When someone asks what your first car was, most people would answer by saying what they drove in high school. The truth is, for millions of us, our first car was probably a Hot Wheels.
The first Hot Wheels cars were introduced 50 years ago at the New York Toy Fair and the company’s first model, a custom Chevrolet Camaro, went on to sale on May 18th, 1968. It was eventually followed by 15 other cars including a Corvette, Cadillac Eldorado, Pontiac Firebird and Ford Mustang.
The toys were a huge hit and Hot Wheels would go on to sell over six billion vehicles over the next five decades. There’s an estimated 7.6 billion people on the planet, so there’s enough Hot Wheels for a vast majority of them.
Mattel produces nearly 17 Hot Wheels every second and around 519 million annually. The company’s trademark orange track has also remained popular as they produce 6,000 miles (9,656 km) of it every year.
While a lot of things have changed in the past 50 years, the price of Hot Wheels hasn’t. The cars still cost around a dollar and the company churns out over 130 new designs every year. Given how fast the company introduces new models, it shouldn’t be surprising that there are now 20,000 different Hot Wheels in existence. Some are rarer than others and the most expensive Hot Wheels ever sold was a “Beach Bomb” which went for $72,000.
To celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary, Hot Wheels is hosting a Legends Tour at 14 Wal-Mart locations across the United States. A customized vehicle from each meet up will be selected to be shown at SEMA and immortalized as a Hot Wheels car.
The company will also be releasing the Hot Wheels 50th Originals Collection which consists of five replicas from the original set introduced in 1968. Mattel also partnered with Chevrolet to introduce the Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition Camaro.