Hot Wheels Redlines

In 1968, Mattel released sixteen die-cast vehicles known as Hot Wheels. The cars featured a red line on the wheels which is how they became known as “redlines”.

Spectraflame paint was applied to the cars. When used on the vehicles’ polished metal bodies, the transparent paint created a metallic appearance. Each car was available in a variety of Spectraflame colors.

Cars came packaged on a distinctive curved blister card that had a flaming Hot Wheels logo. As an added bonus, every vehicle came with a matching wheel-shaped collector button.

Hot Wheels were a huge success and the line was expanded in 1969. New cars were added and the Grand Prix series debuted.

Expansion continued in 1970 with many new vehicles and two new series, the Heavyweights and Spoilers. A Hot Wheels Club debuted with three exclusive cars and a promotional vehicle for Jack in the Box was released. Mattel also sponsored drag racers Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen.

The Hot Wheels lineup grew once again in 1971. New vehicles in the Heavyweights and Spoilers series were released. It was the last year cars would be made in the U.S. and Hong Kong.

Only seven die-cast cars were released in 1972 and they were all produced in Hong Kong. Collector buttons were no longer included and it was the last year for Spectraflame paint.

Major changes occurred in 1973. Spectraflame paint was replaced with enamel paint and the flaming blister card was changed to a rectangular blue card. Shell Oil Company also had a Hot Wheels promotion with 10 different vehicles.

1974 introduced printed graphics to Hot Wheels. Cars were now decorated with colorful designs. Packaging changed once again. “Flying Colors” was featured on a blister card with a white background.

Two motorcycles were debuted in 1975 and the “Flying Colors” blister card now had a blue background. Herfy’s, a fast food restaurant, had six promotional vehicles.

Many new vehicles and reissues were released in 1976 as well as eighteen chrome cars. They were part of the Super Chromes series. Toys “R” Us also had a promotional vehicle.

1977 was the last year for redline wheels. They were phased out in favor of black wall wheels. Although Hot Wheels continued to be a popular die-cast toy, it was the end of the redline era.

The goal of is to catalog and organize all of the Hot Wheels redlines that were released from 1968 to 1977. Hopefully making them easier for Hot Wheels fans to collect and enjoy.

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