Home » These Amazing Concept Cars Were Sold By The Thousands, Just Not Full Sized

These Amazing Concept Cars Were Sold By The Thousands, Just Not Full Sized

Topshot Underdogs 1 21
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As a designer attracted to interesting shapes and bright and shiny objects in general, I notice forms, color and textures in everything around me – a good thing, as my lightly ADHD-afflicted brain has a tendency to get bored easily, after which I get fussy. This results in many gigabytes of pseudo-artsy iPhone snapshots, a nearly overwhelming plethora of knick-knacks, four cats, and various tchotchkes. Plus, as mentioned in a previous article, a rather sizable model car collection (with a few spacecraft from TV and film thrown in). Sooo many shapes and sizes and colors in everything!

[Ed note: We are joined once again by our friend Carlos Ferreira who, when not tending to his unfathomably huge model-car collection, is a professional designer and professor at Art Center College -The Bishop]

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Unsurprisingly, dream cars from Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and the like are well represented in my model car collection. However, as a steadfast pursuer of the unusual, quirky, esoteric and left-of-center however, I find myself irresistibly drawn to designs that are less well loved, and (I feel) deserve more attention.

This began when I discovered concept cars very soon after I started noticing and loving cars at a very young age, and there’s a spacious wing of my collection dedicated to them. Concept vehicles are a pure expression of a singular vision, expanding the boundaries of the norm and mainstream, imagining a better (or just more interesting) future world, before the harsh realities of manufacturing, safety regs, economics and product planning kill the dream.

Top Shot
Concept images by permission of the artists

Many toy manufacturers, acting like miniature coachworks, frequently create in-house designs because it’s cheaper and simpler than paying a licensing fee for a production vehicle. Collectors often dismiss these unlicensed designs, which is a shame because talented in-house teams are essentially designing tiny concept cars. Just because these fantastic custom hot rods and trucks and inventive futuristic vehicles never become 1:1 production vehicles or aren’t featured on an auto salon’s turntable doesn’t make them any less great. In fact, many of the designers that work for Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Jada, Maisto, and other brands have automotive design degrees, and many toy brands also collaborate with outside automotive designers.

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I feel unlicensed designs (UDs) are further overlooked because they are often saddled with questionable, infantile graphics and garish colorways that obscure their interesting forms and details, adding to the perception that they are mere toys for children. Like an art expert who discovers an emerging talent or uncovers a rare work by a master, I derive great pleasure from using my professional acumen to spot a beaut and then proceeding to reveal its underlying aesthetic value by removing said graphics, enhancing details, or applying more realistic finishes (or all three). Lets shine a spotlight on these underdogs, starting in the 60’s with this far-out concept vehicle transporter kit.

1/25 MPC ’67 Daytona Transport

Daytona Transport 2a2
etsy

We’ve all been there: You have a long race car that looks awesome, so you wanna show it off when en route to and from the track or car shows, but you also want it protected from the elements. Being a customizer or a discerning automotive connoisseur, you will not settle for any pick up and trailer combo or even a heavily accessorized flatbed. Those are for plebes. What you need is a purpose-built Daytona Transport truck, shaped in a wind tunnel (I’d like to believe) and featuring an articulated chassis!

This fantastic bit of kit has an attached bed that rotates at the cab to make maneuvering in cul-de-sacs more graceful, and a massive top-hinged, one-piece canopy. In this reality, there exists transparent structural materials that allow some twenty feet of uninterrupted views of your pride and joy, yet somehow reflect heat so your car is not baked to a faded, cracked crisp. Back in the reality of 1964, it’s highly likely the zoomy racing transporters of the 60’s such as the Holtkamp Cheetah Race Transporter and the Mercedes Renntransporter fueled the Daytona’s designer’s imagination, perhaps with a bit of Deora show truck in the sauce.

Daytona Transport Inspo
wikimedia

Matchbox ’72 Racing Car Transporter K7 ‘Super Kings’

The Americans were on Team Hinged Canopy in the 60s, but ever since Mercedes was inspired by a sea bird that poops on everything and steals your chips to create the 300SL’s entry points, MB’s top-hinged doors have become integral to European visions of the cool future and super sportiness. So why not have them on a racing transporter? Contrary to most full-size transporters, which are converted production trucks, Matchbox’s vision is a bespoke thing, a la the 70’s GMC motorhome, with a passenger van-like profile. Like the GMC, it has six wheels, because any number greater than two for axles slaps, as the yutes say. I imagine the three horns prominently mounted atop the roof play a variety of classic tunes. La Cucaracha, certainly. Or perhaps Dixie, or God Save The Queen depending on the racing team.

