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Hot Wheels History

Here are a few facts I thought you might like to know about Hot Wheels. I found this information in Tomart's Price Guide to Hot Wheels. If there is anything you would like me to add just e-mail me and let me know.

1968 -
Hot Wheels released their first line of sixteen models.
1969 -
Sales of Hot Wheels were ten times higher than expected, so Mattel expanded the line to 40.
1970 -
Thirty-three new vehicles were introduced. Mattel introduced Spoilers, Heavyweights, and Club Kit Cars.
1971 -
Mattel introduced thirty-five new models. This was the last year Hot Wheels were made in the U.S.
1972 -
Hot Wheels were not selling as well as before. Therefore, Mattel had made only seven new models this year.
1973 -
This year's line provides the collector with some of the hardest Hot Wheels to find. Included are the two rarest models: the Snake and the Mongoose. There were only three new castings this year.
1974 -
Seven new and eight embellished casting were issued. First year all models were in enamel color.
1975 -
This year 23 new models were introduced. Mattel contined issuing models in alternate colors.
1976 -
This year Super Chromes were introduced. This was a line of eighteen chrome models.
1977 -
There were 69 vehicles with 12 new castings and changes on 10 previously issued models. This year Mattel started phasing out "redlines".
1978 -
Twelve new models were introduced. First year all models were issued with basic black-wall tires.
1979 -
There were eighteen new listings and twelve models in new colors.
1980 -
Workhorses and Hi-Rakers were introduced.
1981 -
Twelve new models were introduced. Mattel once again claimed "The Fastest Non-Powered Die-Cast Metal Cars," Hot Ones were first released.
1982 -
Of the 51 models issued, 23 were new releases. This was the first year Hot Wheels were manufactured both in Hong Kong and Malaysia.
1983 -
There were ninety-six total models. Twenty new models and almost fifty new color were introduced. A new line with rubber tires were sold as Real Riders.
1984 -
Eighteen new models were introduced with the total number of vehicles still at ninety-six. Two were never sold in the U.S.: Pontiac J-2000 in green and Datsun 200SX in maroon.
1985 -
Army and Indy-style vehicles reappeared.
1986 -
A new line of fantasy vehicles called Speed Demons were introduced.
1987 -
Twelve new models were introduced, bringing the total to 38.
1988 -
Thirteen new models were introduced. Mattel issued special collectors' edition vacuum-metallized models.
1989 -
Mattel introduced Park-N-Plates: small plastic see-through boxes with colored see-through lids displaying the vehicles name.
1990 -
The big news was Purple Passion. For 9 months this model couldn't be located on toy store shelves. Mattel put cars in there Hot Wheels Cereal.
1991 -
This year was the last for Park-N-Plates.
1992 -
Mattel introduced three new series: Pro Circuit, Gleam Team, and metallic-flake paint jobs.
1993 -
Mattel introduced the 25th Anniversary collectors' series which replicates eight cars from the first three years.
1994 -
Mattel introduced only one new series: the Vintage Collection.
1995 -
Mattel introduced Treasure Hunt cars. Treasure Hunt cars were limited to 10,000 each. 1995 models were twelve vehicles issued monthly.
1996 -
Mattel began re-issuing basic cars from China.
1997 -
Kyle Petty signed licensing agreements with Mattel. Hot Wheels returned to the racing scene with the Pro Racing Series.
1998 -
For the 30th Anniversary, Mattel issued 40 new castings instead of the usual 12.
1999 -
Mattel added 26 new models as well as several new castings that were part of the 1999 First Editions.
2000 -
Mattel introduced the 36 First Editions.

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