Race Set.

5. The Super-Charger Rally ‘N Freeway Set.

6. The Super-Charger Grand Prix Race Set.

Here’s a video summary of the 1969 track sets that I documented on my YouTube channel.

Here are some extra pics for 1969.

Ready to go at the Double-Dare start.

1969 COPO Corvette flying around the Super-Charger Sprint Set.

Parked for lunch at the Super-Charger Double Action second floor restaurant.

Charging past the finish line on the Super-Charger Race Set.

100 laps on the Super-Charger Race Set is a long way to go.

The road is full on the Super-Charger Rally ‘N Freeway Set.

Super-Charger “Safe Driving Rules”. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Front page – 1969 Hot Wheels Collectors’ Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art – back of a Full Curve Pak showing a Super-Charger “Over ‘N Under Freeway” layout. Courtesy eBay.

Comic book ad. 7 sets available in 1969. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front of 2 Way Super-Charger. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – side of 2 Way Super-Charger. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – back of 2 Way Super-Charger. Courtesy eBay.

Hot Wheels in 1969.

Still fast. Still fun.

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.