Elliot Handler, creator of Hot Wheels cars and the co-founder of Mattel toys, passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 95.
According to legend, Elliot wanted something that would appeal to little boys as strongly as his wife Ruth’s creation (Barbie) appealed to little girls. He found the answer in tiny race cars: Hot Wheels. According to Elliot, the difference between his cars and other small, metal cars were in the wheels. The wheels on Hot Wheels cars were designed to spin fast and go far, and that they did.
I don’t know where it came from — probably a garage sale — but as a kid I had a big cardboard box full of mismatched Hot Wheels track pieces. I’d say that 95% of what I had were red, blue, and orange straight pieces, along with the little plastic tabs that allowed you to connect track pieces together. I used to spend hours in my room making tracks from one end to the other, complete with little loops and jumps for the little cars to attempt.
One of my favorite cars of all time was the Red Baron.
The only problem with the Red Baron was that, because it was so light, it would often sail far past any landing strip I had prepared for the cars. I remember studying every inch of that little car and wishing that someone would create a real-life version. Just think how safe it would be! Who needs seat belts when you’re sitting underneath a giant metal helmet?
And who could possibly compete with the Red Baron in a head-to-head race? How about Speed Racer!
Because the trunk never opened, I always secretly wondered if Spridle and Chim-Chim were stuck in there …
Please post pictures (or at the least the names) of some of your favorite Hot Wheels cars of all time. With 10,000+ different models to choose from, I’d like to hear which ones were your favorites!
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