No Mistake: Hot Wheels Error Cars Can Be Cool Collectibles

Warning: This article contains a lot of errors. And we’re not sorry.

hot wheels error datsun pickup

Looks like they ran out of metal on this Datsun 620 Pickup!

hot wheels error nathan lill

Nathan also collects Chrysler Crossfires in all sizes.

Nathan Lill (aka Maelstrom) isn’t like most Hot Wheels collectors. He isn’t looking for perfection on the pegs. In fact, he’s looking for flaws. “My motto is if it ain’t broke, I’m not buying,” he says. Nathan collects error cars. The stranger the flaw, the better. “I collect all types of errors from mis-packed to unassembled cars. Pretty much any type of error be it a wheel, part, paint or assembly problem can happen to any Hot Wheels car. It is virtually infinite what can be found while looking at each car, so every case or peg full of cars can have something.’

hot wheels error double vision

This mis-carded Lexus SC400 is the one that started it all for Nathan. So, is it a car on the wrong card, or a card with the wrong car? 

His collection is filled with imperfection… over thousands of examples in fact. The obsession started in 2000 when he spotted something odd at Target. “First one I found was a Lexus SC400 on a Double Vision #212 card at the local Target. Little did I know that would lead to close to 12,000 more of them.” 

hot wheels error collection

Just a small error sampling… Nathan has several more walls like this.

As for the rest of the Hot Wheels universe, the Maelstrom is the only car where he collects correct versions (Un-errored? Non-Wrong? Not-botched?). The need to pick up other vehicles is mitigated by finding an incorrect version of each one. “One way or another I get most of the cars I want with some type of error,” he says. “I also don’t have the space to keep one of everything, so I no longer get a correct version of the vehicle if I don’t need to.

hot wheels error baby boomer

It’s kind of surprising the extra parts fit in the blister so nicely.

While a lot of errors are subtle (crooked or missing graphics, incorrect card, etc) some are doozies. He once found a Baby Boomer car with an extra stroller buggy (“It’s for twins,” he laughs.) He also grabbed a Chevy Nova with a Mercury Cougar base that really doesn’t fit in shape or theme. “So many to choose from that just look funny, with either too big or too small wheels all around as well.”

hot wheels error beach bomb

This mis-spun Beach Bomb and off kilter button were made for each other.

Production errors are not a new thing. Nathan has acquired several original Redline errors as well. “My favorite is a mis-spun green Beach Bomb,” he said, referring to the assembly rivets not being punched and spun correctly at the base. “Then later on, I came across the matching misprinted button. By far my neatest error pair from that era.” As if finding an original Beach Bomb and button wasn’t hard enough, right?

hot wheels error stingray

Something seems to be missing from this Stingray racer.

Rather than revel in the folly of someone’s mistakes, however, Nathan has grown to appreciate Hot Wheels on a whole new level. “These errors made me look more into the processes involved in creating these cars’ he said.“ Considering the billions of cars that Mattel has turned out over the last half century, the number of errors that make it to the pegs is really quite tiny. And the fact that some people dig them on a different level makes it all in good fun. Since there are collectors who value these mistakes, hobbyDB has a way to document your error cars. Find the regular version of the car in our database, then click “Add Variant” and then under “Production Status” choose “Error.” Add images and descriptions, and you’re done!

hot wheels error 57 chevy

Mis-aligned graphics can be hard to spot sometimes, like on this ’57 Chevy.

As for the values of Hot Wheels Error Cars, there are many factors. Are they worth more because of the rarity? Or less desirable because collectors want perfect examples? The scarcity of the model and type of mistake can greatly swing the value one way or the other as well.

The Sol-Aire is missing its wheels, the GTO has bonus parts.

“When HotWheelsCollectors.com came on line, I was one of the few error collected that posted there regularly. Soon I became known as the crazy Maelstrom and error collecting guy after all the broken cars. It has stuck ever since.” Even if people think he’s crazy, make no mistake, he’s a serious collector.

Got any favorite error cars in your collection (Hot Wheels or otherwise)? Add them to our database! Find the regular version of the vehilce, then click “Add Variant. Under “Production Status,” choose “Error” and add a description and photos.

26 comments to “No Mistake: Hot Wheels Error Cars Can Be Cool Collectibles”

  • Kelly Berryhill says:

    How rare is this

  • Jon says:

    Hi nice collection. I was just wondering if you have ever seen the hotwheels stamp missing like this??

    • Nathan says:

      Are you asking about the HW logo molded into the base as apposed to the one you have cast into the interior? I believe it was in 2005 they put the logo as a cut out shape for a few years. Currently, they’ve been removed that feature and gone back to the logo cast in full on the base.

  • Shawn G says:

    I came across and purchased a model from the 2017 year line:
    Aisle Driver
    235/365
    HW Ride Ons

    I can’t seem to find any info about the one I bought. All the ones online are different from mine. The one I purchased is the same as all the ones online except mine has an additional Driver figure inside of the cart itself. Does anyone  know if any other ones exist or if this makes the figure more valuable?Thanks for your time.

  • John Defiori says:

    I have a 2009 Hot wheels Wayne’s garage that should have a 56 custom truck. Instead it has a 72 lotus by matchbox. It is worth anything?

  • Nathan says:

    Shawn G: Very cool find. That would be an error with an extra guy. I’ve seen the red version with an extra guy before. Value wise, it would be around $5 or so.
    John Defiori: I think this package was opened and then returned with the MB car. The bottom of the card looks to have been torn open.

  • Anthony Surace says:

    Tesla s no windshield . Pretty cool and there are some big tesla collectors!

  • Cancy says:

    I was wondering if you seen this before with the collector number missing and series missing from box.  Also the name is Chevy Stocker vs lumina stocker which is collector # 275

    Thanks

  • Kyle M says:

    I have this Nissan Skyline H/T 2000GT-X in my collection with the interior installed backwards. The single seat and steering are on the left facing the rear. Is this a valuable error?

    • Nathan says:

      Neat error. Value is hard to say as it is on a popular casting. It may top out around $20.00 if you find a Nissan collector.

  • Lourens Brits says:

    Hi There, Please can you advise if you have seen this before, and if you know who would be interested in buying this ?

    This is a Fiat 500, HW City, but the Packaging has the “Treasure Hunt” Logo on it. However I believe there is no Such TH?

     

  • M. Humbarger says:

    How much do the cars sell for if they are just the car and the package don’t match? It’s a tatto series set of 4 and the 3rd of 4 has the car from the 2nd of 4.

  • Seann connelly says:

    Curious about this error. Unspun rivets on both sides like it missed and struck a part of the base. It’s a 66 nova. I can send better pics if needed.

    • Nathan says:

      Very nice! It did as you said where the machine hit the base and not the rivet post.

      • Seann connelly says:

        I can’t seem to find anything simular as in error not car. I’ve seen one and I’ve seen a miss but I can’t find any cars with both rivets unstruck and the base still intact. Could you help me value it? Not for sale just curious. Thanks so much for replying Nathan.

  • curtis gibson says:

    I got a 67 pontiac gto with a messed up frame like its been in a wreck

  • coryb says:

    Actually found this as a kid in ‘99 rear stripes have pin stripes and the front does not. What’s the worth?

    • Darby C says:

      That’s odd! Honestly, the value of error cars is hard to gauge. The most valuable ones would be a car that was already very rare and valuable, but for more common cars, most are just worth a few dollars more than the regular cars. This Chevelle looks like the front paint was put on super thick and the pinstripes filled in almost all the way around. Definitely an odd look, and still an “error.”

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