K5 Transporter

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Many UDs are inspired by real vehicles and futurized for added appeal, but because they are still toys, the designers often take liberties with the realities of real world vehicle construction. When I encounter such designs, I imagine how they could be modified to better ground them in a believable alternate reality. In this case, the one-piece orange tint transparent bed cover would be impossible to manufacture, but with a few changes it could work IRL. It’s the same with the massive wrap around windshield. With this in mind, I often mock up design alterations in Photoshop that are cohesive with the overall form language and will serve as blueprints for the day I carry out these changes. Sometimes I’m happy to just have the digitally enhanced photos as proof-of concept for my personal archives.

Matchbox  ’76 Car Transporter K-10 ‘Super Kings’

K 10 Auto Carrier

As a kid, I was never very interested in commercial vehicles unless they looked like something out of Thunderbirds. I found commercial machines to be boxy and unexciting for the most part, but I did have a fascination for car transporters, so this specimen checks two boxes. The low-slung, cab-forward, uh, cab encloses a massive engine behind the driver and passenger seats, with glass roof panels to better show off the truck’s enormous 8-cylinder powerplant. The interior temperature generated by the engine in the back seat and heat gain from the glass would require a powerful AC unit and very efficient ventilation system, but hey, it’s the future – they’ll figure it out. The tires’ chunky tread appears designed to pick up and deliver vehicles to very muddy or snowy dealership lots, and since it shares its horn array with the K7, it undoubtedly plays La Cucaracha – maybe a synth-version. The headlights appear to be concealed by grilles that match the radiator intake, so I’m imagining they retract or are covered by louvers that rotate to expose them. Either way, far out man. I intend to one day detail this rig with more realistic finishes for the interior and engine.

Hot Wheels ’77 Spoiler Sport

This casting was released at the height of the 70’s vanning culture, predating the current Van Life movement by some 45 years, but with err, let’s say different underlying philosophies and goals. If the radically canted windshield flowing seamlessly from the sloped hood and the high-mounted rear wing provide any indication, you won’t have a chance to do any knockin’ on this van cuz it will be a-rockin’ at a high rate of speed to the nearest Star Trek convention. Pop-up headlights, Vista Cruiser-style roof windows, and rear louvers make this a benchmark for 70’s van design. As you can see by the before and after pics, I updated and refined this fine shaggin’ wagon, adding low profile tires on larger-diameter multi-spoked wheels, and painting it in a tastefully refined metallic blue to offset the red leather interior.  Radical, dude…

Spoiler Sport

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Hot Wheels ’84 Dream Van

Gullwing all the things! As the Europeoples of the 50s and 60s knew, it was the right thing to do then, and it’s the right thing to do now. This low-slung space capsule on wheels provides its lucky driver with a panoramic view of the interstate thorough a massive windshield, dramatically sloped for a van. Adding to its totally tubular credentials is a U-handle shifter and a CB radio, which was a must-have for staying connected with the rest of your van convoy in 1984. The rear area provides plush accommodations upholstered in saddle brown leather, luxurious deep pile carpeting, and of course a bed, which was left unmade for this photo shoot. Pretty sure the doggo is to blame, as her deer-in-the-headlights expression seems to infer. No wings or pop- up headlights here, but we do have turbine wheels with raised white letter tires, by Good Year, no less – an unbeatable 80’s combo. Note too the grille and headlights, which somehow predicted the ’89 Pontiac 6000 STE.

Dream Van

Hot Wheels ’09 Avant Garde

The 90’s were on the weak side for fantasy castings, so we’ll skip to the aughts when creativity kicked in again. This Hot Wheels model leads me to imagine what a Citroen DS Coupe would look like were it designed in 2009. The French flag colors and Franco-fantastic name support my theory, as do the large trapezoidal headlights, pointy nose, and tapering butt: all hallmarks of the OG DS sedan. It’s begging for a redone interior and more interesting wheels, which can be had from the aftermarket. Yes, you can buy aftermarket wheels for 1/64 models (and other scales), as well as seats, wings, decals and other accessories. More on another time …

Avant Garde 2
SilentAutosModels.com, Wikimedia

Hot Wheels ’16 Tour De Fast

Both Hot Wheels and Matchbox have histories of creating unique designs that compliment each other as if they were part of the same model range, which I heartily salute. Fast-forwarding seven years, I can imagine the Tour De Fast as Citroen’s shooting brake follow-up to the Avant Garde. Citroen never offered a 2-door version of its Safari Estate, sadly, although there seems to have been at least one custom one-off.  The very well done photochop below provides a taste. The Hot Wheels version is fittingly equipped to carry spare bikes for the Tour De France, the most-Frenchiest of sporting events, so when I take this one apart to repaint it and apply tiny, tiny Citroen badging, I may also add a few baguettes to the passenger seat.

