By combining candy-colored paint jobs with muscle car attitude and Southern California cool, Hot Wheels cars changed the toy world forever in 1968. Fifty years after their introduction, Hot Wheels remain one of the most popular toys collected for fun and profit.
With that in mind, we pulled together our Top 10 list of greatest Hot Wheels cars of all time. The list is based on rarity and value. And while it’s true there might be cars with greater monetary value, a far as we’re concerned this list features some of the most priceless pieces of Hot Wheels history collectors can find.
10. 1995 Collector Number 271 Funny Car
It’s reported that only 12 of these cars were packaged and released on the Blue Card with white Collector Number 271 due to the way the cards were printed 12 to a sheet.
There have only been six of these Collector Number 271 Funny Cars found to still be carded today. To date, no variations of this car have been found. Note: This Hot Wheels car must be in the #271 package to realize the value noted. Furthermore, its value is $3,500 blister pack.
9. 1971 Purple Olds 442
Purple is a very rare color for this car. Most of the 442s are magenta and often get confused for the $5,000 purple color. Furthermore, there are also the more notable colors of salmon or hot pink. Value: Between $1,400 and $2,000.
Flying Colors of Cool
8. 1974 Blue Rodger Dodger
In 1985 young Bob Parker was trading Matchbox cars for Hot Wheels cars with a collector in England. The collector in England was trading Bob the U.K. Flying Colors models. In one of the boxes of assorted Flying Colors cars from England, there were two blue Rodger Dodgers. Bob knew the color was different and told him to see if he could get more. The next box had five more of them.
Bob thought he would be able to get more and started to sell them through his mail-order business. There were only seven total, and all seven went to collectors around the country. He assumed he would get more and did not keep one for himself! He continued to trade and continued to get more Flying Colors but never any more blue Rodger Dodgers. When he asked where the man in England got them, he said he was buying the Flying Colors models from a man at a monthly toy show in Germany.
Of the seven, only three were in complete packages and the other four were in the perfectly cut half packs. Value: immeasurable.
7. 1970 Ed Shaver Custom AMX
The very rare “Ed Shaver” Custom AMX was another U.K. exclusive and has only been found in blue, the color of the real Ed Shaver AMX racecar. It was packaged on the 1970 U.K. “Exclusive Racing Car Series” card, which were just like the U.S. “Exclusive Grand Prix Series” style cards but with the different name. Included in the blister pack was an “Ed Shaver” decal sheet. This is the only difference between the “Ed Shaver” car and the normal blue Custom AMX release. Ed Shaver was a U.S. serviceman based in the U.K., and Mattel sponsored his Drag Racer AMX. This specially packaged AMX is probably the most sought after die-cast AMX replica ever produced.
Even though the blue AMX was not a hard color to come by, it’s the “Ed Shaver” decals and the blister pack that it came in that make the value. These cars were given away at the racetracks where Ed raced the real car in the U.K. It was also available through a cereal mail-in and by sending in Proof-of-Purchase points from the backs of U.K. Hot Wheels cars. In addition, there are very few of these original cars still around today. Value: $4,000+ loose.
Beach Rides and Sweet Rides
6. 1968 Custom Volkswagen without Sunroof
The first Custom Volkswagens made in Hong Kong did not have a sunroof. These cars were only available in Europe, with most of them sold in Germany and the U.K. Besides no sunroof, these Volkswagens had other differences like no plastic side windows and a different interior.
Furthermore, most of these Volkswagens are blue, but a few are in aqua. And the really rare cars are in orange, red, green, and copper enamel. In 1974, Mattel re-worked the U.S. casting for the Flying Colors cars.
Although the cars were also produced in Hong Kong without a sunroof, the design is actually close to the original U.S. Custom Volkswagen. The parts of the Flying Colors Volkswagen are not interchangeable with the earlier no-sunroof Hong Kong Custom Volkswagens either. Value: $1,500+ loose.
Take a shot intermission to enjoy an episode of ‘Hot Wheels TV” with Mike Zarnock…
Inspired by Historic Figures
5. 1970 Red Baron with White Interior
With less than 10 known to exist, this is a truly rare piece. These are also prototypes with a black base and no decal on the helmet. Value: $3,000+ loose.
4. 1970 “Mad Maverick” Base Mighty Maverick
The rarity of this car is because of the word “Mad” on the base. It was originally released as “Mad Maverick” and then re-released as “Mighty Maverick.” Furthermore, I only know of two blue, one purple and one unassembled, unpainted piece. Value: immeasurable.
3. 1968 White Enamel Camaro
This car is reported to be the first Hot Wheels car produced and extremely rare to be found loose, let alone in a blister pack.
You know, I want to say that I have always remembered seeing a white Camaro hanging on the pegs when I bought my very first Hot Wheels car. I reached around it to get the Silhouette or Beatnik Bandit that was my first Hot Wheels car. Value: $2,500+ loose.
2. 1968 “Cheetah” Base Python (Hong Kong Base)
The first release of the Python as we know it had “Cheetah” for its name on its metal Hong Kong patent pending base. There was only one problem … the name “Cheetah” belonged to GM Executive Bill Thomas and his Corvette powered “Cobra Killer” race car. Once that was noted, the base and name of the car was changed to Python. Furthermore, there have only been a handful of these cars found and they are all red. Value: $10,000+ loose.
Hot Wheels Legend
1. 1969 Pink Rear-Loading Volkswagen Beach Bomb
Owned by my good friend Bruce Pascal, this car is a prototype built in 1969 with the surfboards loaded into the vehicle through the rear window rather than the released version where the boards were slid into a side pod.
This prototype was too narrow to fit and function properly with the Hot Wheels Super Charger, and this body style was never released for production. There was to be only one hot pink Rear-Loading Volkswagen Beach Bomb known to exist, so when it was found, it’s said that the current owner purchased it for a reported $72,000.
Since then another hot pink Rear- Loading Beach Bomb has been found … but that’s another story for later.
Related articles you might enjoy…:
• Me and Hot Wheels – How it all began – by Mike Zarnock
• Collector Spotlight: This toy story has a happy ending
• Corgi Toys stood for quality and innovation
• Marx & Co. toys long from forgotten
• Robots an all-time classic of early postwar toys
Enjoy a complimentary chapter from Hot Wheels: 40 Years by Angelo VanBogart. Access and download the PDF>>>