Redlines

Hot Wheels | Series

Mattel entered the Toy Car market with a bang in 1968.

Cars with low friction axles , California "Surfs Up" styling , suspension , spectraflame paint jobs , and trade mark "Red line" wheels.

A series of track sets were issued which showed the new cars off to their best , with loop the loops , banked curves , lap counters and dare devil jumps.

Manufacture was underway in both the USA and Hong Kong , with the latter facility producing cars for sale in the UK (and the rest of Europe) , there were differences in the models produced by the two plants , some small , others quite noticeable , in general the Hong Kong castings had blue windows (as opposed to clear) , larger separate steering wheels and "Hong Kong" on the base.

The cars in the track sets just came in small polythene bags but the individual models were released in blister packs and packaged with a tin badge depicting the vehicle , these badges are still quite easy to find today and can be found at swapmeets and badge fairs.

In the UK the new Hot Wheels cars were marketed under the name ROSEBUD MATTEL , a collectors catalog was issued and included with the track sets (and some accessories).

Sixteen cars were available in 1968 , each had a unique catalog number.

Hot Wheels Collectors consider a "Redline" Hot Wheels car a release that was manufactured within the first ten years of production, 1968 to 1977.  Later models might have also red stripes on the tires but are not included in the term Redlines.

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Mattel entered the Toy Car market with a bang in 1968.

Cars with low friction axles , California "Surfs Up" styling , suspension , spectraflame paint jobs , and trade mark "Red line" wheels.

A series of track sets were issued which showed the new cars off to their best , with loop the loops , banked curves , lap counters and dare devil jumps.

Manufacture was underway in both the USA and Hong Kong , with the latter facility producing cars for sale in the UK (and the rest of Europe) , there were differences in the models produced by the two plants , some small , others quite noticeable , in general the Hong Kong castings had blue windows (as opposed to clear) , larger separate steering wheels and "Hong Kong" on the base.

The cars in the track sets just came in small polythene bags but the individual models were released in blister packs and packaged with a tin badge depicting the vehicle , these badges are still quite easy to find today and can be found at swapmeets and badge fairs.

In the UK the new Hot Wheels cars were marketed under the name ROSEBUD MATTEL , a collectors catalog was issued and included with the track sets (and some accessories).

Sixteen cars were available in 1968 , each had a unique catalog number.

Hot Wheels Collectors consider a "Redline" Hot Wheels car a release that was manufactured within the first ten years of production, 1968 to 1977.  Later models might have also red stripes on the tires but are not included in the term Redlines.

 

1968  

The 16 models that started it it all (also called the "Sweet Sixteen".  All were made both in Hong Kong and the United States.

 

1969

24 brand new castings were introduced in 1969.  In 1968, all the releases were in the California Custom Miniature series.  The Grand Prix Series was added in 1969 with a different card design and color.

California Custom Miniatures castings

Grand Prix Series castings

 

1970 

In 1970, Mattel introduced 34 new models and 3 new series (The Heavyweights, The Spoilers, and Mongoose vs. Snake).  This was the first year that some of the buttons were plastic instead of Metal.

California Custom Miniatures castings

Grand Prix Series castings

The Spoilers castings

The Heavyweights castings

Mongoose vs. Snake castings

 

1971 

Mattel introduced 35 new models for 1971.  No Grand Prix Series cars but the remaining series continued (California Custom Miniatures, The Heavyweights, The Spoilers, and Mongoose vs. Snake).  This was the last year that the releases would come with a matching button (which were mostly plastic this year).

California Custom Miniatures castings

The Spoilers castings

The Heavyweights castings

Mongoose vs. Snake castings

 

1972 

In 1972, Mattel introduced only 7 new castings.  A few releases had a generic button on the blister card (not matching) but most did not include a button.  This would also be the last year of the 'Spectraflame Era' of Redlines as the mainline releases, starting in 1973, used enamel paint.

California Custom Miniatures castings

Mongoose vs. Snake castings

 

1973 

In 1973, Mattel started using enamel paints instead of Spectraflame paint.   Only 3 new castings were introduced and 21 castings were retools and/or renamed from previous releases.  The new style blister cards are more narrow as well. 