Tourdefrance Carlos 3
Wikimedia, Sebastian Motsch (with permission of the artist), Wikimedia

Tour De Fast+avant Garde

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Hot Wheels ’08 Fast Fish

The brilliant design teams at Mattel leave no genre untouched, as this alternate reality muscle car shows. Fast Fish is obviously a call back to the famed ‘Hemi Cudas of yore, and it deftly modernizes the muscle car aesthetic for the 21st century, combing chiseled Gundam-style details, the traditional low-set, broad-shouldered proportions of the coolest American coupes from the 60’s and 70’s, and a “big and little wheel” stance. This would be a worthy and stunning replacement for the recently retired Challenger, and it’s a lot more athletic and agile-looking than the Chally in my opinion.

Fast Fish

This is a good time to remind you that these are (roughly) 1:64 scale models you can buy for a buck and a quarter at your local Target or Wally Mart, and in that context, they are pretty damn amazing. To keep costs down, product designers are typically limited to four components (and a set of wheels, of course): the body, the chassis, an interior insert, and glass (which is plastic, of course). And so, the designers have be clever to include as many interesting and realistic details as possible while sticking to the rules. Sometimes that means we get chrome interiors to get reflective headlights as the ones peering from deeply set grilles in this design, but it’s a trade-off I gladly accept. Besides, that’s easily addressed by drilling out the rivets, disassembling the car and painting the super shiny interior.

Hot Wheels ’24 Drift’n Break

Borrowing a page from the Matchbox Team and hot on the heels of the Fast Fish (umm, 16 year later), a shooting brake muscle car two-door sport wagon arrives to share the garage. Although it’s not strictly a Fast Fish with a wagon back, the shared DNA is unmistakable, and as a big fan of shooting brakes, I welcome this modern Magnum to the collection.

Drift'n Break

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I‘ve seen the next-gen Challenger, and as cool as it is, I feel the Dodge design team could do worse than integrate some aspects of these two non-Mopars (wink, wink).  Just as the Fast Fish’s metallic green could have been pulled from a Mopar paint catalog from the 60‘s, the Drift’n Break (terrible name) is finished in what could be Plum Crazy. I immensely dislike the wheels, but I’m hoping the next variation comes with less garish rims; but if not, there’s always the aftermarket, or my spare wheel bin, for less money.

Ff+tdf

Hot Wheels ’18 HW50 

If, like me, you often daydream about a Custom Rod that was designed in a Star Wars universe, the HW50 is a tiny physical manifestation of that dream. The wheels-at-the-corners stance is pure hot rod, as is the chopped cabin, cab-rearward proportions and long engine bay, probably housing a twin turbine ion engine with in-line turbothrust capacitors, which are all the rage across the system. Fat steamroller tires with turbofan-inspired disc wheels push this into a universe I would love to visit and drive in. Just imagine if this had been built as a 1:1! It would have crushed at SEMA and been on many auto e-zine’s landing pages. It’s a modern day Prowler, but better executed. I don’t mind the cyberpunk graphics, but if that’s not your cup of Moogan Tea, it has been released in other liveries.

Hw50

 

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Hot Wheels ’22 Dimachinni Veloce

Mattel has been on fire with imaginative releases for the past ten years, dramatically increasing the diversity, detail and uniqueness of their offerings, both in the models of “real things” and in-house UD designs. This one is simply epic, especially in its Alitalia-inspired guise. It’s clearly inspired by wedgy 70’s Italian sports cars, and integrates many cool quirky details they were known for. I see elements of a Lamborghini Jarama, Ferrari 308GT4 and Maserati Khamsin, and a general whiff of period Bertone.

Dimachinni Veloce
etsy

Angular forms, pop-up headlights, and rear louvers á la Lambo Miura and Stratos are period essential, and the oversized mud-flaps and integrated auxiliary driving lights complete the rally spec. If you showed up in an 1:1 version of this to the Concorso Italiano at Pebble Beach, you would be admitted like royalty, and absolutely slay the local Cars and Coffee. This seems like it would be a front engine / rear drive 2+2 GT, powered by a 3 to 5 liter V12 or V8, but certainly nothing smaller. As soon as I check off the other 987 things off my to-do list I swear I’ll detail all three versions I have and make one into a stradale street version. I love this thing with a passion.

