1970 Hot Wheels Road Trials Set: Introduction

The 1970 Hot Wheels Road Trials Set appealed to the mechanic inside of every kid. Here was an opportunity to evaluate your car on a rolling treadmill. Use a custom tool to make wheel adjustments at the axle. And get your Hot Wheels vehicle running “faster than ever”.

Box art - front.

Box art – front.

The box art for this set is simply spectacular.

Box art - side.

Box art – side.

Five pictures tell you what this set can do.

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There are 9 different cars on the front and side of the box. Interestingly, one of these cars was not even available in 1970. For an entire year, kids would have no way of running every car they saw on the box.

Let’s take a look at the 9 cars.

Continental Mark III. Released in 1970.

Continental Mark III. Released in 1970.

Mercedes-Benz 280SL. Released 1970.

Mercedes-Benz 280SL. Released in 1970.

Shelby Turbine. Released in 1969.

Shelby Turbine. Released in 1969.

Custom AMX. Released in 1970.

Custom AMX. Released in 1970.

Custom Charger. Released in 1970.

Custom Charger. Released in 1970.

yellow Custom AMX parked by a red Classic Nomad.

yellow Custom AMX parked by a red Classic Nomad. Both released in 1970.

Lotus Turbine. Released in 1969.

Lotus Turbine. Released in 1969.

The Demon. Released in 1970.

The Demon. Released in 1970.

And then the mystery car. Do you recognize it?

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There’s no rear spoiler on it, but this is…

Olds 442

The Olds 442

It was released for only one year…1971.

from the 1981 Hot Wheels Collectors' Book. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

from the 1981 Hot Wheels Collectors’ Book. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

The catch is…if you look at the details for the Olds 442 you will see that this car was copyrighted in 1969.

1969 copyright on collectors' button.

1969 copyright on collectors’ button.

1969 copyright on Olds 442 base.

1969 copyright on Olds 442 base.

Typically, Mattel copyrights a car one year before it goes into production. That means the Olds 442 should have been sold during the 1970 model year. Certainly, the artist behind the box art for the 1970 Road Trials Set thought it would be there.

I’ve never heard an explanation for the 1 year delay in it’s store shelf appearance. That delay would be critical for the car. Because The Olds 442 was limited to one year of production, 1971, it ranks among the most desirable of Hot Wheels cars to collect.

Olds 442 racing by the Tune-Up Tower.

Olds 442 racing by the Tune-Up Tower.

You can check out my YouTube video that introduces this set here.

So there you have it. An introduction to the 1970 Hot Wheels Road Trials Set.

Making Hot Wheels still fast. Still fun.

Box art - side.

Box art – side.

Box art - back.

Box art – back.

Box art - end.

Box art – end.

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1968 Hot Wheels Custom Corvette Tune Up

It was 1968 when Hot Wheels introduced the world to speed and fun for diecast cars. And you know there was a lot of speed and a ton of fun just by the way some Hot Wheels looked.

1968 red Custom Corvette.

1968 red Custom Corvette.

Trouble is, these heavily used cars had lost most of their get up and go!

Crashin' in the loops.

Crashin’ in the loops.

Calling for a tow.

Calling for a tow.

What’s needed to get some of that zip back? How about a 1970 Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower with track…

The layout including a 1969 Double-Dare Race Action Set.

The layout including a 1969 Double-Dare Race Action Set.

…and some wrenching that includes a little axle cleaning, straightening and lubing plus a brand new set of tires.

Up on the hoist.

Up on the hoist.

Putting the Tune-Up Wrench to work.

Putting the Tune-Up Wrench to work.

Picking up new tires.

Picking up new tires.

Hauling back to the Tune-Up Tower.

Hauling back to the Tune-Up Tower.

Putting it all together.

Putting it all together.

Getting that final tune up check.

Getting that final tune up check.

Hitting the drag strip.

Hitting the drag strip.

Running hard again!

Running hard again!

Here’s how the 1968 Custom Corvette’s tune up turned out.

So there you have it. The 1968 Custom Corvette getting a full service job with the 1970 Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower. Making Hot Wheels still fast. Still fun.

1970 Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower elevator quick fix

Every Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower fix, for the most part, simply requires a thorough cleaning of the electrical contacts, the treadmill pulley and the elevator drive belt mechanism. Although this will restore most of what ails a Tune-Up Tower, I found that the elevator mechanism can still be baulky, usually when going up and especially when carrying a car.

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The problem centers on the brown staining of the plastic elevator belt.  It’s some kind of oxidation, possibly related to sunlight, moisture and dust, and this stuff is slippery. Fortunately, I’ve come up with a quick fix for this elevator problem.

The answer is friction tape applied to the rubber drive roller. (By the way, the rubber drive rollers that I have seen still seem soft and useable. So, as long as it is clean, I don’t think the rubber part itself is the issue.)

