Colors & Graphics

Spectraflame Paint
Hot Wheels were initially painted with Spectraflame paint. Spectaflame paint is transparent and when applied to a polished metal body creates a realistic metallic finish.

Due to differences in where a vehicle was produced, changes in paint mixtures, exposure to light, toning, and other variables, Spectraflame colors can have a variety of shades and variations. Determining a vehicle’s color is often difficult.

This site uses the standard Spectraflame colors available for each car, but avoids the more subjective colors. Spectraflame colors used include antifreeze, aqua, blue, brown, copper, creamy pink, gold, green, hot pink, light blue, light green, lime, magenta, olive, orange, purple, red, rose, salmon, and yellow.

Enamel Paint
In 1973, enamel paint replaced Spectraflame paint due to the health concerns of lead paint. It may also have been a cost-cutting measure.

Enamel paint is designed to be durable and creates a glossy finish. Unfortunately, enamel paint is more plain and less thrilling than Spectraflame paint. It also has a tendency to chip. On the upside, colors of enamel paint are much more consistent and easier to identify.

1974 introduced graphics, sometimes referred to as “tampos”, on Hot Wheels, once again making Hot Wheels more exciting. These graphics were applied using tampography.

Tampography is a printing process where an image is etched onto a plate. The ink-filled plate is stamped by a silicone pad transferring the image to the pad. The pad then stamps the vehicle transferring the image to the vehicle.

Only one color is used at a time. If a graphic needs three colors, three plates must be used, each with its own etched image. Learn more about tampography at Wikipedia.

An interior is the part of the vehicle that is usually plastic and often has details like seats, a dashboard, and steering wheel. Much like Spectraflame paint colors, the shades of interior colors vary due to age, exposure to the elements, or changes in production. Naming is often subjective.

White interiors may also be referred to as off-white, ivory, light, or cream.

Tan interiors may also be referred to as beige, champagne, midtone, or light brown.

Brown interiors may also be referred to as bronze, or dark brown. Both brown and black are sometimes referred to as dark interiors.

Grey interiors may also be referred to as silver.

These are not all of the possible colors. There are a variety of other interior colors depending on the vehicle.

To maintain consistency, this site tries to use color names like “white”, “tan”, and “brown”. More abstract terms such as “light”, “midtone”, and “dark” are avoided.

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