Hot Wheels, The Best Selling Toy In The World, Turns 50

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.

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  • Mind Synthetic

    for me it was a matchbox 65 stingray, still have it.

    • Eythan Aldrich

      and do you collect diecasts as well?

      • Mind Synthetic

        not as a hobby and i generally buy tomica, as they only make production cars

        • Eythan Aldrich

          oh tomica….nice I also collect premium ones

    • Auf Wiedersehen

      my favorite car when I played with hot wheels/matchbox, Porsche 911(964).

      The rest of my life’s sickness is history. 🙂

  • Dennis Scipio

    This is off topic, but why is everybody against Ford lately about the sedans for crossovers dilemma?

    • Nick

      most people in these comment sections are armchair enthusiasts and economists. don’t take them seriously

      • Auf Wiedersehen

        Unlike Nick who is a full fledged enthusiast/economist and you should listen to every word the man says. He would never diminish someone else’s views and opinions.

    • Jason Miller

      Ford can do what they want. I still don’t care to buy one lol

    • Auf Wiedersehen

      Just to give you my resume: I, quite possibly like Nick, do not own an armchair and have my enthusiast iron on badge to prove I’m the real deal. I have been playing with, working on, building, buying, selling, cleaning, detailing, researching, reading about, writing about and driving cars for the past 50 years. I would never assume, because someone thinks differently than I do, that they are not a legitimate enthusiast. The mere fact that they are on this site looking at car “Stuff” proves they are. Economist? I assure you no one commenting in these sections is an economist.

      My beef with Ford: It seems very short sided to totally kill off models and reduce those facilities and have to lay off workers. Especially when the Lincoln versions, according to Lincoln, will continue to be made and likely in that very facility. Why Ford killed a model when Lincoln kept it’s version that sold 1/10th the volume is baffling. I could honestly care less other than the jobs losses. That is a huge deal. Then Ford imports a sh!t box like the EcoSport from India to be sold here and consumers have no CLUE. They just slip it back in and market the hell out of it. At what point will these companies realize they can’t sell anymore product here because they have shipped the production of said product out of the country and now the majority of people have to use their SSI to buy food, and no good paying job to buy cars. Then minority of us taxpayers get to support the majority of the population. So yeah, I will not buy products where the company closes here and dumps U.S. jobs, only to produce out of the country and import their products back in.

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