If you’re going to the Hot Wheels Collectors Convention in Los Angeles in October, make sure to set aside time for a special event with long-time designers Bob Rosas and Larry Wood.
Bob Rosas, Eric Tscherne, Redline collector Dave Lopez and Larry Wood discuss a few Hot Wheels cars on display. Photo by the late Roy Nakamura
Wood (left) and Rosas work on the design for the Firebird Funny Car.
hobbyDB will host a “ Hot Wheels Fireside Chat ” with both men. Friday, October 6 at 4pm. We will be onstage interviewing Rosas and Wood, featuring questions from Hot Wheels fans around the world. If you’d like to suggest a question for either or both of them, please post it in the comments below (include your name and where you’re from, please).
Even if you’re not planning to attend the convention (tickets are sold out), you can participate by submitting questions. We’ll be featuring the interview on YouTube shortly afterwards.
There is no additional fee to attend the chat, but seats will be limited and on a first come basis. The event is scheduled to last around 90 minutes and should feature discussions of about 20 questions. The exact room location will to be announced soon.
Rosas designed Hot Wheels cars from 1969 to 1988. He worked on developing many series including Mean Machines Motorcycles, Steering Rigs, Ultra Hots, and Real Riders. One of his big contributions to the diecast hobby was working on improving the tampo process in the 1970s. The intricately designed graphics you see on model cars today wouldn’t be possible without his efforts.
Wood also joined Hot Wheels in 1970, and is still with the company as a consultant. His first design was the Tri-Baby in 1970. He also created the ’49 Merc, the Boyd Coddington collector set, the Ramblin’ Wrecker (which originally featured his phone number on its sides) as well as several school bus designs. Rosas and Wood are both members of the Diecast Hall of Fame.
The first part is now published, we will link to all five parts as they get published
I’d love to know if any of the work you did on Barbie and Big Jim found it’s way into Hot Wheels!
After his great work at Mattel, did Mr. Rosas stay in the model car business or move to another industry?
I would like to know if you guys are going to bring back some of the hotwheels that you guys designed that hasn’t been made for a while. please let me know and thank you my friends thumbs up.
I am sure both of them would bring them all back! But they are not working there anymore – actually Larry does some consulting but decisions on what to reissue are done by others. We will ask that question for you to the Hot Wheels Marketing team.
Question: What do they think of the hobby today?
Hi Larry! When you used to put your phone numbers on your cars, I always wondered how many phone calls you would get, and also what people would ask you. Thanks so much for doing this, so much fun!
One thing I always wanted to know is why did Larry Wood retire when he did? Why then? He was at the top of his game, had control of the department and could have stayed full-time as long as he wanted to doing what he loved! Is there a reason why he retired when he did? Did he feel burned out or sort of reached his peak and accomplished all he wanted to in business?
I like to know which of their many castings Bob and Larry (a) had most fun designing and (b) like the most. It would also be good to hear how both of them started with Mattel.
I like to ask why Mattel is not pushing Hot Wheels in the Middle East? We barely get some basics HWs and absolutely no special models. Mattel should make special cars for the Middle East with Arabic themes! Corgi did this in the 80s and Majorette are doing it now and they have a big hit with the Dubai Police series!
Thanks for the question. As they both do not work there anymore we will ask this question to the folks at Hot Wheels marketing and revert back here once we got an answer.
This is for Larry Wood. Since he designed the ’65 Mustang Convertible, and several other Mustangs, what Mustang casting was his favorite one to design, and why?
Who thought of adding a ‘Collector Number’ to the Hot Wheels in 1989?
Great question as I think the Collector Number helped revive collector’s interest at the time. Now I have to come up with my own good question.
I would love to know who they hang out with as there was so much action in California at that time. Which racing drivers or designers from the big car brands did they work with? Did they race? What cars were they driving? Must have been a great time!
I always wanted to know why sometimes a model is based on a real car, but the name of the model isn’t. For example, Hot Wheels produced a Ferrari 308 but it was named Race Bait 308. Do you only acquire the rights to the casting but not the name of the car?
I would like to ask the gentlemen A. who came up with the Sizzlers concept and B. how they chose the castings for the first prototype bodies. If either or both of them (LW, BR) were involved, perhaps they could speak about the Sizzlers line from concept to production, noting some of the challenges they experienced as well as the ultimate success of the product line.
Thanks for the opportunity to be part of the discussion.
For both Bob and Larry:
What is the essence of a Hot Wheels car? What makes a Hot Wheels car a Hot Wheels car? What qualities must it possess?
South Bend, Indiana
I understand both gentlemen worked on the Lickety Six which seems clearly based on the Tyrrell P34, was it changed as it was just a toy or was it difficult/expensive to get a license to model the actual car?