Dimachinni Veloce Blue

The Influencers
Wikimedia/Mr Choppers, Wikimedia/Maskham

Hot Wheels ’23 El Segundo Coupe

Named after the Los Angeles suburb in which Mattel is headquartered, this looks like a retro-modern sports car that could have been made by a boutique brand like TVR or Ginetta. Creativity rarely happens in a vacuum, and with dozens of castings to design every year without the luxury of the development schedules of 1:1 cars, Mattel designers absorb inspiration from whenever they can. I see 60’s influences from Miura to Ferrari 330 GTO, with a dash of OG Nissan Fairlady Z, beautifully proportioned and refined for modern times. I imagine this being slightly larger than a Toyota GR-86, powered by a twin turbo I6 or V6, perhaps coupled to a rear transaxle. It looks agile and toned but approachable, unlike seemingly every modern car with their look-like squinty angry robot faces. I very much want a fairy godmother to wave this into 1:1 fully functioning existence, as I’m sure it would fit me perfectly and then I could lay some 11s all the way to the ball. Just don’t make it out of glass, if anyone’s listening.

El Segundo Coupes

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Inspiration
Wikimedia/Thomas Vogt, Wikimedia/zantafio56 ,Wikimedia/Rockymtnskier

Matchbox ‘03 4×4 Buggy

I end this piece with one for off -road enthusiasts, a prime example of a casting that was all too easily dismissed and forgotten, because just look at how it left the factory: cartoonish tires, no tampos, and in most versions, adorned with graphics targeting 4 year olds. Why do they get to have all the fun?  The uber generic name doesn’t help either. A quick swap to more realistically-sized wheels, a repainted and accented interior and exterior details, and this bit o’coal is polished into a diamond, or a least a cubic zirconia, looking like a concept Jeep might reveal at their annual Jamboree.

Beach 4x4 Copy

Toy designers put a ton of fun and interesting detail into their castings, touches that often tell a story about the imaginary world the design is supposed to exist in. In the front area alone, camouflaged by monochromatic shiny plastic, are a finely textured air intake grille, several types of lighting, turn signals, a beefy skid plate, and a dimensional brand badge. On the body, hinges and door handles and light bars beg to be enhanced.  The interiors in 1:64 mainline cars (as opposed to the premium items that cost 15-20 times more) are also rife with molded-in items and Easter eggs. I derive great enjoyment from calling them out with different paints and finishes, accentuating the designer’s underlying narrative and elevating a mere dollar-and-change impulse item to an interesting collectible automotive art-snack. It’s quite addictive, and unlike most vices, not very expensive.

These are but just a few of my favorites, and there are so many more unique designs I’d like to share with you, dear readers. Perhaps I will at some later date, but in the meantime I hope you can begin to appreciate the less popular kids from the scale car world. As always, Praise The Funk!

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Photos by the author from his personal collection unless otherwise noted.

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Matchbox Celebrates 70 Years Of Making Tiny Cars With These Special Zinc Models – The Autopian

 

 

 

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GG
GG
12 days ago

That ’77 Spoiler Sport is such a cute chunky little whale with your repaint. Your digital mockup of the ’09 Avant Garde classes it up considerably! My standout favorites for sure. I hope you do more customizing.

I’m impressed at your manufacturing knowledge to determine how feasible some of the stranger designs might be made in real world scale.

Rose Horsangchai
Rose Horsangchai
12 days ago

This is a very interesting observation into the world of unlicensed model cars. Very entertaining article. Please give us more!

Jeff Gorvette
Jeff Gorvette
12 days ago

Love this article! I’ve only started getting into collecting diecasts recently, but the previous article was one of my favorites, inspired me to start cataloguing my (comparatively small) collection. My takeaway here is to one day start modifying my collection as well. Not sure I have the patience or talent for that though…

The unlicensed designs are frequently overlooked, I’ve got the El Segundo Coupe and Veloce sitting right on my desk. I also really like the GT-Scorcher and Glory Chaser. I’m also partial to the Hot Wheels animal inspired designs, I love seeing how the designers integrate the animal shapes with space for a hypothetical driver and engine bay.

Last edited 12 days ago by Jeff Gorvette
Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
12 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Gorvette

Welcome to the Dark Side!

John Beef
John Beef
12 days ago

Spoiler Sport!! I had one, and the ’76 Car Transporter K-10 ‘Super Kings’ as well. I was an 80s kid. I think my parents still have some of these!

