Hot Wheels have been around for over 50 years. In that time, they’ve created a ton of awesome designs, but which ones are considered the best Hot Wheels Cars?
The love of cars often starts with a simple toy at a young age. Perhaps, a small, metal, 1:64 sized replica of a real car is dropped into our hands. They speed around on bright orange tracks or sparked our imaginations with imaginary races through imaginary cities on the living room floor. I’m of course talking about Hot Wheels, the Mattel toy cherished by young and old and influential entry point into the car world.
Hot Wheels enthusiasts all have their favorites, but which of the thousands of different models and designs can be considered the best? It’s hard to single out just one car, especially since every Hot Wheels collector has their own opinion or preference on the matter. So, here is our collection of the rare, expensive, and most widely recognized Hot Wheels cars.
The very first Hot Wheels model to roll off the line was the 1968 Chevrolet Camaro. This Hot Wheel features a simple design, only coming in a select number of colors. However, it’s treasured as a key point in Hot Wheels’ history. The vintage car symbolizes the beginning to one of America’s favorite collector hobbies and that’s part of the reason people love it. You can get your hands on the Hot Wheels original 1968 Chevrolet Camaro today pretty easily and at a decent price, but our next Hot Wheels might be a little steep.
There are tons of Hot Wheels that hit absurd price points due to their rarity or their vintage condition. Prices can range from a few dollars to thousands of dollars! That’s a pretty good profit margin for getting one of these models early for just a single greenback. I could compile a whole list just based on these high price points, but these next two offer a glimpse at the pinnacle of when it comes to baller Hot Wheels prices.
Back in 2008, Hot Wheels was celebrating 40 years as a company and just surpassing 4 BILLION cars produced. The company really wanted to do something special so they gave a Hot Wheels Custom Otto to, “jeweler to the stars” Jason of Beverly Hills and they made it quite luxurious. The 18-karat white-gold body was adorned with over 2,700 jewels including diamonds all around the body and engine, rubies for taillights, and black diamonds along the tires. This special, one of a kind, 40th anniversary masterpiece was sold at auction to Nick Lachey (yes, from 98 Degrees and Jessica Simpson’s ex) for $140,000. All proceeds went to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Although, there is one Hot Wheel that is valued even more than Nick Lachey’s purchase, even though it was much less shinny.
In 1968, Hot Wheels was designing prototypes of a beach going Volkswagen Bus carrying surfboards. The design that saw production originally saved space by strapping the surfboards to the sides of the bus. The most sought-after version is a prototype with the surfboards coming straight out of the rear window and saw a very limited testing release. The pink version is the rarest with only 2 known to exists. The best condition Rear-Loading Pink Beach Bomb belongs to Bruce Pascal, the owner of the world’s most extensive Hot Wheels collection, who once tried to sell it on History Channel’s Pawn Stars.
Speaking of television shows, Hot Wheels has managed to intertwine itself with mainstream entertainment properties over the years. Popular TV shows, movies, and video games have all had some connection with the Hot Wheels property. Even popular real-world events, like Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster being launched into outer space, have replica Hot Wheels dedicated to them.
Hot Wheels have had their hand in television replicas for a while, even having produced their own cartoon series based around the toys. Some of the more memorable models based off shows are Knight Rider’s Pontiac Trans AM – KITT, Scooby-Doo’s Chevy Sportvan – The Mystery Machine, and all the different iterations of the Batmobile, even the original Lincoln Futura from the 60’s live-action show.
Movie buffs rejoice, Hot Wheels has a great selection of iconic movie inspired collectibles. Some popular movie cars that have seen the Hot Wheels love include Back to the Future’s DMC DeLorean, Herbie the Volkswagen Beetle, and all of the Fast and Furious cars including the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Dodge Charger. Plus, Hot Wheels recreated all the various Star Wars spacecrafts like the Millennium Falcon and even the Milano from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
One of my favorite games as a kid was Hot Wheels CRASH! It is only one of over 20 different Hot Wheels games made over the past few decades. The Hot Wheels brand has also been featured in titles like Forza Horizon and Rocket League. Out of these video game partnerships has come limited Hot Wheels collections. These collections featured cars such as the Nissan Silvia and Mini Cooper adorned with the Forza Motorsports logo and limited runs of cars like the Octane out of Rocket League. They also made a rare set of Angry Birds cars back when that was still a thing.
Hot Wheels are almost always based off a real-life car designs from Ford, Nissan, or any number of other major car manufacturers, but sometimes the designers at Hot Wheels have some fun. Shopping carts, dragons, and even toasters are only a few of the outlandish car designs spawned from the creative minds at Hot Wheels. And when it comes to the best Hot Wheels original design vehicles, two designs stand out as the most iconic.
First debuting in 2006, the Hot Wheels Bone Shaker resembles a Ford Model A that’s gotten the rat rod treatment and has had the grill replaced with a skull. This design is one of the most popular, well-recognized, and continually recast models to date. The Bone Shaker is also one of the few Hot Wheels original designs to be recreated as a full-sized car, but it still doesn’t compare to the Twin Mill.
The Hot Wheels Twin Mill is, in my opinion, the epitome of Hot Wheels original designs. The car was designed in-house at Mattel by Ira Gilford, the driving force behind most of Hot Wheels original designs. The Twin Mill was originally released in 1968 and has been continually recast only receiving slight paint and decal changes, but always maintaining its sleek curves and large double engines. The Hot Wheels Twin Mill can also be seen as a full-sized car next to the Bone Shaker at Hot Wheels headquarters or on the Hot Wheels Legends Tour.
Is there truly a “Best Hot Wheels Car”? Probably not since everyone has their own favorite, but that is what makes Hot Wheels so special, there’s so many to choose from. Your favorite Hot Wheels can be a miniature of your dream car, a replica of your own car, or even just a piece of fandom related to your favorite entertainment property. Personally, my favorite is the “Paintball” ‘69 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 I leave on my desk and fiddle with whenever I’m bored, but at the moment my most prized is the Datsun 240Z Hot Wheel I’m showcasing on my dash.