Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011

Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels zoomed onto the die-cast toy-car scene in 1968. Though the market was already a crowded one, they became a big favorite among both toy collectors and tots. By adding an axle and rotating styrene wheels to the traditional toy car, Hot Wheels became the fastest miniature autos available. And to toymaker Elliot Handler's credit, they were also the flashiest. Brighter colors and decorated exteriors gave Hot Wheels a sense of drama that kids just couldn't get enough of. Mattel also offered one of the most wanted toy accessories of all: the Hot Wheels track system. A jumble of track sections, connectors, loops, curves, ramps, launchers and speedometers, the DIY racetrack could be built and rebuilt over and over in different configurations. As time went on, Mattel threw in advanced add-ons, like spring-loaded launchers and battery-run supercharger power boosters, to really speed up the race.