A Buyer's Guide to Hot Wheels: Your Guide to the Best Hot Wheels Deals
For generations, Mattel's die-cast Hot Wheels car models have been a fixture in playrooms and collectors cabinets around the world. Focusing on the more extreme end of the auto market, Hot Wheels toy cars come with realistic (and not so realistic) race tracks and accessories, allowing owners to create the driving environment of their dreams. And after 50 years of production, they remain hugely popular with kids and adults alike.
The range of choice on offer in the Hot Wheels family can be a little daunting for first-time buyers. But this hotukdeals buyer's guide will provide essential background, and help you find the best Hot Wheels deals around.
The History of the Hot Wheels Toys Family
Hot Wheels started life in 1968 when Elliot Handler, the co-founder of toy giant Mattel, designed the first models alongside engineer Harry Bentley Bradley. From the start, the idea was to focus on hot rods or racing vehicles, not the kind of cars you'd see on suburban streets. And the brand sought to appeal to the youth culture of the late 60s, with its freewheeling spirit. It was incredibly successful.
Soon after the first models appeared, Mattel launched the Hot Wheels race track, with its famous superchargers which propelled toy cars at breakneck speed through loop-the-loops and around curves. By the 1970s, iconic Hot Wheels models like the Torero or Splittin Image could be found in every cool kid's toy box, soon to be followed by the surfer-focused Beach Bomb van, hybrid VW Beetles like the Whip Creamer, and the rare Silver Series.
Hot Wheels also adopted innovative marketing strategies. Knowing the passion of its fan base, the company launched comic book rivalries between drag racers known as the Snake and the Mongoose, and sought to introduce faster models like the Hot Ones collection, or the Real Riders, which featured authentic rubber tyres.
By the turn of the millennium, the brand was becoming stale. But new life was injected with a cohort of creative designers, and the broader trend for customising car exteriors, which Hot Wheels embraced with ease. Mattel also fed the desire of fans via the Treasure Hunt series – an annual delivery of limited edition vehicles, while resurrecting older designs for a new generation via the hugely popular Classics range.
Well into the next millennium, the result was that Hot Wheels had reinvented itself and kept its place in the hearts of car-obsessed kids and nostalgic adults. There's even going to be a Hot Wheels film in the near future, so watch this space. Or, even better, start assembling your own collection and discover the magic of these meticulously designed cast-iron toys.
How to Build a Hot Wheels Collection: Different Product Categories
There are basically two elements of a Hot Wheels collection: cars and toys. We'll deal with cars separately in a second, as there are a lot of categories to think about. But first, let's run through some other core elements of a Hot Wheels collection that will help owners get the most from their vehicles.
The Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage – No Hot Wheels fan wants to leave their cars in the garage (or in the cupboard) all day long. Well, unless they are serious collectors who don't want to shave a penny of the value of their collection. Most of us want accessories that can let us show off the speed of our models, making the Ultimate Garage a must-have pack. Described as a “play destination”, the Ultimate Garage can store over 140 cars and comes with a motorised lift to move them into position. More importantly, there's a giant slide that the cars can whiz down, and a cityscape on the garage's base with a diner, police station and jet plane, which can hold a few Hot Wheels cars as it zips around town. In a playful touch, Mattel have also included a King Kong-type character who climbs up the lift, causing some models to descend back down (without damaging them, of course). All-in-all, it's a great way to store kids' vehicles, and a fun installation that is sure to capture the attention and imagination of youngsters.
Track – The Ultimate Garage is all well and good, but to really enjoy your Hot Wheels collection, you'll need some track. You can purchase a range of “track builder” kits, with a variety of straights, curves, and loops, as well as connecting pieces to hold them in place. Kits come with varying degrees of complexity, so you'll find “stunt” boxes that really out vehicles through their paces (and can test the construction skills of younger children), as well as general boxes with lengths of track. As a rule, you'll want plenty of different options, but start with simple configurations, until you master the art of creating seamless circuits. It's not as easy as it looks.
The Roto Revolution Track Set – Buying all-in-one circuits is a good way to get started, but there are also some special accessories that can enhance your own courses as well. For instance, the Corkscrew Crash set turbocharges cars to tackle endless loops, but the Roto Revolution is probably the most exciting. Instead of sending cars around self-contained tracks, Roto Revolution pits two players against each other in an attempt to knock the opponent's vehicle off course. It takes expert timing and courage, and it's great fun to play with friends. Just expect a few dents and scratches on your Hot Wheels cars.
Games – Mattel have embraced the digital age, and the analogue Hot Wheels family has well and truly found its place on games consoles and smartphones. In fact, there's a vast library of online games for fans to play, from the Double Loop Dare, to Mega Boost Blaster, and Ultimate Stunt Jumper. Players need to create a Hotwheels.com account before they can play, and when they do so, their skills can translate into coins to spend on car upgrades or other power-ups.