Also in 1973, Shell gas stations had a promo with 10 castings in baggies with header cards.

New castings

Retool/New name castings

Shell Gas Station romo

 

1974

1974 was the first year of "Flying Colors", the new tampo printing process was used on the cars for the first time, 18 castings (some with new names) and 7 new castings, for a total of 25 models, were issued.

New Castings

  • Mountain Mining Truck (7615)
  • Baja Bruiser (8258)
  • Rodger Dodger (8259)
  • Steam Roller (8260)
  • Sir Rodney Roadster (8261)
  • Breakaway Bucket (8262)
  • El Rey Special (8273)

Remaining Castings (some with New Names)

  • Alive '55 [Classic Nomad]
  • Buzz Off [Tri-Baby]
  • Carabo
  • Ferrari 312P
  • Funny Money
  • Grass Hopper
  • Heavy Chevy
  • Ice 'T'
  • Mercedes-Benz C-111
  • Paddy Wagon
  • Police Cruiser [Olds 442]
  • Porsche 917
  • Prowler [Demon]
  • Rash 1 [Brabham Repco F1]
  • Red Baron
  • Top Eliminator [Snake]
  • Volkswagen [Custom Volkswagen]
  • Winnipeg [Chaparral 2G]

 

1975

For the first time Motorcycles were included (2 models).  7 castings (some with new names) and 16 new castings, for a total of 23 models, were issued.

New Castings

  • Torino Stocker (7647)
  • Porsche Carrera / P-911 (7648)
  • Super Van / Paramedic (7649 / 7661)
  • Emergency Squad / Ranger Rig (7650 / 7666)
  • Gremlin Grinder (7652)
  • Tough Customer (7655)
  • Vega Bomb (7658)
  • Ramblin' Wrecker (7659)
  • Monte Carlo Stocker (7660)
  • American Victory (7662)
  • Gun Slinger (7664)
  • Motorcross 1 (7668)
  • Street Eater (7669)
  • Backwoods Bomb (7670)
  • Chevy Monza 2+2 (7671)
  • Large Charge (8272)

Remaining Castings (some with New Names)

  • Chief's Special [Olds 442]
  • Dune Daddy [ Sand Crab]
  • Mighty Maverick
  • Mustang Stocker [Boss Hoss]
  • Sand Drifter [Power Pad]
  • Volkswage [Custom Volkswagen]
  • Warpath [AMX/2]

 

1976

20 additional models were introduced in 1976, which was the last year that every model sported redline wheels. 7 castings (with new names) and 13 new castings, for a total of 20 models, were issued.

New Castings

  • Formula P.A.C.K. (9037)
  • Rock Buster (9088)
  • American Tipper (9089)
  • Gun Bucket (9090)
  • American Hauler (9118)
  • Formula 5000 (9119)
  • Cool One (9120)
  • Inferno (9186)
  • Poison Pinto (9240)
  • Corvette Stingray (9241)
  • Street Rodder (9242)
  • Aw Shoot (9243)
  • Neet Streeter (9244)

Remaining Castings (all with New Names)

  • Geoffrey Van [Super Van]
  • Jet Threat II [Jet Threat]
  • Khaki Kooler [Super Van]
  • Lowdown [Monte Carlo Stocker]
  • Maxi Taxi [Olds 442]
  • Staff Car [Olds 442]
  • Twin Mill II [Twin Mill]

 

1977

12 additional models were introduced in 1977, the redline wheels were phased out during the year, marking the end of an era.

  • 9638 - '57 Chevy
  • 9639 - Z-Whiz
  • 9640 - Fire-Eater
  • 9641 - Spoiler Sport
  • 9642 - Odd Rod
  • 9643 - Letter Getter
  • 9644 - Second Wind
  • 9645 - GMC Motor Home
  • 9646 - Show Hoss II
  • 9647 - '56 Hi-Tail Hauler
  • 9648 - T-Totaller
  • 9649 - '31 Doozie
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