The Hot Wheels Torino Stocker, based on the third generation (1972-1976) Ford Torino, made its debut in the 1975 Flying Colors and was produced in about 18 variations up until 1986. It was retooled in 2012 and made 3 more appearances as ’73 Ford Gran Torino.
This black model with blackwalls – one of the 10 cars my buddy, Chris, recently found for me on the St. Louis area Facebook Marketplace – fills one of the few remaining holes in my collection of 1979 Hot Wheels.
In my collection I also have a sadly worn example of the white Thrill Drivers Torino from 1977 and another black version with gold Hot Ones from 1982.
Hot Wheels | 1979 | 7647 | Torino Stocker | black with yellow, orange and white trim | HK | bw
While looking through the 2-for-$1 tub at the Wichita Flea Market in August, I came across this Hot Wheels Hot Bird with a custom paint job. I initially put it aside, but when I found the blackwall Rescue Ranger, I decided to take this one home too. Any variation of the Hot Bird with blackwalls is worth trying to save, but it wasn’t until I got it home in better lighting that I realized that underneath the really bad, hand-brushed paint, was a 1979 Captain America.
I’ve always wondered if custom paint could be safely removed without damaging the original paint underneath, and I gave it a try. My Facebook friend, Hans, suggested oven cleaner, but warned me that it could take all the paint off if I wasn’t careful.
I decided to use a Q-tip, scrubbing the oven cleaner onto small areas of the car at a time. With a fair amount of effort and time, I was able to remove some of the custom paint. But the more I scrubbed, the more I began to also remove the original tampo as well. So I stopped.
I think with a lot of care and patience – and maybe some kind of tiny plastic scraper – the custom paint could be removed successfully. But I don’t think I have the patience for it. It’s especially sad because it appears that the paint was applied over an otherwise pristine model!
Hot Wheels | 1979 | 2879 | Captain America | white, red and blue trim, red interior with custom paint job | HK | bw
Click here to see my other Captain America. I also have a few different variations of the Hot Bird, including the blackwall versions from 1978 and 1980, as well as the 1982 variation wearing gold Hot Ones.
This is the first legitimate blackwall Hot Wheels Large Charge that I’ve added to my collection – though do I have the 1998 30th Anniversary Replica of the 1975 first-release. I also have a version of Silver Bullet (as the casting was later named) from 1985, and a version of Aeroflash (the even later name), from 1994.
Acquired in the JG Collection, this orange enamel variation with maroon, purple and white tampo is from 1979.
Hot Wheels | 1979 | 8272 | Large Charge | orange with maroon, purple and white trim | HK | bw
I found this Hot Wheels Super Van on my recent visit to the Wichita Flea Market. Super Van was first released in 1975 and I still have the black-with- flames toy from my childhood. This chrome model with California Cruisin’ graphics appeared in both the 1979 Super Streeters series and the 1979 mainlines.
Other variations of the Super Van in my collection include the white flamed-out version from 1980 and a metalflake gray variation from 1982 with the same tampo as this chrome model.
Hot Wheels | 1979 Super Streeters | 9205 | Super Van | chrome with red, black & yellow California Cruisin’ trim | HK | bw
My 1977 Paramedic and 1979 Thor are other Hot Wheels models that used the same casting as Super Van. I also have a few of the retooled vans, including one from 2013 with Old El Paso livery, the Archie Comics Super Van from 2013 and the 2008 Hot Wheels Collectors Convention Super Van.
The Heroes series from the 1979 Hot Wheels got me started collecting blackwall-era cars. I bought a group of these Marvel-themed cars on eBay way back when, and it showed me that there was much more to Hot Wheels than just redlines. The Incredible Hulk is a re-decoration of the Inside Story casting, which was first released in 1977. There are two variations of The Incredible Hulk; one with two narrow horizontally stacked rear windows, and one with a single rear window as you see here.
Click here to see that first group of The Heroes that I bought on eBay, which included The Incredible Hulk with two narrow rear windows as well as Spider-Man and Thor.
Hot Wheels The Heroes | 1979 | 2878 | The Incredible Hulk (Spoiler Sport) | yellow with black, white and green Hulk trim, one large rear window | HK | bw
Here’s a shot of both variations side by side, showing the differences in the rear windows. Also, notice the large window variation has a drag chute tucked just over the rear bumper.
We had a pretty wet summer, which put a bit of a damper on our garage-saling. One sunny Sunday after a particularly rainy couple of days, I was driving back into the neighborhood after running errands with my wife, son and mother-in-law. We saw a sign advertising a Sunday-only sale and decided to check it out. It was a huge sale, and the nice woman explained to us how she had been thwarted by the rainy weather of the previous few days. There was a table with a few Hot Wheels, and though most of them were uninteresting, there was one that caught my eye. Even my son recognized that it was one of the Scene Machines and both of us began whispering excitedly. The Incredible Hulk was one of the few 1979 Hot Wheels that I had yet to find at a reasonable price.
Meanwhile, my wife had found some books and my mother-in-law had picked out a bunch of clothes. I handed the car to my son, who set it on the table while the nice woman was totaling up our purchase. She glanced at him and said, “Oh, we’ll just throw that in.”
1979 | 2850 | The Incredible Hulk (Scene Machines) | white with green, red & black trim | HK | blackwalls
The Scene Machines have a lens in the back of the vehicle which allows you to hold it up to the light and peer inside. In this case, the Hulk seems to be causing some commotion in the back of the van. These scenes are a little tricky to photograph, but the following image gives you some idea of the effect.
Other Scene Machines that I have in my collection include Spider-Man, Motocross Team, S.W.A.T. Van and Space Van.
I haven’t had much luck at garage sales this summer, though I’ve been to quite a few. Instead, I’ve been scoring my finds at resale shops. I found these Hot Wheels 30th Anniversary replicas at one of those stores that specializes in pre-owned children’s clothing and toys. The outer boxes are a little beat up, but the unopened blister packs inside are in good shape.
In 1998, celebrating 30 years of production, Mattel created these replicas of the cars in their original packages which were said to “represent collectors’ favorite models” – one from each year of Hot Wheels history. Below you can find a scan of the back of the outer box, which lists each casting that was chosen to represent each year.
Prior to 1998, Sweet 16 had only been released once – in 1973. Finding an original in mint condition can set you back a few hundred dollars. This retool, of course, is worth considerably less, but still a fun find.
18862 | 1998 30th Anniversary | Sweet 16 (1973) | red | redlines
Large Charge is nowhere near as rare. After its first release in 1975, it was produced in more than 30 variations (sometimes called Silver Bullet or Aeroflash) up until as recently as 2011.
18864 | 1998 30th Anniversary | Large Charge (1975) | green | redlines
Auburn 852 is another popular casting which first appeared in 1979. I have one of the original first casting, as well as a few other variations.
18868 | 1998 30th Anniversary | Auburn 852 (1979) | red | blackwalls