Most of us car lovers grew up with Hot Wheels. We're sure our parents hated them since they probably stepped on one too many, yet they continued to buy them for us because back then they were less than a dollar (prices now are about $1.29 for a single car and even less if you buy them in a set). There's a nostalgic Hot Wheels book out now that celebrates 50 years of the iconic toy. It's called Hot Wheels: From 0 to 50 at 1:64 Scale, and it comes with its own carry case in that weird puffy plastic we know and love.
The book by prolific automotive writer Kris Palmer covers Wheel history in-depth from design to production and provides a wealth of information about the brand and details you never knew. Full color and black-and-white-photos showcase rare drawings, as well as prototypes that led to some of the brand's most iconic 1/64th toys.
Hot Wheels owner Mattel Toys never figured the little cars would be such a huge success when it launched back in 1968. Originally created with a line of sixteen cars ("Sweet Sixteen" collection), the cars were more of a hot-rod style, versus conventionally styled cars. The wheels were free-rolling, making them unique in the die-cast toy car industry. The result was an overwhelming success that essentially eclipsed the competition. The brand even went on to produce kits and accessories that made Hot Wheels a household name. The awesome Hot Wheels Garage (below) and Cross Cross Crash were (and still are) coveted gifts around the holidays.
Some of the most iconic cars by the Hot Wheels brand are actually decades old. When Ira Gilford left Chrysler, he was brought on by Hot Wheels to design the next generation of toy cars. One of his most famous (and valuable) Hot Wheels was none other than the fantasy hot rod/dragster known as the Twin Mill, which has seen numerous iterations and colors and stands out as one of the best in Hot Wheel History. Hot Wheels even had some of its most famous cars brought to life in full-size driveable versions. You can see the Twin Mill in the first row of the photo below (blue with big twin engines).
The book itself isn't just fun to read but just great to have around as a coffee table book that grownups and kids will love. We haven't even gotten our hands on it yet, but just looking at the photos makes us want to dig up our own children's' Hot Wheels that are strewn around the house so we can play with them (in secret). The book goes for a very affordable $23, or you can just spend that money on a bunch of the 1:64 cars, instead. Both will provide hours of fun.
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