Stephen Bierce
Stephen Bierce
13 days ago

Still can’t post images here? Shucks. I was so inspired by this article that I went out into the wild of local retail shops this afternoon. I bagged three HW cars, one of which is an El Segundo Coupe in Lotus/JPS black with gold pinstripes (INNER CHILD: YAAAAAY!). My craving is yet to be sated as I now want a Dimacchini Veloce, preferably in the blue #34 scheme.
In my travels I reminded myself that I have on my shelf of scale models in limbo, an incomplete Revell IMSA Ford Mustang that came with a busted body. Ever since I’ve wanted a replacement body for that…and the Veloce probably would fit if it were enlargened to scale. I can get a 3D scanner. I can get a 3D printer. I already have 3D modeling software. I can make it better than it would ever have been back in 1987.

Stephen Bierce
Stephen Bierce
13 days ago
Reply to  Stephen Bierce

Of course, Fields Auto Works makes the Cardinal Coupe, which is the same general shape as the El Segundo, but not as stylistically refined. An El Segundo body kit for the Cardinal is a possibility, if not necessarily a practicability. Maybe the answer is not Miata.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
13 days ago
Reply to  Stephen Bierce

Interesting… I didn’t know this existed! Constantly amazed by the knowledge brought forth from fellow Autopians! The rear reminds me a lot of the 60’s Alfa Romeo TZs (Tubolare Zagato).

Miata is always a good answer, but not the only one. : )

Last edited 13 days ago by Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
13 days ago
Reply to  Stephen Bierce

Glad I was able to inspire you! ALWAYS support your inner child!

Gerontius Garland
Gerontius Garland
13 days ago

The El Segundo Coupe screams “modern Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe” to me, which is why that casting lives with that part of my collection. There’s also a keychain version (which actually debuted first) called Coupe Clip.

Funny thing about the HW50: it was supposed to be a full-size car. I remember watching a video of them building it on a Viper chassis. I checked the HW wiki, and it simply states that it was never finished. Here’s a shot of them working on it:

https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/hotwheels/images/1/1d/Vlcsnap-2022-02-16-22h19m42s039.png/revision/latest?cb=20220217042040

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
12 days ago

Dead link but I wanna see!

Gerontius Garland
Gerontius Garland
12 days ago

That’s weird, it works for me. Try this one and scroll down to the gallery section.

https://hotwheels.fandom.com/wiki/HW50_Concept

Fred Fedurch
Fred Fedurch
13 days ago

^—- All this, and no mention of any of the 4 concepts (Silhouette, Beatnik Bandit, Deora, Python) in the OG Hot Wheels “Sweet 16” released in 68?

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
13 days ago
Reply to  Fred Fedurch

Some of those were scale replicas of real cars and more in the Kustom / Hot Rod world, and for this article I was focusing on unlicensed in-house designs that you could imagine seeing in our world, if you squinted.

Zorn Zornelius
Zorn Zornelius
14 days ago

This was a really fun read and rang lots of bells for me. The Dimachinni in racing green is one of my favorites in our collection, but an Art Car variation of the Fast Fish is what really hooked me (ba-dum) back into collecting Hot Wheels after my kids were old enough to appreciate them. I wish I could drive one.

IDM3
IDM3
14 days ago

That MBX 4×4 was a hard sell for me. It was released during the Hero City period, when Mattel seemed determined to kill Matchbox. I’m glad MBX overcame that threat.

The only Hero City model that went over quite well with everybody was the MBX police car, with an opening trunk. There were several variations offered between 2003 and 2011, and I have around 7 of them.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
13 days ago
Reply to  IDM3

Yeah, not a high point for MBX, but with some wheel swaps and detailing, you could get some cool results. Imma gonna have to look into that cop car and acquire some.

IDM3
IDM3
13 days ago

Perhaps the hardest one to fine is the Burger King Hero City Kids Meal premium model from 2004.That series featured four models (Police car, fire tanker, helicopter, and fire truck) in three different colors. there was also a Zamac chase model available. I’m not a Zamac fan, but I couldn’t pass that up!

Vee
Vee
14 days ago

The 90’s were on the weak side for fantasy castings

I’m sorry, what? Did you forget Hot Wheels’ Tow Jam? Deora II? Semi Fast? At-A-Tude? Semi Fast basically predicted what European trucks would look like starting around 2010. And it came out in 1998!

Also I’m pretty sure Fast Fish was supposed to be Kevin’s car from Ben 10 Alien Force. It was a stand-in for the at the time brand new 2008 neo Dodge Challenger, just without the branding, same as Grandpa Max’s GMC Motorhome from the original 2005 series. If I remember correctly, after being modified the Fast Fish is just about what Kevin’s car ended up looking like. I used to see the ads for that stupid promotion all the time of “Win Kevin’s car!” while switching back and forth between channels waiting for [adult swim] to start. I’d check to confirm this connection, but the wiki’s currently down.

