Speaking of ugly Hot Wheels (see previous post), the Speed Demons series came up in an online discussion of the subject. The Speed Demons – hot rods with creature-like characteristics – were first released in 1986. I have two of them, both from the Collection of Big A. While I admit Fangster is pretty ugly, I’ve become a fan of the Sharkruiser and enjoy seeing it pop up every now and then in a new variation.
This Fangster is from the original release and wears the signature mid-80s Ultra Hot wheels.
1986 | 2059 | Fangster | green | Hong Kong | Ultra Hots
Sharkruiser was a 1987 addition to the Speed Demons series. This variation in blackwalls is actually from a 1988 Color Racer 3-Car Pak. I’m not sure what colors it’s supposed to vary between because it seems to have lost its changeability and has settled into a permanent state of glossy pale yellow.
1988 | 3286 | Sharkruiser from Color Racer 3-Car Pak | pale yellow | Hong Kong | blackwalls
When it was originally released in 1978 in white with black and yellow tampos, this Larry Wood-designed casting was called Highway Patrol. In 1979, Fire Chaser was a variation of the same casting in red with yellow, black and white tampos. This one came from the Dealer.
1979 | 2639 | Fire Chaser | red with yellow & black trim | Hong Kong | blackwalls
This black version with white and yellow tampos is the Sheriff Patrol from 1982 and comes from the collection of Big A.
1982 | 2019 | Sheriff Patrol | black w/black, white & yellow trim | Malaysia | blackwalls
Another variation of the Sheriff Patrol from 1985 wears metallic blue paint. This one I picked up on eBay.
1985 | 9526 | Sheriff Patrol | metallic blue w/blk, wht, yellow trim, white rear doors, black interior | Malaysia | blackwalls
Yet another variation – also from the Dealer – is this tan color-changing model from 1988 that is both a police car and a taxi cab.
1988 | 7285 | Sheriff Patrol (Automagic) | light purple (light tan) with Police Taxi trim | Malaysia | blackwalls
When Hot Wheels introduced the construction tire in 1980, it was used on a line of construction vehicles called the Workhorses. By 1984, the construction tire had begun to spread across the mainline castings, showing up on the Blazer 4×4 and many others over the years. Coming from 1990, this Range Rover is a little late for my blackwall-era collection, but it’s a nice, clean model that I picked up with a few older cars on eBay. The Range Rover die is one that Mattel acquired from Corgi.
1990 | 9738 | Range Rover | white w/ black, red, blue trim | Malaysia | construction tires
Just for fun, let’s compare it to the Matchbox Range Rover Police Patrol, originally released in 1975. Normally, rolling the car would cause the spinner on top to turn. On this one – from the collection of Big A – the dome on top appears to have been melted down from its original rounded shape, which causes the spinner inside to impede the movement of the left rear wheel.
1975 | 20 | Range Rover Police Patrol | white, frosted windows orange dome & spinner | Rolamatic wheels
Inside Story was introduced into the Hot Wheels lineup in 1979. This super-clean example came to me from the collection of Big A. The look of this Larry Wood designed custom van is eerily prescient of the minvans that would start to flood the U.S. car market in the mid 1980s.
1979 | 2510 | Inside Story | gray with black plastic base, blue, red & yellow trim | Hong Kong | blackwalls
Another version of Inside Story was also released in 1979 as the Spider-Man Scene Machine. Looking through the back window of the van, you can see a picture of Spider-Man fighting Doctor Doom. The many Superhero-themed cars are one of the reasons I enjoy the cars from 1979 so much. I picked this one up on eBay.
1979 | 2852 | Spider-Man (Scene Machines) | white with blue, red & black trim | Hong Kong | blackwalls
Photographing the scene in the back is tricky, but here is a shot that captures some of what can be seen when you look through the lens.
Only once has it ever happened that someone has given me their entire childhood collection – not that I would discourage it from happening again! My friend, Big A, kept his hot wheels in a Race Case almost identical to mine. A few years younger than me, his collection is a nice selection of mostly blackwalls from the early 80s. My favorite is this Hare Splitter, a German round-headlight version of the 1974 VW Rabbit. The original 1979 casting is identical with the exception of a red tire rack; the other version from 1982 was yellow. I’d like to put this car up against my childhood Ford Escort RS2000. Which do you think would win?
1982 | 2504 | Hare Splitter | white, Monte Carlo Rally trim, orange tire rack | Hong Kong | blackwalls