The Original 16 Hot Wheels Cars From 1968: The Redline Era
These 16 Hot Wheels Cars Changed the Die-Cast Toy Market in 1968
Introduced in 1968 by Mattel, Hot Wheels made an immediate splash in the die-cast toy car market. Every little boy (and his dad) wanted a collection of these cool little cars. The futuristic concept car designs, the retro hot rod replicas, and the realistic representations of modern muscle cars of the day made Hot Wheels cars very different from the Matchbox and Corgi cars and trucks that long dominated the die-cast toy car market.
And Hot Wheels cars were fast! Living up to their name, the new Hot Wheels cars used a revolutionary low-friction design on their wheels and axels that enabled the little cars to race downhill on their own special orange track at speeds up to 200 scale miles per hour. The 'Redline' tires with working suspension together with the high gloss and colorful paint schemes made Hot Wheels an instant hit with the kids.
The original 16 Hot Wheels cars from 1968 changed the die-cast toy market. Today, these original little cars command big prices.
Hot Wheels. Fastest metal cars in the world.— Mattel
Part of the Appeal of Hot Wheels Was the Speed These Toys Could Reach
List of the Original 16 Hot Wheels Cars From 1968
- 6205 Custom Cougar
- 6206 Custom Mustang
- 6207 Custom T-Bird
- 6208 Custom Camaro
- 6209 Silhouette
- 6210 Deora
- 6211 Custom Barracuda
- 6212 Custom Firebird
- 6213 Custom Fleetside
- 6214 Ford J-Car
- 6215 Custom Corvette
- 2616 Python
- 6217 Beatnik Bandit
- 6218 Custom El Dorado
- 6219 Hot Heap
- 6220 Custom Volkswagen Cheetah
The very first Hot Wheels car released in 1968 was the Custom Camaro. This redlined classic is now very hard to find.
Collecting Classic Hot Wheels Cars: Condition Counts!
As with any collectible, the condition of the item is a primary factor in determining its value, and Hot Wheels cars are no exception. Made for play, racing Hot Wheels cars downhill on custom tracks, sending them over jumps, and speeding them through loops often led to spectacular crashes that resulted in chipped paint, bent axels, and missing wheels. Separate little pieces such as surfboards were often lost over time.
Collectors place a premium value on original cars in 'mint' condition. Some collectors focus on the early original Hot Wheels cars, while others look for the cars that were released during the period of their youth. The Treasure Hunt series, which started in 1995 and featured a very controlled release of two new Hot Wheels car models every two months, is especially popular with collectors.
Whatever era is of special interest to you, I recommend buying Hot Wheels cars in the best condition that you can find and afford.
A Hot Wheels Collection Worth $1.8 Million
Do You Collect Hot Wheels Cars?
Do You Collect Hot Wheels Cars?
Where Did My Hot Wheels Collection Go?
I was 10 years old when the first Hot Wheels cars hit the toy store shelves in 1968, and I can still remember the little display in Mike's Toy Store. Each Hot Wheels car cost $0.99, which was a fair amount of money at that time for a little metal toy car. I already had a number of Matchbox cars, and I was eager to add the new Hot Wheels cars to my collection—especially the shining miniature replicas of American muscle cars; Mustangs, Camaros, Firebirds, Cougars and Corvettes.
I managed to collect most of the original 1968 release of Hot Wheels cars. I kept my prized collection of cars in a portable plastic case, taking them out only to race them down sections of orange plastic track or to play with them on the family room carpet. My brother liked to crash his cars in spectacular pile-ups or take them outside to play in the dirt, but I tried to keep my special little cars shiny, clean and free of chipped paint. As new models were released each year, I lobbied my parents and grandparents for more cars. My collection grew to over 100 Hot Wheels cars, plus almost an equal number of Matchbox cars and trucks.
As a teenager, my interests turned to real cars. The little toy cars in their plastic cases were relegated to the back of the closet.
A few years later, I was home from college on break and I noticed that the boxes were gone! I asked my mom, who told me of her friend's little boy and how much he liked little toy cars. She didn't think that I would mind, so she gave away the cases of cars. My prized collection of Hot Wheels cars was gone....