Last edited 14 days ago by Vee
Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
14 days ago
Reply to  Vee

I have all of the ones you mentioned except the Deora II which I never liked. They’re cool but I was focusing on designs that looked closer to potentially being production vehicles.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
14 days ago
Reply to  Vee

Also I’m pretty sure Fast Fish was supposed to be Kevin’s car from Ben 10 Alien Force. It was a stand-in for the at the time brand new 2008 neo Dodge Challenger

This makes sense

Das_Mittel
Das_Mittel
14 days ago

Carlos!
I made an account here just to tell you how much I loved this writeup.

The Originals that Hot Wheels outputs are nothing short of amazing, yet always get looked down upon by others simply for existing. Your recognition of their potential and the fact they derive from a place of meticulous planning and good intentions is super appreciated.

Noticed that you really took a shining to the Dimachinni Veloce. In the world of HWs, this one got leaked as an unpainted sample and set the Internet on fire. I think even today if you go to Google and start typing “is the dimach-“, the search engine autofill completes to “is the dimachinni veloce a real car?” I think many of its admirers sure wanted it to be!

RE: Pull-Back Speeders Mighty K. These are upscaled preexisting vehicles (the line is going to feature customized vehicles soon that won’t have an existing 1/64 match) with official enhancements that reinterpret or add extra meaning to each car. Really recommend you try out this line some more like buying other models or multiples for customizing. The Dimachinni Veloce is part of the new roster for this year and can be ordered on Entertainment Earth

Once again, thanks for this fantastic article!

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
14 days ago
Reply to  Das_Mittel

Thanks for signing up and commenting ! I bought the Pullback Speeders Mighty K, Lo Lux and Muscle N’ Blown. The Mad Manga and Alpha Pursuit are on my radar also

Das_Mittel
Das_Mittel
14 days ago

Oh man those are all fantastic choices!

Do you have an Instagram I can follow you from or contact you to give you news about unlicensed HWs? Love em so much. Thanks!

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
14 days ago
Reply to  Das_Mittel

IG handle is luccazola

Das_Mittel
Das_Mittel
14 days ago

could you please double check the handle? couldn’t get a matching one to turn up on my end

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
14 days ago
Reply to  Das_Mittel

Sorry, misspelled my own handle! lucazzola

Das_Mittel
Das_Mittel
14 days ago

fantastic, just dropped you a line. see you around!

IDM3
IDM3
14 days ago
Reply to  Das_Mittel

“The Originals that Hot Wheels outputs are nothing short of amazing, yet always get looked down upon by others simply for existing. “

Blame that on the scalpers. Scalpers will not buy anything that isn’t a licensed original or a Treasure Hunt unless they can sell it on Ebay or at a trade show at a ridiculously high price.

Das_Mittel
Das_Mittel
13 days ago
Reply to  IDM3

of course there will always be a louder crowd that sets these preconceived notion on the monetary value of Originals. But like Carlos, I see them for their artistic value and at the end of the day it’s those who appreciate this concept that have to protect its representation and presence

What me?
What me?
14 days ago

I had the Super king!
Maybe it actually is lying somewhere at my dad’s place

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
14 days ago
Reply to  What me?

It’s calling out to you to find it and restore it. : )

Fred Fedurch
Fred Fedurch
13 days ago

Re: restos. (yeah, I have a Porsche/VAG fixation) The Welly ’84 UrQ rally car and the Hartoy 935 flachbau were both FOG (Found On Ground). The UrQ must have been a quick loss, as it was in VGC. The Porsche had seen some (ab)use and was rough. Did a body off P&P (paint ‘n panto) I’m guessing around ’90/’91 when I was doing the Tamia line of 500cc GP bikes at the time.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/yNkf85LbftRJoJgL7

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
13 days ago
Reply to  Fred Fedurch

Soooo much easier and cheaper than restoring 1:1 cars!

Christoph3D
Christoph3D
14 days ago

Great entertaining article once again, thank you Carlos! The transporters are amazing, especially the Daytona. Unrealistic, but amazing.
The Avant Garde is clearly the car that Citroen doesn’t know they need. The Spoiler Sport (imaginative name…?) is just begging for an A-Team van paint treatment, no?
Though despite all of the fantastic details shown I have to say the one that caught my eye is the unmade bed and the dog in the Dream Van’s interior. Lovely addition by the designer that could have easily been omitted, but now it’s a happier toy.

Ethan Saks
Ethan Saks
15 days ago

This was a hilarious article. My favorite was the 2 door citroen. I could definitely see some baguettes on the baguette rack mounted on top.