Checking Out the Hot Wheels Cars Collection
There's no question that the cars are the stars when it comes to Hot Wheels, and buyers will find a dizzying variety of models to choose from. What's the best way to get started?
If you want to hit the ground running, car packs could be a good idea. These packs feature multiple vehicles, so they are perfect for novices with a limited collection. Here are some of the options:
2 car packs – The smallest packs, these products are usually themed around one subject. So you'll find packs with two Star Wars vehicles, some Marvel cars, or a couple of classic cars. They can be handy ways to fill gaps if you're tantalisingly close to finishing a range of Hot Wheels toys.
9 car packs – In the middle of the range, these sets are a great starting point, offering enough variety to make racing interesting. They tend to focus on high-performance supercars and hot rods, in the great Hot Wheels tradition (you'll also find a few 5 packs if you aren't too bothered about choice).
50 car packs – These giants are a Hot Wheels fan's dream. Packed with all sorts of cars, they come in colourful Hot Wheels-branded boxes and tend to offer a variety of classic and modern cars, all in the 1:64 scale we know and love. The price is higher than smaller packs (naturally), but the price per car is as low as you can get without buying second-hand. So this is an excellent option for people who want to max out on the cars at their disposal.
When it comes to picking which cars to collect, modern Hot Wheels fans aren't short of choice. Here are some of the sub-categories with which to pack your garage:
Star Wars – While Star Wars isn't associated with wheeled racing, Hot Wheels have managed to come up with a creative range of designs themed around the sci-fi series. From Tie Fighters and X-Wings to Jedi speeders and 4x4s linked to Chewbacca or Han Solo, there are plenty of options. And there are some nifty Star Destroyer and Millennium Falcon playsets as well. It's not classic Hot Wheels, but it's a great addition to the range.
Then & Now – The Then & Now collection is full of retro-themed cars, ranging from the Ford 67 Mustang to the Porsche 934 Turbo – all of them revved up and ready to fly around whatever stunt course you put in front of them.
Batman – Perhaps inevitably, there's a Batmobile in the Batman Hot Wheels range. In fact, there are multiple Batmobiles, with a version from the TV series, one from the Dark Knight, the classic 1990s version, and more besides.
Marvel – Marvel is a massive part of the modern Hot Wheels range, and superhero fans will be spoiled for choice. There's the Black Panther vehicle, alongside cars themed around Spiderman, Iron Man, the Hulk, and an endless array of big screen icons.
Speed Winders – These cars are designed with velocity in mind, and are very different to the usual Hot Wheels offering. Instead of using the normal mechanism, they depend on rubber bands placed inside the casing, which can be “wound up” and then released, creating impressive speeds. They also provide a handy science lesson for inquisitive young minds.
Fusion Factory – For decades, kids have dreamed about creating their own Hot Wheels vehicles. Now, with a bit of creativity, they can easily do so. Using custom moulds this silicone-based “factory” lets fans express their creative side and try to come up with the fastest possible chassis.
Colour Shifters – Another one of Hot Wheels' more creative products, Colour Shifters are designed to work with the “Mad Scientist” playset, which changes their colour as they seek to escape from his clutches. It's wacky and fun, and great for kids with boundless imagination.
Motos – Even fans of two-wheeled masterpieces can race their favoured vehicles on Hot Wheels tracks, thanks to this broad collection of a classic motorcycle. You'll find no shortage of iconic names, from Ducati to Yamaha – and have the chance to pit them against each other again and again.
That's just a small sample of the categories and models on offer from Hot Wheels. In reality, the full range is far too broad to cover in this buyer's guide. But if you head to the Hot Wheels website, you'll get a great idea of the options available. If you're thinking about starting a collection, visiting the site is a no-brainer, making it easier to plot your way to the models you need.
What Hot Wheels Gift Sets are Available to Buy?
Gift sets are one of the most attractive parts of the Hot Wheels range, and are ideal for petrolheads and hobbyists of all ages. The range on offer changes all the time, but here are some ideas that you're likely to come across at the hotukdeals Hot Wheels sale:
The Figure 6 Raceway Pack – This Hot Wheels set features a simple figure 6 track arrangement (a good place to start) and usually also includes 6 car models, so it's excellent for Hot Wheels newbies.
The Hot Wheels Zip Bin and Playmat – This attractive Zip Bin provides space for as many as 300 cars, and is the perfect addition to a chaotic playroom. It also usually comes with a few bonus vehicles, so check deals to make sure they are included.