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Interestingly, you don’t have to wrap the entire circumference of the drive roller to get the elevator mechanism working. I found that a little bit of friction tape covering 1/4 to 1/2 the drive pulley would fix the problem. I suspect that this is variable and you may need less or more friction tape to get your Tune-Up Tower elevator working right.

Here’s a short video on this quick fix.

So there you have it. The 1970 Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower elevator working properly with just a little bit of friction tape.

 

1970 Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower Drive-thru

It’s time for a tour of the 1970 Hot Wheels Tune-up Tower.

Tune-Up Tower box art - front. Courtesy eBay

Tune-Up Tower box art – front. Courtesy eBay

We have 3 floors to drive thru.

A fully assembled Tune-Up Tower.

A fully assembled Tune-Up Tower.

1st floor

The first floor.

2nd floor

The second floor.

3rd floor

The top floor.

Today we’ll head into the Tune-Up Tower driving a ’73 Firebird Trans-Am.

Firebird coming in.

Merging into tower.

Swinging out the merger bar lets you drive your car into the tower.

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With the elevator down, the safety bar goes up and lets your car in.

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Going up!

The main feature on the top floor is the dyno-meter treadmill.

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Here are the stickers adjacent to the treadmill.

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And on the far side of the treadmill.

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Close-up of the Firestone tire section.

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Close-up of the Good Year tire part.

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Parked on the top floor…

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…sitting on a molded hoist.

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On the ramp waiting to head back to the track.

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Up goes the ramp.

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Off goes the Firebird.

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Running through the lane merger.

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On the road again!

Here’s a little bit more detail on driving thru the Tune-Up Tower.

So there you have it. A drive-thru of the 1970 Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

 

 

1970 Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower: Elevator

The Tune-Up Tower has it’s dynamometer testing unit on the top floor. Cars come into the tower from ground floor track. To get up to the testing area the cars are lifted up by an elevator.

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Problem is, the elevator is often malfunctioning or not working at all. Fortunately, Mattel engineered these towers so well that getting them to work properly again requires little more than a thorough cleaning of a couple of parts.

The most critical part is the drive roller on the top of the elevator’s back side. It pops out on the gear side.

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The grime and debris on the rubber roller have to be completely removed otherwise the belt will just slip.

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I find that a Mister Clean Magic Eraser does a great job.

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The second piece that needs cleaning is the plastic drive belt itself. Again I use a Magic Eraser to gently clean the dirt and stains away.

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If cleaning the drive roller and the drive belt doesn’t get your elevator working right…take it apart and clean them again. Usually the drive roller is the problem at this point. Every time my cleaning got the drive roller back to showroom condition, the elevator functioned like it was suppose to.

Here’s my YouTube video to walk you through some of my elevator fixes.

So there you have it. The 1970 Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower with properly functioning elevator. Now we’re ready to make Hot Wheels still fast. Still fun.

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

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

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1970 Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower: Treadmill

A great way to tune hi-performance cars is to put them on a dynamometer.

An engine dynamometer. Courtesy SuperFlow.

An engine dynamometer. Courtesy SuperFlow.

A 2 wheel drive dynamometer.

A 2 wheel drive dynamometer.

An all wheel drive dynamometer. Courtesy SuperFlow.

An all wheel drive dynamometer. Courtesy SuperFlow.

A tandem axle dynamometer.

A tandem axle dynamometer.

The Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower treadmill is the all-wheel drive type. Unfortunately, the treadmill often malfunctions.

The number one problem with the treadmill is slippery grime on the rubber roller of the drive shaft.

Grime on the rubber roller of the first Tune-Up Tower.

Grime on the rubber roller of the first Tune-Up Tower.

A complete mess for the second Tune-Up Tower.

A complete mess for the second Tune-Up Tower.

The number two problem with the treadmill is a missing torsion spring to hold the roller in place that drives the treadmill.

Here’s my YouTube video on how to disassemble, clean and repair the treadmill on a Tune-Up Tower.

So there you have it. The 1970 Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower treadmill. Getting it to work is another step in making Hot Wheels still fast. Still fun.

A Datsun 240Z on the treadmill.

A Datsun 240Z on the treadmill.

1970 Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower: Dyno-Meter Head Unit

Now that we’ve got the main motor running, it’s time to start looking at the treadmill apparatus. First up is the Dyno-Meter head unit.

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This unit contains the blue needles that mark out the Wheel Speed and Wheel Drift on the Dyno-Meter panel. It also consists of the orange arms that hold the car on the treadmill.

What’s the most common problem with these needles and arms? Some ham fisted kid back in the early 70’s decided to see how far he could bend them.

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The Wheel Drift needle is bent forward.

The nearest arm is bent up and in.

The nearest orange arm is bent up and in.

Here’s my video on how to fix a wonky Dyno-Meter head unit.

So there you have it. The 1970 Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower Dyno-Meter head unit fixed and ready to go.

Up next, how to get the treadmill running so we can keep Hot Wheels cars still fast. Still fun.

Tune-Up Tower box art - front. Close-up. Courtesy eBay.

Tune-Up Tower box art – front. Close-up. Courtesy eBay.