Molly
Molly
15 days ago

These are awesome. I like the ‘18 HW50 (definite villain vibes) and the ’77 Spoiler Sport— good call on the paint job though

The Dude
The Dude
15 days ago

Fun fact: Hot Wheels designed the body of the Toyota baja racing truck that Ivan Stewart drove in the 90s.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
15 days ago
Reply to  The Dude

What?! Really? Why? How?

The Dude
The Dude
15 days ago

My understanding is, that after Toyota moved to the class 1 (technically a buggy class – their truck was a forebearer to the Trophy Truck as it was more of a buggy with a truck looking body) their truck looked really strange (which is true I’ve seen the pics) so they went to Mattel to clean up the design.

Last edited 15 days ago by The Dude
Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
15 days ago
Reply to  The Dude

That’s an amazing tidbit. Love it! Do you mean this one I wonder?:

Hot Wheels Toyota Off-Road Truck

The Dude
The Dude
14 days ago

That’s it!

Toecutter
Toecutter
15 days ago

I remember the Oldsmobile concepts of the 80s and 90s in part because of the toys I’ve come across during my childhood. The Silhouette II musclecar/hot rod/sports car/whatever concept prompted me to try to look it up when I had library internet access as a middle school student many years later.

Because I searched for info on that car in 1997, I discovered there was a minivan concept called the Silhouette, and seems to have inspired the Trans-port and Lumina APV minivans, in addition to its own namesake making it to production as an Oldsmobile. But the Silhouette II appears to have never been a real car and only a toy. Which while searching for any info I could get on it, and getting disappointed that it was a minivan, led me to discovering the Aerotech that same day, which was one slippery bastard whose form IMO should have been made into a viable passenger vehicle(even if it fits only 2 people, but I think an elongated 2+2 would be possible or maybe even McLaren F1 style 1+2).

The Silhouette II was an amazing and imaginative design, but was never a real car. I was disappointed. In my mind, it could have been, precisely because it was absurd, and I’d seen most of the absurd baroque GM crap from the 70s and 80s I saw as a kid in the 80s/90s. Seeing the Silhouette II toy was like imagining that a terribly non-streamlined baroque vehicle shape is actually a streamliner. I loved it. But the Aerotech is something that existed which I gladly stumbled upon, and it out-did the Silhouette II’s shape in every way that mattered in the real world while maintaining some of those aesthetic aspects of that goofy toy that I actually liked about it, by one neat trick. It was similar in shape to the Silhouette II except… BACKWARDS. And the shape in real world usage was at least enough practical to build a usable concept car out of the Aerotech’s design, the slipperiness in-tact. Since the Aerotech looked a lot like the Silhouette II toy car, except it was in the reverse direction, I was absolutely smitten. I often think about what could have been, without at the time knowing or understanding the physics of why this car was important.

The better part of a decade later, I discovered that the Lumina APV had a surprising Cd value for the era of 0.30(while much lower was possible, 0.30 was unheard of for any production version of that type of vehicle in that time period).

As an adult, I realize that an Aerotech-shaped thing(with the Aerotech’s functionally low drag, or very close to it making the minimum compromises to its shape just to make it legal) with stout GM RWD mechanicals, would have been an amazing platform to offer an inexpensive base model sports car or sporty car with a lineup of engines/packages for all budgets during the early 1990s. Back when the less-slippery Pontiac Banshee was capturing imaginations of people, especially kid-me, but whose design language could ALSO lend itself well to an Aerotech-like CdA value if it was re-proportioned to fit the wind tunnel’s dictates while being a sort of pseudo-Banshee.

A spiritual successor to the Fiero could have been made using the slipperiness enabled by a streamliner inspired by the Aerotech/Banshee concepts as a starting point. Maybe even offer a 2+2 variant. And a possible halo car in multiple facets both performance and economy-related with a wide variety of options for the buyer to choose from, serving as a halo car for economy at one end up to a fire-breathing supercar that can keep with a Corvette(or even lap it). Imagine this, a Pontiac Banshee-like car but with slippery enough drag that it’s functionally like a salt flats racer in terms of its low drag.

Perhaps packages could have been, starting at the low end and ending at the premium end, the following:

-Iron Duke
-1L G10/1L G10 turbocharged
-LK0 I4/L24 I4/LL0 I4(and turbo variants of the fours)
-3800 V6/3800 V6 Supercharged
-LT1 V8 NA or with turbo or supercharger options.

GM could have sold aftermarket kits to upgrade these cars in stages that could be done DIY or with retaining a warrantee by paying a GM dealership.

