Last Call: Are Hot Wheels dead?

I saw this post today and it totally took me back to my childhood. Hot Wheels were so cool and what made them even cooler was that my dad had a decent collection too. I remember he had a Trans Am and all the Corvettes, but I also remember I had some that weren’t even real cars which is pretty lame. Though I’m sure there was something about shark fins and green windows that appealed to my childhood brain. But, I do wish I that had a more real models looking back.

This set specifically stuck out to me since I love the Datsun 2000 roadster and am saving up for an Evo X right now so I would love to have these. I was never a Matchbox kind of kid but I’m curious how many people had/preferred those to Hot Wheels and if you still have them now. I’m saving mine and my dads to someday pass on to my kids.

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28 responses to “Last Call: Are Hot Wheels dead?”

  1. 0A5599 Avatar

    I remember he had a Trans Am and all the Corvettes, but I also remember I had some that weren’t even real cars which is pretty lame.

    Don’t forget that some didn’t look like real cars, but were indeed real.

  2. ptschett Avatar

    When I was a kid, my priorities were Ertl > (post-Lesney*) Matchbox > Hot Wheels.
    Ertl made 1:64’s relevant to my interests: Dukes of Hazzard cars (when I was little & that was on TV), tractors and implements (always), & pickups (particularly the replicas of the 1987-1991 Ford F-250/350 SRW 4×4, released toward the end of my childhood.) Matchbox cars were fairly realistic and the axle was robust, where Hot Wheels of the era sometimes were silly things and had a weaker axle.

    I remember having ‘competitions’ amongst my 1:64 cars where the contest was going down a ramp and the winner tended to be whichever of my Ertl F-250/350’s consistently rolled the farthest, in those pre-internet days when I had to come up with ways to find my own fun & those rubber-tired & heavy Ertl pickups were just better at that contest.

    *My dad had Lesney Matchbox cars when he was a kid, I have a few of them in my box of toy cars; but he was hot-rodding real cars by the time the Lesney era was ending.

  3. Troggy Avatar

    I always preferred the ‘real’ Matchbox cars over the fantasy Hot Wheels machines.
    I do tend to buy my kids period-correct classic cars (that I happen to personally like) when buying them gifts or rewards.

  4. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Over on this side of the pond we’re experiencing something of a Hotwheels / Matchbox 1:64 fever. The major chain supermarkets are stocking Matchbox at £1 each, and Hotwheels at £1.25, with folk regularly celebrating the diecast spoils of their family shopping trips on various car fora.

    The hot shit about now is the Toca touring car liveried Volvo 850, with people near-desperate to track one down. My most recent scores were a red 944 Turbo and a very handsome MX-5, but there’s a Subaru SVX out there somewhere that I’ll keep my eyes open for.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      I was quite pleased to find the 850 this weekend, although I’m conflicted on the sunroof (as per the designer, it’s supposed to be an all-purpose performance 850, thinking beyond the first issue livery). Ostensibly it’s for my son (something big and chunky, easy for him to grab, as his current “favourite” is a ’95 Chevy van), but it’s really for me.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        So how did you find it? I suppose most sellers “know what [they] got”?

        1. Maymar Avatar

          Nope, had to go to WalMart (in a town where a lifted Ram is the peak of desirability), and they had several in the big bin full of Hot Wheels.

          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            Haha, perfection! Sort of how I finally found my Ixo 1:43’s in a 2nd hand shop in St. Petersburg, Russia. Value is in the eye of the beholder.

          2. Sjalabais Avatar

            Haha, perfection! Sort of how I finally found my Ixo 1:43’s in a 2nd hand shop in St. Petersburg, Russia. Value is in the eye of the beholder.

  5. crank_case Avatar

    Far from it, at least among adult collectors, we’re living in a golden age for three inch (aka hotwheels/matchbox size cars) and similar size true scale 1/64 – People like myself are paying 10 – 50 dollars or more retail in some cases for premium models from the likes of Tomica Limited Vintage, Kyosho, Tarmac Works, Inno64, Schuco, Spark etc. and you hear constant talk of how any desireable hotwheels mainlines are endlessly “scalped” in the US. Then there is the stockholm syndrome situation that is the Hot Wheels RLC (red line club), which issues models exclusively for collectors who join the club and each release is like trying to get tickets for the superbowl. I’m not a member, partly because it doesn’t seem worth it, but also shipping is insane outside the US.