Over time, I've found a few replacement Hot Wheels cars at yard sales and second-hand shops, and purchased some of the newer cars that reminded me of the originals. Some day, I'll expand my search to collect a few of my favorite originals including a 1968 Hot Wheels Mustang, Cougar, and Camaro.
Mom had a sense of humor, quilting a special sweatshirt for me. The caption reads: "Once I was rich: then my mom gave away my Hot Wheels!"
Hot Wheels Fun Facts:
- Hot Wheels are manufactured by Mattel. The first 16 original Hot Wheels were 1:64-scale die-cast cars that were modeled after actual full-sized vehicles, including the customized models.
- Eleven of the original Hot Wheels cars were designed by renowned automotive designer Harry Bentley Bradley.
- For the first few years of manufacture, all of the Hot Wheels cars featured tires with a red stripe. These are now known as the classic redline cars.
- Since 1968, over 4 billion Hot Wheels cars have been produced. If placed end-to-end, the line of Hot Wheels cars would circle the globe more than 4 times.
- The retail price of Hot Wheels cars has not changed since 1968. You can still buy Hot Wheels cars for around $1.
- Some of the largest Hot Wheels collections are valued at over $1,000,000.
- The highest amount paid for a Hot Wheels car (so far) was $72,000 in 2000 for a pink 1969 Volkswagen Beach Bomb. This specific car is a one-of-a-kind prototype that was never officially released.
World Record Hot Wheels Loop-the-Loop
Not sure if this is a real, official World Record, but this video features lots of flying Hot Wheels cars and lots of chipped paint!
Mother of All Hot Wheels Tracks
This 3 minute video features 2,000 feet of Hot Wheels track. It's just plain fun to watch!
To make it a real car, the only thing you need is a magnifying glass. Original design blueprints from real automobile manufacturers. Only from Hot Wheels. Smaller size, same quality.
Twin Mill: Hot Wheels Concept Poster
Questions & Answers
What is a Hot Wheels 1968 Red Line Firebird worth?
The 1968 convertible Firebird is a great car! The value depends a lot on the condition. Original Hot Wheels cars from 1968 can range in value from a just few bucks to several hundred dollars for mint condition cars. Check the sold listings on eBay for values of cars that are similar in condition to yours.Helpful 20
I have a few different Mustang funny cars from different eras. Are Hotwheels Mustangs valuable compared to others?
The value of Hot Wheels cars can vary significantly depending on age, condition and rarity. Like other collectibles, a specific item is worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. The Snake and Mongoose funny cars from the early 1970's are especially collectible. Look for your model on eBay to get an idea of the value. The 'sold' function shows lists past sales and shows how much buyers are willing to pay.
What's up with "error" cars? Are they worth the prices that some come up with?
The high values for some of the error cars is quite surprising. Serious collectors are willing to pay big bucks for prototypes and other unique examples. Like many other collectibles, the real value is the price that a collector is willing to pay for the item.
I have a blue Twin Mill Hot Wheels car with flames on it. Do you have any idea how much it is worth?
The value depends on condition. There are a few listings on eBay for the 2007 version of the Hot Wheels Twin Mills car that sold for $1.50 to $7.50 (plus shipping).
I have an opportunity to possibly get my hands on a Mad Maverick this weekend. I came across it in a collection of redlines I looked at. I'm pretty sure the bottom of it said Mad Maverick. It caught my eye and looked it up and saw that it's a pretty rare car. Where can I go to get a value on this car if it turns out that I wasn't just seeing things and it's a blue Mad Maverick?
The Mad Maverick is a fairly common car but what can make this one interesting is the name on the base. Very few cars were manufactured with the "Mad Maverick" name embossed on the base, making this a rare and very desirable car. The name was changed because of a copyright issue with Johnny Lightening, who had already released a model under the same name. Car & Driver recently posted on article on their picks for the Top 20 Most Valuable Hot Wheels that includes the Mad Maverick: with the name embossed on the base, the car was listed at #4 with a value up to $15,000. Condition is important and the real value is whatever a collector is willing to pay.Helpful 4