1995 Hot Wheels Top Speed Series

I admit I was stumped when I found these two unusual Hot Wheels in the case of the Sad Dad. I did a fair amount of online research and came up empty. I couldn’t find them listed in any of the books in my reference library. At first, I thought these strange cars were some sort of Transformers knock-off. That odd slider on the base allows them to wiggle, but otherwise the all-plastic parts are firmly connected. I suspected a McDonald’s toy, but there is no telltale logo. About the only thing that I guessed correctly was that the hook on the bottom suggested some sort of a launcher was involved. When I finally gave up and posted a couple of photos on the Hot Wheels Newsletter Facebook page, I had my answer almost immediately.

When the Hot Wheels Top Speed line was introduced in 1995, the claim on the packaging was that they were “the most advanced vehicles in Hot Wheels History!” 8 unique castings could be purchased in packs of two, or were included in playsets. A “Catapault Launcher” and “Accelerator Tube” could be connected to regular orange track. The hook on the bottom of the cars was used with the launcher, while the slider on the base adjusted the chassis of the car to be stiff for drag racing or allowed a slight swivel for loops, curves and pipes. The Hot Hubs wheels on the Top Speed cars were new for 1995, but were also used on a separate Hot Hubs series

1995 Top Speed Series | Road Vac | purple tint translucent with yellow flames, chrome interior, orange base | MY | yellow and black HH

1995 Top Speed Series | Shock Rod | green tint translucent with silver, gold and blue trim, chrome interior, orange base | MY | pink and orange HH


Johnny Lightning Zingers

I added several Johnny Lightning Zingers to my collection during the RC2-era. But I never thought much about where Zingers originated until I came across this ad in a 1970s comic book.


According to a 2005 article in Hot Rod, Zingers originated in 1971 when MPC created a line of plastic model kits which featured vehicles with huge blown engines and enormously oversized rear wheels. The article suggests Muscle Machines diecast cars were inspired by Zingers, and that may be true. But by 2005, I suspect RC2 bought the rights to the Zingers name from MPC, since Johnny Lightning was already releasing Zingers in their Street Freaks line. (RC2 – now Round 2 -fully revived the MPC brand in 2008 and purchased MPC’s tooling in 2012.)

When I saw that Johnny Lightning was bringing back the Zingers last year, I spent months searching for the 1963 Nova. Finally, on a Thanksgiving trip to Shreveport, I found one in a Target store. It might have been left behind by other collectors because of the creased blister card, but that didn’t stop me from claiming it. In addition to my beautiful blue “Ice Age,” there is also an orange version called “Orange Rush”.

2016 Zingers! | 1963 Chevy Nova Ice Age | metallic blue with white trim | 1:64

The 2006 1959 Chevy Impala is the only RC2-era Zingers that I have still on the blister card.

2006 Street Freaks Zingers! | 1959 Chevy Impala #68 | blue/white top with card

The next three Zingers I have – three generations of Nova body styles – were all freed from their original packaging.

2005 Street Freaks Zingers! R20 | 1966 Chevy Nova | yellow with flames | 1:64

2005 Street Freaks Zingers! R16 | 1970 Chevy Nova | orange with flames | 1:64

2004 Street Freaks Zingers! R11 | 1963 Chevy Nova | green metallic with white trim | 1:64

And finally, this Johnny Lightning Collector Club Exclusive from 2006 isn’t in Zingers packaging, but it sure looks like a Zinger to me.

2006 Collector Club Exclusive | 1970 Chevy Nova | blue/white Yenko stripes | 1:64