    For the kids, there is the new Hot Wheels id line which uses an RFID chip to allow you import cars into your phone a bit like those nintendo amiibo toys. Whether that’s a fad or not I dont know, but things are not standing still.

    Quality of hot wheels has arguably declined, but this is largely because the US is so resistant to the idea that hot wheels can be any more than 1 dollar (about 70/80 cent in Euro, for perspective, they’re about €1.50 – €2.50 in Europe), which means Mattel de-content the cars rather than raise prices. They’ve come out with some cracking models despite the materials limitations though.

    Hot Wheels have always had an element of fantasy right since the original “sweet 16” of their first year – this kustom culture thing was one of the things that seperated it from the sober matchbox. Some collectors complain about all the “fantasy cars” – I love them, and tend to collect the crazy hot rod stuff over the licensed models, because I’ve already got lots of accurate true scale 1/64 in the collection so the “realistic cars” are always going to fall short, but the goofy stuff doesn’t have to be measured by the same yardstick.

    As to whether kids are going to keep playing with them as the world gets more anti-car, I don’t know, but for now, they’re in rude health.

  6. Sjalabais Avatar

    Being on a rare venture into civilization proper, overloading the Camry roof with building materials, I was surprised to see a waiting line at a Tesla charger, on a random thursday noon. Two more were cleaning their cars in the carwash next to it while waiting.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      Strange things are afoot at the circle k..

  7. Zentropy Avatar

    As a kid, I preferred Hot Wheels to Matchbox, feeling that the quality was better, and the collection of them that I kept and shared with my kids largely reflects that. I tended to like the more realistic ones– no fantasy themes (one exception was the Red Baron). I still pick them up today when I see a model I like (whats a $1 splurge?), but I don’t care for the wacky paint schemes and oversized wheels that seem to be more common today. I’ve passed on several models that I like simply because the paint scheme is so stupid.

    Here are a few I’ve randomly picked up in the past couple of years.

    1. Bill Avatar

      Nice, I’m the same way and hav been since 1964.
      I was 6 when my mom purchased my first Matchbox then I got into the Hot Wheels. I let the Toosie toys go. I have about 6000 of them. No oversize wheels fancy color or crazy designs. Glad to see more people like you that share the same idea as me. Just think if both companies went back to making original cars from the 20’s to the 90’s they would set records on sales because of people like you and me!

  8. Maymar Avatar

    I always loved Majorettes most as a kid – they were simultaneously the most mundane, and most obscure (no one else offered a toy Ford Transit).

    That said, even Hot Wheels used to make stranger choices. I have a couple HW Lumina APV’s at home, and as much as there’s a HW Chrysler Pacifica (that’s been a little overlanded out), there was still more emphasis on the mundane in the 80’s and 90’s. Still plenty of new ones coming out that I want though.

    1. Monkey10is Avatar

      Here in the UK, I too remember that my better travelled friends (summer holidays in France, natch) came back with Majorettes which always seemed much more quirky and interesting than my Matchbox or Corgi miniatures.
      The line-up above — with a Renault 4 ‘fourgonette’, Autobianchi and an Alpine 310 police car(!) — seems to justify that memory.

    2. Vairship Avatar

      Wow, an Autobianchi A112! Those were fairly rare even in 1:1 scale.
      And there’s a lucky policeman driving an Alpine A310.

  9. Dan Burton  Avatar
    Dan Burton


  10. sunbeammadd Avatar

    When I was born rigor mortis was still setting in on the empire and we were still fairly dependent on the mother country so it was Matchbox and Corgi for me all the way. I did have a few Hot Wheels but I too was bothered that they were often not real cars. Then Matchbox and Corgi started offering imaginary models too which irritated me more.

