1978 Hot Wheels Highway Patrol Variations

The Larry Wood and Bob Rosas designed Hot Wheels Highway Patrol was released in 1978 in the Flying Colors series. I picked up these two variations on eBay from separate sellers.

This variation without the 12 on top seems to be somewhat less common and therefore more valuable than the version below with 12 on the top.

Hot Wheels | 1978 | 2019 | Highway Patrol | white with “Highway Patrol on sides, “12” on sides | HK | bs

Actually, the Sheriff Patrol with 12 on top could be from either the 1978 Flying Colors series, or the 1979 Hot Wheels Rescue Team – without the original packaging it’s impossible to know for sure which one it is.

This Dodge Monaco would become a popular casting and would also appear in later years as Fire Chaser, Sheriff Patrol and Airport Security.

Hot Wheels |1978 | 2019 | Highway Patrol | white with “Highway Patrol on sides, “12” on sides and top | HK | bs


1978 Hot Wheels Baja Breaker

Since the beginning, Hot Wheels have always had different wheel sizes. Some cars, like the 1968 Ford J-Car had the medium sized (3/8″) wheels all around, while the 1969 Classic ’57 T-Bird had small (5/16″) wheels up front and medium wheels in the back to help give it the characteristic rake. The 1970 Heavy Chevy utilized medium wheels in the front with large (7/16″) wheels in the back.

The 1978 Baja Breaker was the first model to use large wheels all the way around. Four large (9/16″) blackwalls turned this 3rd generation Ford Econoline van into a rugged 4×4. (This was two years before the debut of Hot Wheels construction tires, which would eventually take the off-road look to the next level.)

The Baja Breaker’s black plastic hood can open. But I’ve learned that sometimes, once opened, it refuses to close again. So I’ve decided not to mess with it on this one. Other Baja Breakers in my collection include the 1979 Scene Machines release, the 1980 green model, a 1983 metallic orange well-loved toy and the 1984 black A-Team version.

Hot Wheels | Hot Wheels | 1978 Speedway Specials | 2022 | Baja Breaker | gray with yellow, red & blue trim | HK | bs

1978 Hot Wheels Lickety Six

This is the first casting of the Hot Wheels Lickety Six which came out in 1978. There are only three other variations:

  • 1983, similar paint and tampo, black interior and engine, made in France
  • 1983, gray-blue, similar tampo, chrome interior and engine, made in Mexico
  • 1986, white with red and blue tampo, chrome interior and engine, made in Mexico (4-pack only)

This well-played with model came from the Collection of Big A.

The Hot Wheels Lickety Six was designed by Larry Wood and Bob Rosas, no doubt inspired by the six-wheeled Tyrell P34, which first raced Formula One in 1976. Unlike the real P34, the Wood/Rosas creation has its wing mounted off the cockpit, in front of the rear wheels. But keeping true to its inspiration, the Hot Wheels model has four small wheels in the front and larger rear wheels in the back.

Hot Wheels | 1978 | 2017 | Lickety Six | dark blue with red and white trim | HK | bs

1978 Hot Wheels ’57 Chevy

I have a few cars in my collection that I haven’t yet photographed and posted, mostly because they are in pretty rough shape. But I’m not sure how this nice ’57 Chevy escaped being featured previously. It came from the Collection of Big A and is a little playworn, but it’s certainly nothing to be embarrassed about.

The Hot Wheels ’57 Chevy was first released in 1977, wearing either redlines or blackwalls and red paint, with a tampo very similar to this. This black version is from the following year and this paint/tampo was repeated again in 1982 but with gold Hot Ones. There are dozens more variations of this popular model going right up to the current year. And there are even more variations of the version with an exposed engine, of which I have a good example from its first year, 1984, and another from the 1992 Classic Collection 5-pack.

Hot Wheels | 1978 | 9638 | ‘57 Chevy | black with white & yellow trim | HK | bs

1978 Tomica Cadillac Ambulance

This 1978 Tomica Cadillac Ambulance is the second of the two models I found at Wichita Vintage. It’s fairly play-worn, but I always pick up Tomicas the rare times I find them, as I have a nice bunch from my childhood, including another Cadilac. You can see the Cadillac Ambulance, along with all of the other Tomica offerings from that year, on the 1978 page of the Tomica History website.

Tomica | 1978 | F2 | Cadillac Ambulance | red with white top | 1/77

Estate Sale Matchbox Speed Kings Range Rover

I found this nice Matchbox King Size, along with another larger (than 1:64) scale model, at an estate sale back in July. They were marked $4 each, but it was half-price day, so I got both for $4.

Matchbox King Size models (in the 1:43 scale range) were introduced in 1960 and most featured moving parts or opening doors. In 1971, the King Size range was separated into Super Kings and Speed Kings. This Speed Kings Fire Control Range Rover is from 1978 and features lots of nice details, off-road wheels and an opening tailgate. It was originally sold in a box that would have included two firefighters, a ladder and a section of hose that could be attached to the vehicle at the front or the back.

Matchbox | 1978 | Speed Kings K-64 | Fire Control Range Rover | red with yellow and red Fire Control trim | Off-road wheels

I also have the Speed Kings Bertone Runabout and the Javelin AMX.


Splurging at the Antique Store

Antique stores and art galleries are two things I really enjoy. In downtown Wichita, Vertigo 232 is on the second floor of a building that also houses Shopkeepers Antique Mall. Even better, you have to enter the antique store to access the stairs up to the gallery, a situation that gives me opportunity to browse the cases for cars.

While delivering work for a recent show in the gallery, I saw these four cars in the case. I tend to resist buying from antique stores – as opposed to garage sales – because I feel like someone else has made the find for me and I’m paying extra for it. But, at $2 and $3 each, these cars weren’t too bad a value. So I told myself that if they were there the next time I came in, I would pick them up.

When I came back to the gallery at the end of the exhibition to pick up my work, the cars were still there. So I splurged.

This Hot Wheels Porsche 959 is the 1988 first release of a model that’s been released in a few dozen variations since. I really like this paint and tampo combination as well as the Ultra Hots wheels.

Hot Wheels 1988 | 4631 | Porsche 959 | metallic dark red with orange and yellow trim | MY | UH

There are at least a dozen variations of the Matchbox BMW M1, which first came out in 1981. But this metallic gray version, with its opening hood (trunk?) and lack of rear wing and ground effects, appears to be a different casting altogether.

Matchbox 1981 | 52 | BMW M.1. | metallic gray, black 52 and stripe, hood opens, clear windows | Eng. | Superfast wheels | 1:57

I still have a bunch of nice Tomica models from my childhood, so I’m happy to acquire more when I’m fortunate enough to find them. The Tomica Maserati Merak SS and Porsche 928 are both red and both from 1978.

Tomica 1978 | F45 | Maserati Merak SS | red with black trim | 1/62

Tomica 1978 | F53 | Porsche 928 | red | 1/63