While Hot Wheels now has at least 13 different Batmobile castings (not even counting Batboats, Batcycles, Batcopters, etc.), the 1960s Batmobile – the modified Lincoln Futura created by George Barris for the 1966 TV series – will always be my favorite. I still have the PlayArt model from my childhood, and though I don’t really seek them out, I’m happy to grab another example of this car when I find one somewhere. This model that I found on a recent grocery run to Dillon’s (Kroger) is from the 2020 Hot Wheels Batman series.
Staying away from big box stores during the pandemic, I’ve missed a lot of the latest release Hot Wheels. But we make regular grocery runs to Dillon’s (owned by Kroger) so, on occasion, I’m able to find something there. I picked up the first-to-market release of the green camouflage 2020 Rod Squad ’68 Chevy Nova at the Gamestop Collector Day Event late last year. A few weeks ago I spotted this red camo variation on one of our grocery runs. (There is also a zamac camo version that I am still on the lookout for.)
Hot Wheels | GHF41 | 2020 Rod Squad 6/10 | 1968 Chevy Nova | red camouflage with white and black shark teeth trim | MY | chrome red rim DD8 | Alternate tool (no hood scoop)
Hot Wheels Steering Rigs were truck and trailer combinations that could be pushed along and steered using a wheel that protruded from the back of the trailer. Cast in both Hong Kong and France, Steering Rigs were introduced in 1981 with a Kenworth Van, a GMC Hauler, a Kenworth Tanker, a Peterbilt Hauler, a GMC Van, and a Peterbilt Tanker. Steering Rigs returned in 1982 with a Ford LTL Cattle Trailer, a Mack Moving Van, a White Grain Trailer, a Ford LTL Moving Van, a Mack Grain Trailer and a White Cattle Trailer.
After using a Q-tip and water to clean off a little grime, I got the trailer looking pretty good. It is missing the steering knob, which is supposed to protrude from the large hole that you see near the back of the plastic box.
This trailer has a nice little opening red door on one side.
Hot Wheels | 1981 Steering Rigs | 1915 | Kenworth Van | missing white cab, white trailer with yellow and red Hot Wheels Racing Team trim, red trailer door, missing steering knob | HK | bw
In addition to the hitch peg on a Steering Rig trailer, there is a second pin protruding from a semi-circular groove. This steering pin, which is mechanically linked to the steering wheel on top of the rear of the trailer, mates with the hole cast next to the hitch on the Steering Rig cab. The forward set of rear wheels on the cab are grooved and the outer edges are wrapped with rubber bands (missing from mine) to help the model grip and turn.
The rear set of trailer wheels also have the grooves and rubber bands; in this photo of my trailer, you can see the wheel on the left is missing the rubber band while the wheel on the right still has an intact band.
This Steering Rigs trailer was originally paired with a white Kenworth COE cab, and my Peterbilt cab was originally paired with a white tanker trailer with Shell logos on the sides. So they’re not a matching pair, but I still think they look pretty good together.
There are replacement steering knobs available to buy on eBay. I purchased one, which is described as a resin copy of the original. Original knobs appear to be clearer and shinier (based on online photos) than this reproduction, but it does fit and perfectly and operates the steering mechanism.
The Hot Wheels Rescue Ranger is a casting that began in 1975 as Emergency Squad and – through 64 different variations – has also been called Ranger Rig and more recently Rapid Responder. In the 2014 Pop Culture series it was even the Grateful Dead Truck. When I recently picked up a lot of assorted toys on the Facebook Marketplace because I had spotted a few treasures in the bunch, this Rescue Ranger from the 1986 Real Riders series is one model that I did not see in the initial photo, but it is one of the best of my keepers.
The Hot Wheels Goodyear Blimp was first released in 1992 and has been produced in about 25 variations. While it has off and on promoted the famous tire brand, it has also been called, simply, Blimp and decorated with other brands, both real and imagined. This 1997 Goodyear Blimp is one of my keepers from the recent $4 bag of assorted toys I found on Facebook Marketplace. Originally, it would have been found in the City Action 5-Pack along with such castings as the Rig Wrecker, ’32 Ford Delivery, Recycling Truck and Good Humor Ice Cream Truck. This is not a blackwall-era item; the other models in the 5-Pack would have had 5-spoke or 7-spoke wheels. But I’ll let it slide into my collection because it doesn’t actually have wheels of its own.
The tampo on this variation of the Goodyear Blimp is the same as the Collector #194 from 1992, with the prominent blue and yellow Goodyear logo on one side and the red and yellow Hot Wheels logo on the opposite side, which changes to “Goodyear #1 in Tires” when the fins are rotated. The difference between the two is that this 1997 version has a silver gondola, versus a white gondola on the 1992 model.
I think most collectors really enjoy a chance to rescue treasures from among somebody else’s cast-offs. This was the case back in November, when I saw a lot of assorted toys for sale on the Facebook Marketplace. While most of the toys looked to be well played-with, I spotted what appeared to be some blackwall-era Hot Wheels among the bunch. Since the photo was lacking clarity, it was difficult to determine the condition of the items or even if they were what I thought they were. But since the entire lot was only $4, I took a chance.
In the bag of toys, I found 8 items that I will call keepers. The items I’m showing here are duplicates of models I already have in my collection and/or they are missing parts. The others I will show in separate posts.
The Hot Wheels Airport Rescue was first released in 1981 and was only produced in four different variations over the next few years. It’s a very heavy casting and I suspect this is the reason it was phased-out fairly quickly. This example is in comparable condition to the one I already have (the tampo is actually a little better) but it is unfortunately missing the forward plastic hose cannon.
Hot Wheels | 1981 Workhorses | 1699 | Airport Rescue | yellow with dark orange and black trim, missing front hose cannon | HK | bw
The Hot Wheels Peterbilt Dump Truck was first cast in 1983 and has been produced in about 21 different variations, most recently included in the 2003 Work Crewsers series. This red paint/red dumper version from 1989 is identical to the only example of this casting I already have in my collection, but this one is missing the plastic tailgate.
Hot Wheels | 1989 Workhorses | 1560 | Peterbilt Dump Truck | red with red dumper, missing tailgate | MY | bw
This Hot Wheels funny car base could be from any one of several releases of either casting that featured blackwalls. But since the model was cast only in Hong Kong up until 1982, we can narrow down this Malaysia-cast base to that year or later. I’ll keep it handy in case I ever come across a funny car body that’s missing its lower half.
Hot Wheels | 1982 or later | Funny Car base only | MY | bw
The Hot Wheels Mercedes 380 SEL was first released in the 1982 Hot Ones series. Based on the W126 series that was built by Mercedes Benz between 1979 and 1991, the Hot Wheels model has been produced in about 33 different variations until it was included in the 1999 Final Run Series. This model is the 1993 Collector #229 and is one of the cars that my buddy Chris picked up for me in a St. Louis antique mall.