Hot Wheels Spin and Win

During track testing of one of my 1970 Hot Wheels Sizzlers sets, a Ford Mark IV lost control in the dual-lane Esses. The result was a full 360 degree spin. But at the end of the spin the car was pointing the right way, in the correct lane and still racing.

This reminded me of one of the great “saves” in automotive racing.

The year was 1985, the place was Indianapolis, the race was the Indy 500…

58931_1985_start

…the drivers were Mario Andretti and Danny Sullivan. Here’s what happened on lap 120.

So there you have it. 1970 Hot Wheels Sizzlers and the 1985 Indianapolis 500; two examples of “Spin and Win”. And they’re still fast. Still. fun

Sullivan passing Andretti on the front straightaway.

Sullivan passing Andretti on the front straightaway.

The Spin.

The Win.

The Win.

Front cover of the 1985 Indy 500 Yearbook.

Front cover of the 1985 Indy 500 Yearbook.

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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.

 

1971 Hot Wheels Sizzlers California 500 Race Set – part 3

As a kid, I remember combining my 1971 California 500 Layout set with my friends’ extra Fat Track straightaway pieces to build a track very similar to this:

Track2

And we had epic races.  At least, that’s the way I remember them.  More than once I would be leading the 100 lap race only to run out of power on lap 96 or so.  Invariably, I would be forced into a short pit stop and only get 2 or 3 more laps out of my car before running out of juice again. It was hard to beat my friends.

For today’s 100 lap running of the California 500 Race Set, I will be using 3 cars.

l to r: purple 1970 Ford Mark IV, yellow 1970 Angeleno M70 and a light blue 1971 Spoil Sport.

l to r: purple 1970 Ford Mark IV, yellow 1970 Angeleno M70 and a light blue 1971 Spoil Sport.

Here’s a lap around the oval.

On the "Scramble Start" starting grid.

On the “Scramble Start” starting grid.

Pushing the red button turns on all 3 cars at the same time...and "They're Off".

Pushing the red button turns on all 3 cars at the same time…and “They’re Off”.

Speeding up heading down the front straightaway.

Speeding up heading down the front straightaway.

Up and into the first curve.

Up and into the first curve.

5

Squeezing into the lap computer.

Squeezing into the lap computer.

7

You can see the black triggers for registering laps hanging down from the ceiling of the lap computer. The antenna on each car is in a different position to hit just one of those lap counter triggers on each lap.

Clicking off the first lap.

Clicking off the first lap.

Heading out of the lap computer.

Heading out of the lap computer.

Moving fast into the second curve.

Moving fast into the second curve.

Three abreast.

Three abreast.

Sailing past the Scramble Start.

Sailing past the Scramble Start.

Anything can happen over the next 99 laps.

Anything can happen over the next 99 laps.

Here’s my YouTube video of the California 500 Race Set in action.

So there you have it. The 1971 Hot Wheels Sizzlers California 500 Race Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

1971 Hot Wheels Sizzlers California 500 Race Set – instructions (part 2)

Poster for the real California 500 race. Courtesy eBay.

Poster for the real California 500 race. Courtesy eBay.

Here are the instructions for the California 500 Race Set.

Inst1

Courtesy eBay.

Courtesy eBay.

Steps 1 -6. Courtesy eBay.

Steps 7-13. Courtesy eBay.

Steps 7-13. Courtesy eBay.

To give you more detail, here are some additional instructions of the track components.

1. The Scramble Start

1

2

3

4

5

2. The Strip Pak

6

7

8

9

10

3. The Lap Computer

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

Supplemental sheet for the Lap Computer.

So there you have it.  Instructions for the Hot Wheels Sizzlers California 500 Race Set and it’s components.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

And to round things out, here are the program covers from the first 4 California 500 races held at Ontario Motor Speedway.

1970 California 500.

1970 California 500. Courtesy http://www.progcovers.com/motor/onatrio.html

1971 California 500, It's a bit of irony that Al Unser graced the cover of the program in his Johnny Lightning Special while Hot Wheels was selling the 1971 California 500 Race Set.

1971 California 500, It’s a bit of irony that Al Unser graced the cover of the 1971 program in his Johnny Lightning Special while Hot Wheels was selling the 1971 California 500 Race Set. Courtesy http://www.progcovers.com/motor/onatrio.html

1972 California 500. Courtesy www.progcovers.com/motor/onatrio.html

1972 California 500. Courtesy http://www.progcovers.com/motor/onatrio.html

1973 California 500.

1973 California 500. Courtesy http://www.progcovers.com/motor/onatrio.html

 

 

1971 Hot Wheels Sizzlers California 500 Race Set – introduction (part 1)

The California 500 (named after the open wheel USAC race at Ontario Motor Speedway) is an oval Fat Track layout for Mattel’s Hot Wheels Sizzlers.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

This poster promoted the connection between the California 500 and Hot Wheels.

California 500 poster from Mattel. Courtesy eBay.

California 500 poster from Mattel. Courtesy eBay.

500-8

This 1971 set has two nice features to make racing easier; the Scramble Start and the 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.

Setting 2, 3 or 4 cars off at the same time is a bit of a circus so Mattel came up with the Scramble Start. It employs the principle used by Europe’s Formula 1 series where cars begin each race from a standing start. Just push the red button and all 4 cars are turned on. Release the button and away the cars go!

Box art- front. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art- front. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art - back. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art – back. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Action is so intense on Fat Track and the speed so high that it is hard to keep track of what is going on in a race.  To put a bit of order into the situation Mattel developed the Lap Computer which can count 100 laps for 4 separate cars. Each car receives an antenna on its back bumper that triggers a specific lap counter for that antenna position.

This Sizzlers set includes: 10 feet of black Fat Track, 2 – 180 degree Fat Track curves, 1 Scramble Start, 1 Lap Computer, 3 joiners, 2 V-clips and 1 Juice Machine.

Track1

To add a little extra passing action, I am adding a Fat Track Strip Pak to the layout.  This puts 8 more feet of black Fat Track into the oval.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - back. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – back. Courtesy eBay.

The result is this track.

Track2

So there you have it. An introduction to the 1971 Hot Wheels Sizzlers California 500 Race Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

The California 500 Race Set. 1971 Collectors' Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

The California 500 Race Set. 1971 Collectors’ Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art - front. Close-up. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Close-up. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - side. Close-up. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – side. Close-up. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - back. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – back. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - end. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – end. Courtesy eBay.

And here are some pictures of the California 500 Layout set (Cars & Juice Machine not included).

The California 500 Layout. 1971 Collectors' Catalogue.  Copyright Mattel, Inc.

The California 500 Layout. 1971 Collectors’ Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Box art - front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – front. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - side. Close-up. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – side. Close-up. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - end. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – end. Courtesy eBay.

Fat Track accessories. 1971 Collectors' Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Fat Track accessories. 1971 Collectors’ Catalogue. Copyright Mattel, Inc.