Question: What company has made the most cars over the past 50 years? Guess again. The correct answer is Hot Wheels! The Mattel brand has created more cars than we have people on the planet. Fortunately, these don’t require a ton of room to park each. That’s reason enough to have a Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary party.
Back in 1968, the fledgling die-cast model division on Mattel launched with its “Sweet Sixteen” cars. These were capturing America’s passion with autos, and that fever is still burning today.
Celebrating the first half-century of its existence, the Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary at its corporate HQ in El Segundo brings out the big cars. The full-size reproductions of Hot Wheels past and present remind us that a little kid’s dreams can indeed become a big kid’s reality. A few of the mega size models on hand are the Twin Mill, the Deora II, and the 50th Anniversary Camaro.
While this would typically be enough, the vast grounds are littered with all manner of cool cars that typify what it means to be a Hot Wheels. And, that’s a good thing, as one of these has the opportunity to become a future Hot Wheels model. We don’t relish the job the judges have given this field of all-stars. On the other hand with judges like Hot Wheels’ own Larry Wood, Chris Down, and Bryan Benedict, at least the winner will be a car that kids of all ages will love.
Sharing the love for the Hot Wheels 50th is another local legend and a guy that has petrol running in his veins, Jay Leno. Coincidentally, he’s also celebrating his birthday. However, we have it on good authority that Jay Leno might be a few years older than the Hot Wheels.
The thousands on hand range from your average 6-year old, to artisan Guido Brenner and his Von Zipper (a full-size replica of the Hot Wheels Red Baron). Also, mixed among the enthusiasts is race car driver extraordinaire Tommy Kendall. Tommy is just as blown away by the cars as the crowds at the Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary party.
“My favorite Hot Wheels, wow. Probably, maybe one of the Ed Roth [cars] back in the day. I don’t remember specifics, but I remember how big a deal they were” states Kendall. Tommy continues, “As I’m sure everyone tells the [same] story, literally the gateway into the industry. I’ve learned, I’ve watched certain kids … I think you either have an affinity or an attraction or you don’t. It’s weird, I don’t know. Just some people have an ear for music, some don’t, some people are drawn to art, some aren’t. For me, literally, I was drawn to the cars, and then I was fortunate to make a career out of it. But, the cars were the beginning for me, the little Hot Wheels.”
Hot Wheels wants to share the 50th Anniversary party experience with everyone. And, as everyone can’t make it to Southern California, Hot Wheels is taking the party on the road. And, the judges will be searching for a winning car that will be made into a model across America. This road trip will be hitting 14 Wal-Mart locations, and wrapping up at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
One lucky winner will be included in the new “Sweet 16” chosen by the judges to be turned into a model sold around the world, and win a trip to SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
Don’t tell the folks at Mattel, but one doesn’t have to go to Vegas to be a winner, just show up at a participating Wal-Mart. That might be the first time anyone has ever said that in the past 50 years!