1970 Hot Wheels Hi-Performance Set

There aren’t a lot of these sets around. I never saw one as a kid. They don’t show up on eBay very often. And until a few years ago, as an adult, I didn’t even know what made up a Hi-Performance Set.

Today, we’re going to fix all that by putting together and running a complete Hi-Performance Set.

Here are the components.

Here’s the layout.

I’ll use a 2005 Ford Mustang to go through the set.

On the second floor of the Tune-Up Tower.

Taking the elevator to the top floor.

Backing out on the third floor.

Checking wheels speed and drift on the Dyno-Meter treadmill.

On the ramp, ready to go.

Lifting the ramp to launch the car.

Heading for the track below.

Taking the first curve.

On the floor and running toward the main track.

Into the bottom of the 2-way Super-Charger.

Blasting out of the Super-Charger.

Charging through the elevated section of the Figure-8 track.

Crossing the bridge and going back to the Super-Charger.

Powering out of the 2-way Super-Charger again.

Speeding past the bottom floor of the Tune-Up Tower.

Running strong, lap after lap.

Here’s my YouTube video of this track in action. I feature 4 redlines from 1969 that represent Mattel’s first in-house-designed fantasy cars.

So there you have it. The 1970 Hot Wheels Hi-Performance Set.

Making Hot Wheels still fast.  Still fun.

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1970 Hot Wheels Hi-Performance Set: Introduction

The Tune-Up Tower was packaged three ways in 1970:

in it’s own box,

Tune-Up Tower box art – front. Courtesy eBay

with the Road Trials Set

Box art – front.

and, most prominently, as part of the Hi-Performance Set.

Mattel described this set as a “giant freeway system”. The idea was give your car a tune up, then head out on the busy roadway. And for traffic, 4 new cars came with it. That was more cars than any other set Mattel offered in 1970.

A Custom Corvette and a Custom Volkswagen on the left side. Courtesy eBay.

A Torero and a Lola GT70 on the right side. Courtesy eBay.

Here’s an example of the rest of the contents that came in a Hi-Performance Set.

The Super-Charger and track. Courtesy eBay.

Track and Tune-Up Tower pieces. Courtesy eBay.

Collectors’ catalogue and stickers. Courtesy eBay.

Here’s what the Hi-Performance Set does.

Measure wheel speed and drift.

Adjust axles with the Tune-Up wrench.

Move cars between floors with the elevator.

Use the 2-Way Super Charger to power your cars.

Like all images from the redline era, the box art on this set is amazing.

Box art – side (color)

Box art – side (red, black & white)

Based on the 1968 Alfa Romeo Carabo Concept car, here is Mattel’s 1970 released Carabo being launched out of the Super-Charger.

 

Maserati Mistral on the treadmill, Mercedes Benz 280 SL parked by the 2 hoists, Heavyweight Tow Truck on the launch ramp, Custom Continental Mark III on the elevator and the Custom Police Cruiser heading down to the track.

 

Custom AMX waiting for the elevator to come down and a blue Custom Nomad roaring past the Tune-Up Tower.

Box art – back

Close up of contents list.

Close up of 2-way Super-Charger.

Close up of Tune-Up Tower.

Box art – end.

So there you have it. An introduction for the 1970 Hot Wheels Hi-Performance Set.

Making Hot Wheels still fast. Still fun.

1970 Collectors’ Catalogue image of the Hi-Performance Set.

1970 Hot Wheels Road Trials Set: in action

Every car owner knows that regular maintenance and periodic repairs are an integral part of keeping your vehicle on the road. However, for kids, the mindset is more one of running your toy car into the ground and then getting a new one. But in 1970 Mattel took a different approach by letting the young enthusiast work on his car to keep it running “faster than ever”!

The Tune-Up Tower provided the back bone for Hot Wheels maintenance. The Road Trials Set planted the tower inside an oval track powered by a single-lane Rod Runner.

Box art – side.

That meant you could bring a slower running car in for an evaluation and adjustment, then send it out on the track for a “trial” run to see if it moved faster.

This time around I am working with 3 open wheel redline cars that Mattel released in 1969.

Indy Eagle on the left and 2 Lotus Turbines on the right.

All 3 of these machines ran in the 1968 Indy 500.

1968 Indy 500 starting grid.

Dan Gurney piloted the #48 Indy Eagle.

Dan Gurney in the #48 Indy Eagle. Courtesy http://openwheel33.com/paint-schemes/1968-paint-schemes/

He drove a spectacular race and finished second behind race winner Bobby Unser.

Joe Leonard grabbed the pole position in his #60 Lotus Turbine.

Joe Leonard and the #60 Lotus Turbine. Courtesy http://openwheel33.com/paint-schemes/1968-paint-schemes/

He was leading the race with only 9 laps to go when a fuel shaft broke and put him out of competition. He finished 12th for the day.

Every Hot Wheels Lotus Turbine car came with a #70 sticker sheet. The original #70 Lotus Turbine was driven by Graham Hill.

Gr.ham Hill and the #70 Lotus Turbine. Courtesy http://openwheel33.com/paint-schemes/1968-paint-schemes/

Hill won the Indy 500 in 1966 but finished 19th during the ’68 race.

Here’s some pictures of the Road Trials Set in action and a YouTube video to bring it all to life.

Track layout.

Another view of the layout.

Open wheel Hot Wheels parked on the 2nd floor.

Two F1 Racers parked on the 1st floor.

Lotus turbine heading up the elevator.

Purple Lotus Turbine on the Dyno-Meter treadmill.

Indy Eagle on the hoist. Tune-Up Wrench at the ready.

Lotus turbine getting a full suspension work over.

Indy Eagle on the 3rd floor ramp. Getting ready for a track run.

F1 Racer running through the lane merger and onto the race course.

Heading into the Rod Runner.

Blasting out of the Rod Runner.

Racing past the Tune-Up Tower on a fast lap.

So there you have it. The 1970 Hot Wheels Road Trials Set with Tune-up Tower and Rod Runner. 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.)

friction-tape

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.