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.

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 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.

img_3956

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

img_1738

Going up!

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

img_1735

img_1676

Here are the stickers adjacent to the treadmill.

img_1680

And on the far side of the treadmill.

img_1678

Close-up of the Firestone tire section.

img_1679

Close-up of the Good Year tire part.

img_3926

Parked on the top floor…

img_3998

…sitting on a molded hoist.

img_1609

On the ramp waiting to head back to the track.

img_3927

Up goes the ramp.

img_3931

Off goes the Firebird.

img_3934

Running through the lane merger.

img_3945

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.┬áCars come into the tower from ground floor track. To get up to the testing area the cars are lifted up by an elevator.

tut1

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.

remove-roller

 

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

roller-dirty

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

roller-clean

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.

cleaning-belt

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.

tut-elevator

 

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.

TUTHU1

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.

TUTHU2

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.