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.

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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.┬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.

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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.

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.

1970 Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower: Introduction

When they first rolled out, Hot Wheels were billed as the Fastest Metal Cars in the World. How right Mattel was. As kids, we loved the speed and would run our cars as hard as we could all day long. The result, more than a few of our vehicles ended up looking like this.

Well used '68 Custom Corvette.

Well used ’68 Custom Corvette.

All that wear and tear meant the axles got bent and the wheel bearings filled up with dust and debris. The result? Our blazing fast Hot Wheels cars began slowing down.

Thankfully, Mattel provided a solution for us in 1970. The Tune Up Tower allowed us to test our cars for drift and wheel speed.

Tune-Up Tower box art - front. Courtesy eBay

Tune-Up Tower box art – front. Courtesy eBay

Axles could be adjusted with a Tune-Up Wrench.

tool

Tune-Up Tower box art - side. Courtesy eBay.

Tune-Up Tower box art – side. Courtesy eBay.

Tune-Up Tower box art - back. Courtesy eBay

Tune-Up Tower box art – back. Courtesy eBay

Tune-Up Tower decals. Courtesy eBay.

Tune-Up Tower decals. Courtesy eBay.

Here are the instructions for the Tune-Up Tower.

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 1

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 1

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 2

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 2

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 3

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 3

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 4

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 4

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 5

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 5

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 6

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 6

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 7

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 7

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 8 showing the Road Trials Set layout.

Tune-Up Tower instructions. Page 8 showing the Road Trials Set layout.

The problem with most Tune-Up Towers today is they are used, missing parts and in need of repair. I have several Tune-Up Towers and none of them work properly.

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So, I am going to explore the inner workings of these machines and see if I can get some of them to work like they did in 1970. That way, when my ’68 Custom Corvette gets towed in…

Tow Jam towing the '68 Custom Corvette.

Tow Jam towing the ’68 Custom Corvette.

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…I can go to work on that grand, old car.

The 1970 Hot Wheels Tune-Up Tower; making Hot Wheels still fast, still fun.

TUT catalog

1970 Hot Wheels Collectors’ Catalog. Copyright Mattel, Inc.

Original packing. Courtesy eBay.

Original packing. Courtesy eBay.

Original packaged small piece contents. Courtesy eBay.

Original packaged small piece contents. Courtesy eBay.

Close up of original Twin Mill. Courtesy eBay.

Close up of original Twin Mill. Courtesy eBay.

1970 Hot Wheels Indy 500 Race Set

May 29, 2016 marks the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Logo for the 100th Indy 500.

Logo for the 100th Indy 500.

Adding to this tradition is Hot Wheels. Back in 1970, Mattel issued the Indy Team pak.

Box art - back. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – back. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - back and side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – back and side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art - side. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – side. Courtesy eBay.

It featured a 4 car box set of Hot Wheels’ open wheel cars.

Indy Team 4

Three of these cars ran at Indianapolis including the red Lotus Turbine which almost won the 1968 race (fuel shaft broke on lap 191 while in the lead), an aqua Shelby Turbine which almost won the 1967 race (transmission bearing broke on lap 196 while in the lead) and a light green Indy Eagle. Although Brabham Repcos competed at Indianapolis, the blue F1 model shown here ran in Formula One.

Today I’m going racing, Indy style, with a dual-lane Rod Runner oval track.┬áThis layout has 32 feet of orange track, 10 joiners, 1 dual-lane Rod Runner, two 180 degree dual-lane curves, 2 white trestles and a dual-lane lap counter.

Indy parts

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With the dual-lane lap counter we can run 20 lap races.

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For this open wheel race I am running two Winning Formula cars.

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Here’s what happened with this Indy race.

So there you have it. A custom track. The 1970 Hot Wheels Indy Race Set.

It’s still fast. Still fun.

Box art - bottom. Courtesy eBay.

Box art – bottom. Courtesy eBay.

Logo for the 99th running of the Indy 500.

Logo for the 99th running of the Indy 500.