“The Fastest Metal Cars in the World!” That was Mattel’s claim during the inaugural years of Hot Wheels. Kids realized it was true but began wondering, “Just how fast is fast?” To answer that question Mattel produced 3 single-lane speedometer sets in 1970.
The first speedometer set is the gravity powered Speed Test Set. Track components consist of 20 feet of orange track, 10 joiners, 1 speedometer, and 1 U-turn. All contents are boxed individually and sold in a plain red, white and black package.
Speed Test Set track contents.
I am not sure how this set was distributed but it may have been tied into Hot Wheels’ national Speed Test Day of June 13, 1970. Speaking of which, Speed Test Day sounds like a great time. Newspaper archives mention the event throughout North America. Kids went to their local toy stores that Saturday with their own Hot Wheels cars and put them on a track that ran through a single lane Speedometer.
Each child received a certificate showing their name, the car they tested, and the speed the car achieved.
Various giveaways were on hand including Hot Wheels Racing Patches. Some stores gave out a grand prize, presumably for the fastest speed of the day, of a single lane Speedometer.
Speed Test Day flyer. Courtesy eBay.
Here are my Speed Test Set contestants.
L to R: 2011 Corvette Grand Sport, 1970 Pontiac GTO, Aston Martin DBS, 1969 Camaro Convertible, 1970 Plymouth Superbird.
At the start.
Picking up speed.
Heading to the Speedometer.
A hard right tilt makes sure the car hits the long, white automatic reset arm before it contacts the small black foam piece of the trigger arm.
Flying into the Speedometer.
Hitting the trigger arm full on.
Recording the speed.
Blasting out of the Speedometer.
Into the U-turn…and stop.
What kind of speeds did my 5 cars produce? Watch this video from my YouTube Channel to find out.
The 1970 Hot Wheels Speed Test Set.
It’s still fast. Still fun.
Single lane Speedometer box art – front.
Single lane Speedometer box art – side.
Single lane Speedometer box art – back.
Single lane Speedometer box art – top.