    My toy car phase lasted from birth up until I was about 8 when it took a hit on seeing my first Star Wars toy. It never really ended though because I still build slot cars today. I was pretty disappointed that my son’s toy car phase was much shorter than mine thanks to computer games. Oh well, you can’t go reliving your youth through your kids.

  11. Ron Avatar

    Are hot wheels dead? Go to YouTube and Instagram look up diecast and then you can answer your own question

  12. crank_case Avatar

    Haven’t got a current pic of my entire home collection – kinda hard to get in shot on one pic as it’s a box room, but here’s my current desk display in work made up of duplicates from my home collection. Mostly Hot Wheels, some matchbox, but also three actual 1/64 scale cars in there: Greelight “Eleanor” Mustang, Aoshima Subaru Sambar and the pride of the work collection – Schuco Mercedes 200D in “Techniches Hilfswerk Ulm” (Ulm Civil Defense) livery. The casting is common, but this particular version was exclusive to German Muller Stores.

    View post on

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      That Suzuki Carryall looks awesomely lost in the middle of this collection.

      1. crank_case Avatar

        This is why consistent scale > fit in the box. I’ll have to post some more scale comparisons, 1/64 Cappuccino practically fits in the bed of the same scale Ford F250

    2. Zentropy Avatar

      What’s the blue fast/hatchback in the lower right corner? A Kenmeri Skyline? Whatever it is, it looks like something I’d pick up.

      1. crank_case Avatar

        Correct, it’s a C110 (Kenmeri) skyline

  13. Tommy McCown Pimp'n An Limp'n Avatar
    Tommy McCown Pimp’n An Limp’n

    Hotwheels bought out The Matchbox company awhile back and they agreed to keep the company’s separate “!!!!! And They kept The Matchbox car’s and trucks in the same fashion that made them desirable for Matchbox customers and The Hotwheels on the same track as they were “!!!?? But throughout the year’s they made mistakes in both companies “!!!!?? But hey you live and learn “!!?? Hopefully “!!?? But they always listened to the customer “!! The people who have been buying their cars and trucks for years “!!?? So when you go to the store and buy a New car “,From Hotwheels or Matchbox “!!? They are two very different “Separate types of vehicles from each other “!!?? I’m a Hotwheels fan and I also like Other companies that have been putting out their own products “!! AUTO WORLD IS MY FAVORITE AND THEN JOHNNY LIGHTNING “!!!! THEY STARTED THE GAME OF FINDING AND THEN COLLECTING THE CHASE CARS AND TRUCKS “!!! AND NOW EVERY COMPANY HAS THEI OWN CHASE CARS AND SUCH “!!!? AND THEN THERES GREENLIGHT PRODUCTS THAT ARE EXACT REPLICAS OF THE REAL CARS AND TRUCKS THAT ARE ON THE ROAD SINCE THE BEGINNING OF CARS ON THE ROAD “!!? TO UP TO THE CARS AND TRUCKS THAT ARE ON THE ROAD TODAY “!!!? BUT THERE’S SOMETHING THAT CAN RELATE TO EVERYONE ON THE MARKET TODAY “!! SO WITH THIS BEING SAID “!!?? ITS NOT JUST A KIDS GAME ANYMORE “!! JUST SAYING Y’ALL “!!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL TODAY SHALOM

  14. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    I don’t know about children and Hot Wheels but the vast selection in Safeway indicates that enough people are buying to justify production levels. As an adult I occasionally impulse buy the realistic cars that catch my fancy, like the Series III Landrover pickup and the Mazda CX-5 like my actual car.

    I’m also thinking of getting some more HO Scale cars. Herpa, Wiking Roco and some others make an extraordinary range of often highly detailed stuff partly for collectors and partly for model railroads. One of my favorites is an early 90s Wiking set of a Mercedes flatbed tow truck and a Trabant. I also have a Roco fire engine with a working crane that lifts out a equipment rack to reveal a little portable pump.

  15. JayP Avatar

    My HW consumption went from scouring pegs to complete sets in the early 2000’s to “Hey, that’s cool. I’ll get it” today.

    But to answer your question… No.
    The 50th Anniversary Tour kicked off annual tours that bring hundreds of people from states away. The just released the 2020 tour and I think it’s 18 cities?

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