Why do you think some HW models now days have extraordinary detail and dedication while other are total flops. It seems supervision is not equal for all models.
I would ask; “In the early years of Hot Wheels, what competitors did you monitor the closest? What were your thoughts of the Matchbox, Husky, and Topper brands? Any other off brands from that era you respected?”
To either Bob or Larry,
Was there ever a car that you were happy with on paper, but when you saw the finished casting for the first time, you were more excited about it than you thought you would be? Any that stand out as surprising favorites?
Nate, Columbus, OH
Can you talk about a few cars that you were going to make and did not or about Hot Wheels concepts that could not be done and what happened?
To both legendary gentleman, are your’ll aware of the massive and growing followings in Africa, Europe etc.? What can the industry do to better cater for these markets and collectors? We sometimes feel left i the dark and have no choice but to resort to middle men on the internet.
Hi Trino, thanks for your question! This might be a better question for the person who runs marketing for Hot Wheels/Mattel for that part of the world and I will pass it on to see if I can get an answer for you. It would help to know where you are based, could you please let me know?
Hi Joschik I am based in South Africa. The distributors here have no idea what a collector needs. They are more interested in track sets, 5 packs etc. They flood the market with certain releases leaving stores with an abundance of stock. In the process we miss other cases. We have hundreds if not thousands of collectors in our country.
As I collect TV/Movie themed Cars, my question is, Will there be any new releases for the Retro Entertainment series that have graced the Silver Screen as well as the Small Screen? I have everyone released to date in the Retro Entertainment series. Thank you from Western Australia
Hi Michael, both Bob and Larry do not work at Hot Wheels anymore (not quite true as Larry still does some consulting but not re what gets released). I will ask the question to the Hot Wheels marketing team and come back to you post the convention.
Are the collaborations with Magnus Walker or Kaido House as cool as they appear to be on social media? How much input do the collaborators get into design?
Will Hot Wheels be expanding into mobile apps to augment the playing experience with their physical products? Since other toy brands are branching out into ‘digital toys’.
Why do so many cars end up with large rear wheels?
Would do please do a special edition Hot Wheels Dodge Demon with opening hood doors just once more?
Hi LALD Guys, these are excellent questions for the Hot Wheels Marketing team (remember Bob does not work there anymore and Larry is only doing one-off projects these days). I will report back what I heard.
The Torrero and Turbofire were the first original designs in the range. How did Hot Wheels decide to include original designs in the range? Was it always planned? How did you approach designing them?
Was the decision to drop the spectraflame finishes the first cost-cutting measure or did you think kids would prefer the bright enamel colors?
On the redline Rolls Royce and Mercedes 280SL, the hoods open the wrong way (they are hinged at the windshields) but the Custom Corvette and Maserati Mistral have their hoods hinged correctly so they open toward the front of the car. How did that happen, was it a mistake or was it intentional?
In the 1980’s blackwall era, HW made some unusual (for HW) choices of cars like the Pontiac J2000, Omni 024, Cadillac Seville, Ford Escort, Renault LeCar, Peugeot 505 and most notably the Dodge Aries Wagon and Chevy Citation. All were also in realistic paint colors, without wild graphics. These are all cool models but they’re much more “ordinary” cars than HW were famous for up until then, and in more recent times. Did you consciously decide to try making more “everyday” cars or was this coincidental and just because this was what Detroit was producing at the time?
Is it true that Hot Wheels was going to make a DeLorean back in the 80’s, but then had to modify the casting and released it as the Turismo? If so, why did this happen?
Whose idea was the Hot Seat. And why?! Did anyone complain about Hot Wheels making a toilet on wheels?
Larry always drove amazing cars, some of which made it into my collection (just a lot smaller!) and I think rob has an interest in Early 60s Muscle Cars. Can you get the guys talk about their full-size cars a bit?
*%c$, I had wanted to add an image to this!
I am fan of the 1970 range (those were the first I got) and always wanted to know what were the stories behind the Tri Baby, the Mantis, the Peepin’ Bomb and the Whip Creamer – can you tell me something about the inspiration of these? I have been thinking about these now for almost 50 years!
Was there ever a design or casting that you “fought” over? Meaning… one you both wanted to design, one you debated on the HW “interpretation of,” etc? Who “won,” and why?
I have a casting of the ( 2 solaire cx4) I’ve looked online and even called the Hot wheels hot line. I’ve looked through all the records of this casting and it doesn’t match up with a single one of them. It’s Bright Pink with Solid Black Windows and Silver on the wheels. Does anybody have information on it?
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