You could have at the lowest end, an iron-duke turd capable of 0-60 mph in about 10 seconds but topping out at 150+ mph, is light and corners like a Miata, and gets like 90+ mpgs doing 55 mph on the highway, all the way to a fire-breathing 220+ mph supercar that uses standard GM parts bin stuff like the Corvette does, still gets 40+ mpg highway, and then offer the buyer anything and everything in-between in historic GM fashion, for all new-car buyers regardless of their respective budgets.

AND as a bonus, they could have used THIS as a basis for an EV1 variant. The EV1 was not a true, dedicated sports car, but a sporty-ish car. An electric sports car well over a decade before Tesla existed could have been a thing with the tech of the time. And a very potent thing with a lead acid battery pack powering an AC Propulsion AC150 drivetrain, an then getting some serious range if upgraded to a NiMH pack sized to max out the AC150’s input, while having an inexpensive mass-production platform available to build the EV out of.

For the last 4 decades or so, perhaps only on kids’ toys did we see most of the imagination that conceived the product that is physically in the world making it through to the products we are actually able to buy.

And sure as shit, Matchbox sold an Oldsmobile Aerotech scale model toy when I was 4. I never encountered it as a child, but if I would have an discovered what an Aerotech was, in the early 90s I’d have been likely to have attempted to look it up or at least find some mention of it repeatedly in as many libraries as I could get access to pre-internet era(and it was slim pickin’s at the local libraries whether at the local elementary schools or city libraries, but I’d have actively sought info on that car like I did many others). Pre-internet era, I had no idea the Aerotech existed.

These toys were one thing that sparked a curiosity in cars, and without that Silhouette II Hotwheels car as a Christmas gift, I might not have come across the Aerotech for many years, probably not until high school or college when I was trying to find an EV donor chassis and became interested in ground vehicle aerodynamics which led me to discover many interesting and outrageous concept cars. Some of them I discovered in middle school, without knowing their importance until then… The GM Impact was one of them, although I’m not aware of a toy version of that(don’t get me started on the GM Ultralite and Lean Machine, which did exist as toys and real-world concepts like the Aerotech did!).

Last edited 15 days ago by Toecutter
CrystalEyes
CrystalEyes
14 days ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Another fan of the Lean Machine!

Industrial_design_guy
Industrial_design_guy
15 days ago

What I love about these is the exploration of an alternate car universe. Designers can imagine “what if” scenarios, even though they can’t attribute them to a known car maker

Toecutter
Toecutter
15 days ago

That’s what I just did as a result of this article…

SAABstory
SAABstory
15 days ago

Kid version of me would be at your house every day wanting you to mod my Hot Wheels/Matchbox collection. This is so fun. More, please.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
15 days ago
Reply to  SAABstory

Modding 1/64 $1 toy cars has become quite the thing. I thought I was a weirdo for doing it several ago, until I discovered a vibrant and stupidly talented community. Seriously, some of them are tiny works of customizing and they showcase jaw dropping craftsmanship and detail. An article to follow on that soonish, I hope.

Industrial_design_guy
Industrial_design_guy
15 days ago

Some of the guys that chop them up into RC drift cars, usually out of Malaysia and that part of the world, are unreal. I follow some of their builds on YouTube. Looking forward to seeing your article.

IDM3
IDM3
13 days ago

I like to restore old beaters with new wheels and some paint. My favorites are the generic brand models. It’s nice to turn something bland into something exciting with a nice wheel swap.

Cerberus
Cerberus
15 days ago

When I was in design school, Hot Wheels was one of the top dream jobs for fairly obvious reasons. At the time (mid ’90s), IIRC, there were only about 25 of them, so it wasn’t an easy gig to get.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
15 days ago
Reply to  Cerberus

If I had stayed in transportation design in college I might have been working there by now. I ca just imagine all the free toy cars I could have gotten…

Cam.man67
Cam.man67
15 days ago

Great post! Unlicensed castings are not an area I spend much time looking at, but I agree the Dimacchini Veloce is pretty rad. The Glory Chaser is another I find quite nice. My favorite, however, has to be the Mighty K…kei trucks will never cease to be cool, licensed or not.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
15 days ago
Reply to  Cam.man67

I love love LOOOOOVE Kei cars, and I grab everyone I can. The Might K is obviously HW’s take on a Subaru Sambar racing truck, for which there’s a series in Japan. I just picked up a 1/32 version from HW’s Pull-Back Speeders line. I don’t care much for motion toy cars, but it’s very nicely done, with of course more detail, and the doors open, so lots to enhance.

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