In 1968, Mattel introduced a exciting new line of diecast toy car: "Hot Wheels"!  Since then, much has been written about the history, success, and sustained popularity of the Hot Wheels line.  To learn more about the history of Hot Wheels, the reader is referred to the following excellent books:

   "The Ultimate Redline Guide". by Jack Clark & Robert P. Wicker
   "Hot Wheels: 35 Years of Speed, Power Performance & Attitude", by Randy Leffingwell
   "Hot Wheels Cars", by Mac Ragan
   "Tomart's Price Guide to Hot Wheels Collectibles", by Michael Thomas Strauss

A signature feature of early Hot Wheels cars (from 1968 through 1977) were their mag wheels and red-striped tires.  These so-called "redline" cars were wildly popular when first introduced in the 1960s, and remain a hot collectible item today.  Toy cars that sold for less than a dollar in the '60s and '70s often sell for hundreds of dollars today, depending on their condition and color.

Red 1968 Custom Firebird

The 1968 line up of Hot Wheels consisted of 16 cars and included stylized versions of favorite street cars like the Camaro, Firebird, Barracuda and Corvette and wild show cars like the Silhouette, Beatnik Bandit, Hot Heap and Python.  Only one race car was included: the Ford J-Car.

White enamel 1968 Ford J-Car

In 1969, Mattel released a line up of 24 new cars including the new Grand Prix Series which featured famous race cars from the mid- to late-1960s.  The J-Car and eight new cars were sold on a newly designed blister card with the trademark metal buttons and featuring a sticker or decal sheet under the car.

A Grand Prix Series blister pack with a brown Ferrari 312P.
In 1970, two additional cars were added to the Grand Prix Series. In all, the Grand Prix Series consisted of the following cars:

Ford J-Car
Brabham Repco
Chaparral 2G
Ford Mk IV
Indy Eagle
Lola GT70
Lotus Turbine
McLaren M6A
Shelby Turbine
Ferrari 312P
Porsche 917

Like many other kids growing up in the '60s, I was a huge fan of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars.  I managed to hang on to many of the cars I played with as a child, and they formed the foundation of a new collection that was started a few years ago when my sons discovered Hot Wheels cars.

This website is dedicated to my favorite type of Hot Wheels cars: the Grand Prix Series.  Grand Prix cars form the nucleus of my adult collection, and I have spent a lot of time researching, collecting, and trying to learn as much as possible about the various Grand Prix castings and their variations, colors, relative scarcity and value.  Within these pages I attempt to list much of what I have learned in hopes that other collectors can both learn and correct my errors and omissions.

The eleven Grand Prix cars can be divided into two groups: the open-wheel Indy cars and the wide-body Le Mans/CanAm cars.  The four Indy cars - Brabham Repco, Indy Eagle, Lotus Turbine and Shelby Turbine - were produced only at the Hong Kong plant, while the seven wide body cars were produced at both the U.S. and Hong Kong plants.  All of the Grand Prix cars were produced in multiple Spectraflame colors and a few signature enamel colors.  Spectraflame paint was another unique feature of the early Hot Wheels cars.  It was basically a transparent paint that was applied over a shiny metal body, resulting in a metallic appearance of the paint job.  The colors of the various cars are very important to collectors because the color in large part determines the value.  For example, a purple Indy Eagle is relatively common while a purple Porsche 917 is quite rare and worth several hundred dollars!  Likewise, the combination of color and casting variation also determines value.  For example, purple Ferrari 312Ps from the H.K. plant are common, but U.S. purple 312Ps are very rare.  A color guide is provided at this site to help collectors determine the colors of their favorite Grand Prix cars.

Purple Ferrari 312Ps from U.S. (left) and H.K. plants.

All of the Grand Prix cars have unique and interesting features.  These are described on the individual car pages, along with a list of the colors that each car was issued in.  If you have a Grand Prix car in a color that I haven't listed or you know about some features that I haven't described, please contact me and let me know:





Original images are the property of Rick Wilson. Private use of original images is allowed. Non-profit, non-commercial publication of original images is allowed only with prior expressed written consent from Rick Wilson. For other commercial, for-profit or redistribution needs, please contact the site owner.  This site is not affiliated with Mattel, Inc.

 © 2004, 2005 by Rick Wilson. All Rights Reserved.