Model Cars Posts

Thirteen Awesome Hot Wheels Cars Based On Not-So-Great Real Cars

For almost half a century, Hot Wheels vehicles have fueled the imagination of kids with their cool, innovative, wild toy car designs. While many of them are pure fantasy creations, a lot are based on real cars. And in a few cases, they are based on regrettable, forgettable, even horrible cars. Here some examples of when the folks at Mattel turned head-scratching automotive duds into head-turning models.

Poison Pinto (Ford Pinto)

Hot Wheels Ford Pinto Poison

Unreliable at best, explosive at worst, the Pinto was a disaster waiting to happen, especially when tapped from behind. This miniature panel wagon hot rod at least looks like it could outrun anything trying to hit that rear bumper/trigger.

Open Fire, Greased Gremlin, Gremlin Grinder (AMC Gremlin)

Hot Wheels AMC Greased Gremlin Open Fire

In retrospect, the Gremlin wasn’t a really terrible car, it just wasn’t terribly reliable or sturdy. Heck, you could even get one with a Levi’s denim interior. Hot Wheels has tried to redeem this compact hatchback with several versions, including the six-wheeled Open Fire shown above.

Front Runnin’ Fairmont (Ford Fairmont)

Hot Wheels Ford Fairmont Stocker

Remember the Ford Fairmont? Of course not, because there was nothing noteworthy about the styling or performance. It was perfectly… adequate. They were used for stock car racing in the 1980s, so Hot Wheels created a version that could at least be painted in lots of cool liveries.

Custom V-8 Vega (Chevrolet Vega)

Hot Wheels Chevy Vega

The Vega redefined depreciation in the 1970s by rusting while still in the showroom. But hot rodders had all kinds of fun modifying them, and the small scale model represents one of those hopped-up, tricked out cars. Also, diecast metal doesn’t rust, so that’s an improvement.

80 El Camino (1980 Chevrolet El Camino)

Hot Wheels Chevy El Camino 80s

For a vehicle allegedly designed to haul things in style, the last generation El Camino was underpowered and not very exciting to look at. That didn’t stop the designers at Hot Wheels from lowering the suspension and raising the hood bulge to make it a little bit more desirable.

Amphicar (Amphicar 770)

Hot Wheels Amphicar

What’s not to like about a floating car with a built in propeller? In theory, it’s fantastic, but in reality, it was a poor boat and an even worse car. The Hot Wheels version has a much bigger motor in the back, so it should be able to pull some skiers at least.

Chevy Lumina Van (Chevrolet Lumina APV)

Hot Wheels Chevy Lumina APV Van

The APV van was an odd spaceship-looking contraption, and when you sat in the driver’s seat, the steering wheel was actually a couple inches off center. Yuck! Hot Wheels didn’t alter the basic design much, but at least they gave it some cool paint jobs.

MetroRail (Nash Metropolitan)

throwbackmetro

The Metropolitan is a delightful little car if you don’t mind driving something that looks like Donald Duck’s jalopy. But stretch that front end to dragster proportions, and you could really burn things up the race track.

Packin’ Pacer (AMC Pacer)

Hot Wheels AMC Packin Pacer

American Motor’s Pacer was an oddball… significantly wider than most cars, and very glassy, it resembled a fishbowl on wheels. All that interior space was the perfect place to stuff a monster engine, however, so Hot Wheels did just that.

Chevy Citation (Chevrolet Citation)

Hot Wheels Chevy Citation

Really, we’re not trying to pick on Chevy here, but the “First Chevy of the Eighties” was really the “Worst Chevy of …. Ever!” The miniature model doesn’t change the basic look much, but if you squint, it does sort of look like James Bond’s Lotus Esprit submarine car. Sort of.

Whatta Drag (BMW Isetta)

Hot Wheels BMW Isetta

Sure, everyone smiles when they see one of these bubble cars on the road… until you actually drive one. “Underpowered” is an understatement. Hot Wheels turned it into a stretched three-wheeled dragster so cool that someone actually built a running real sized version of it!

Got any nominees for other Hot Wheels vehicles based on lame real cars? Let us know in the comments below!

Diecast – There’s more to it than you think…

I remember setting up and taking the first few 1:64 scale diecast pictures that I shot back in 2009. My desk was by a window in my office. I would shoot pictures on a piece of white printer paper only when the sun was shining. At that time, it was all that I had. We had an old Polaroid ‘point-and-shoot’ that we used as a family camera – I would borrow it and burn through countless AA batteries…

hot-wheels-datsun-bluebird-510-gulf-custom-1

I began participating on a few forums and was floored by some of the images I was seeing from others. Quickly, I upgraded my setup. I have always been interested in the whole DIY (Do It Yourself) thing so I decided to build myself a lightbox. Halfway through 2010, I purchased my first DSLR and tripod. This enabled me to do many more things than what the trusty old Polaroid was capable of. I could go on and on about equipment and lighting setups but let’s talk about the subject. Diecast.

I started collecting redlines back around the same time I started the whole photography thing. History has always been an interest of mine and that led me to think….very few of my redlines are in ‘mint’ condition, but each one has a story to tell.

classic-32-ford-vicky-ig

At one time they were new. Brilliant. Perfect. Hanging on the pegs at the local store, various hues shining bright in all their glory. Since then, days and days of play have taken their toll. Their magnificence is now long gone. ‘Beaters’. ‘Junkers’. ‘Fillers’. ‘Perfect for restoration’. These once loved toys are now referred to as many different names. The paint may be scratched, faded, and dull. The axles are bent and a wheel or two may be missing. The beauty – long faded away – but yet these toys are survivors.

broken-daytona

The damage they wear is unique to their history, similar to how a scar is to you. That scar happened in a specific place and time. It can be linked to an event. When you look down on that blemish you tend  to remember what you were doing and where you were when you got it. These toys have a similar story to tell, yet they have no voice. In their silence, all they can do is lend themselves to our imaginations and ask for us to interpret their exclusive story in any way we’d like.

kid-paint-DCP

Photography has taught me to see everyday things in a whole different way. I challenge you to take a minute and really look at your collection. If you are fortunate enough to still have some cars from your childhood, step back and remember those moments and listen. I bet quiet a few of them have a story to tell.

How Do They Make Those Wonderful Toys?

Ever wonder how your favorite diecast vehicles are made? Well, here’s how Matchbox did it over 50 years ago.

These two short films come from the Pathé archives, a treasure trove of amazing old clips. See how many of these cars t you can recognize! (The Jaguar XKE is featured prominently.)  The idea that the prototype is built 5 times the final size and scaled down with a pantograph is mind-blowing!

Enjoy!