The Trackbuilder Stunt Box – We've already mentioned this in passing, but it's worth reiterating: the Trackbuilder box is a fantastic way to move from simple tracks to something truly wild. It comes with all of the track pieces, bricks, and connectors needed to start hurling vehicles around daring loops, and also features a stylish carry case to keep the components together.
The Hot Wheels Advent Calendar – It's not an all year-round gift idea, but fans should be aware of the Hot Wheels Advent Calendar. No ordinary advent calendar, this little marvel delivers a new Hot Wheels vehicle every day until Christmas Eve. Much better than stale chocolate or a picture of a robin.
As we noted earlier, there are also various multi-car Hot Wheels gift box products, ranging from a couple of vehicles to as many as 50. They would surely delight any fans on their birthdays or at Christmas, and aren't usually particularly expensive.
What About Matchbox? Are Matchbox Cars and Hot Wheels the Same?
Some hardcore fans of model cars will be familiar with the Matchbox brand, whose products bear a close resemblance to those on offer from Hot Wheels. That's not a surprise, because Mattel (the parent company of Hot Wheels) purchased the Matchbox brand from Tyco back in 1997. Since then, Mattel has sought to keep the two toy families separate, but there has been some convergence. So it's fair to say that Matchbox toys are more similar to Hot Wheels than they used to be, but you will still be able to detect differences.
Most importantly, Matchbox has stuck with its focus on everyday cars. It started out building highly accurate replicas of 1950s and 60s British cars, and it still does so, with some international models thrown in. With Hot Wheels, the emphasis is on supercars and performance vehicles, often the type that owners could never hope to drive in real life. So the two brands complement each other nicely in that regard.
Nowadays, the Hot Wheels vs Matchbox contest seems a thing of the past. Basically, if you're all about realism, Matchbox will be a better fit. But for fun and creativity, Hot Wheels probably works better, although there's plenty of overlap between the brands.
Tips for Buying Second Hand Hot Wheels Toys
So far, we've only focused on buying new Hot Wheels toys, primarily because those are the type of offers you'll encounter at hotukdeals. But you might come across second-hand deals, and buying used Hot Wheels toys can help to fill in the gaps in anyone's collection. Plus, many models have bee discontinued, so purchasing from other collectors is the only way to go.
Before you dive into eBay listings, check out Mattel's own Hot Wheels Collectors site, which introduces new retro products and brings fans together. It might be a good place to connect with fellow owners who have the models you need. And buying new will always guarantee mint condition, while second-hand purchases will almost always suffer from wear and tear.
When you start buying second-hand, pay attention to the prices quoted at hobbyist sites like Hallsguide.com, which keeps track of Hot Wheels sales. And listen to eBay's buying advice too. Nobody wants to buy damaged goods or waste money when it's not necessary. And second-hand buying can be a bit of a minefield.
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How and When to Make Your Next Hot Wheels Purchase
Hot Wheels has been allowing kids and grown-up kids to unleash their inner beast since the 1960s, and Mattel's model car brand continues to occupy a special place in the hearts of millions of households. If you want to get started with Hot Wheels collecting, or you're trying to introduce your children to the hobby, that's great. But there's no need to spend over the odds to do so. There are plenty of ways to find cheap Hot Wheels products.
Firstly, shop smart when building your car and track resources. Multi-packs are the way to go when buying cars for kids (with the odd Marvel or Batman car thrown in if they want). And try to find combo deals mixing up cars and track. It's no use receiving a set of superfast sports cars, without enough track to show what they can do.
When it comes to buying packs like the Ultimate Garage, don't be shy. These packs can be great storage spaces for Hot Wheels cars, and provide hours of entertainment in their own right. But they aren't always cheap. Whether you're buying a big box kit or a set of cars, always check the hotukdeals Hot Wheels listings. Our listings feature the latest prices for Hot Wheels cars and sets, from popular merchants like Tesco, Amazon, Smyths, John Lewis, and Wilko. There may even be some deals from the Mattel site itself.
By finding the best deals for sets and cars, you can drive down the cost of Hot Wheels, and share one of the most beloved motoring toys with the next generation. And if you want to save even more, you can hold out for Black Friday or the New Year Sales, when toys like Hot Wheels can plummet in price. But even if you can't wait that long, great deals are just a few clicks away.
Steer Your Way to Unbeatable Hot Wheels Discounts at hotukdeals
The hi-octane, ultrafast world of Hot Wheels lets you race the Batmobile against Ford supercars, or Tie Fighters against a VW Beetle. It may not be realistic, but Mattel's collectable motoring toy offers endless fun for kids and adults. Anyone who feels the need for speed can find the lowest prices around the hotukdeals Hot Wheels listings.
31/10/2022Expires on 31/10/2022Posted 22nd SepPosted 22nd Sep