Although Mattel was already a famous toy company for their Barbie Dolls, they took the market for miniature cars (:die-cast cars) by storm in 1968.
They released 16 kinds of cars as their “sweet sixteen” series and achieved wonderful success.
No, it was not merely “16 kinds”. There were 16 kinds of shape, but they had various coating colors for each of them and let children pick and match amongst their favorite shape and color, just like a grown-up places an order with a real car dealer.
As for the colors, Mattel brought in the technique of spraying a clear-color coat onto a die casted foundation. Thus, HotWheels came to be wrapped in a gem-like coating called “spectra-frame” or “candy paint”.
The design was also great.
It was influenced by American custom car culture “Hot Rod”, and had a unique aspect of being like a game of spotting the difference; it’s different from a real car somewhere. Though they copied a real car, they put “custom” at the beginning of its name. It was so hot.
Moreover, impressively, the development team gave HotWheels an attractive feature that was a world-first. It could drive.
( It’s all a matter of whether the car drives.)
Tires revolving smoothly around poly-caps made to reduce friction.Believe it or not, there was even a model equipped with four-wheel independent suspension using piano wire. The miniature car could drive with all four wheels touching the ground, even on an uneven surface like a table with biscuit crumbs scattered over it.
“When I put a HotWheels on a slightly tilted table, it would drive straight and continue running forever”
Mr. AE said joyfully, looking at < Python > (a red-line model) driving on a table in the karaoke box, the interview spot.
If they bought the set which was also imported into Japan, both track and miniature car were packed in together, so they could drive the car immediately.Of course some children had no money to buy it.
Some children were not fond of the car that was part of the set.In those days, they were able to buy 15 meters of just the track for about 500 yen.
Mr. AE bought it, and he tried driving Tomika on it at first.But it didn’t go well. Therefore he tried his newly bought Hot Wheels on it.That car drove so interestingly well. The structure was fundamentally different from a Tomika.
Since he was about three to when he was five-years old, Mr. AE always drove his Hot Wheels on their tracks all day.
How great this car drove! What fun!
Mr. AE gazed at the scene forever, forever.