1988 Hot Wheels Color Racers Path Beater

It can be confusing when Hot Wheels uses different names for the same casting. It gets even more confusing when one of those names is then shared by a completely different casting.

Beach Patrol, based on the first generation Chevy S-10/GMC S-15, was first released in 1983 with plastic surf boards in the bed. In 1986 it was used for Path Beater, and in 1991 it became Surf Patrol. 25 or so variations exist between the three castings. The version of Path Beater I’m showing here is not to be confused with the 1993 Hot Wheels Path Beater, which was actually a re-name of the Bywayman casting.

I found this model from the 1988 Color Racers series in a 25-cent tub at the Wichita Flea Market. As you can see, it’s missing large chunks of its color-changing paint. But I like this casting enough that I couldn’t pass it up for a quarter. On the positive side, the plastic light bar is a little bent, but still intact.

Color Racers were sold in 3-car packs, but I’m not sure the three packs were always the same three cars; the Color Changers page of the Hot Wheels wiki has photos of catalog pages that show the Path Beater in two different 3-pack combinations.

Hot Wheels | 1988 Color Racers | 5607 | Path Beater | yellow to green with red and green trim | MY | bw

1988 Hot Wheels Workhorses NASA Hiway Hauler Carded

Last month, on the day of the Wichita Flea Market at the Kansas Star Casino, we had a busy day ahead of us, so my wife and I decided to get up early and get there just as they opened. Since the first arrivals were clustering at the front, I suggested we walk to the very back of the arena and work our way back to the front. Well, as they say, the early bird gets the worm. I came across a table that had a great selection of blackwall Hot Wheels still in their packages and walked away with some really nice finds.

Based on the same Kenworth cab as previous releases such as Road King (1973) and American Hauler and American Tipper (both 1976), the original Hot Wheels Hiway Hauler first appeared in 1980 with North American Van Lines livery. It has been produced in about 20 different variations, including this NASA Space Shuttle Ground Support version, from the 1988 Workhorses series. I already have a pretty clean loose example of the NASA Hiway Hauler, but I am working on a display for my NASA-themed collectibles, so I thought it would be nice to have another one still in the package.

The model isn’t perfect: the top of the cargo box on this vehicle is a little bit warped. On the other hand, you might have noticed this is an unpunched card, which is pretty cool.

Hot Wheels | 1988 Workhorses | 5144 | Hiway Hauler | white, “NASA Space Shuttle Ground Support” graphics | MY | bw

1988 Hot Wheels Color Racers Silver Bullet

The Hot Wheels casting that began as Large Charge in 1975 has been produced in more than 30 variations up until as recently as 2011. It was released as Silver Bullet in 1985 and as Aeroflash in 1992. The variation shown here is a Color Racers Silver Bullet from 1988.

As with many of my late-1980s Color Racers, this one no longer changes color. Most of the photos I’m finding of the blackwall Color Racers Silver Bullet with this tampo are blue, although I did find one example online that matches mine. Blue to cream seems like a drastic change, and I’m not sure why mine got stuck in this color state. So it’s possible this is a different color combination altogether.

Hot Wheels | 1988 Color Racers | 9535 | Silver Bullet | blue to cream, blue, yellow and light blue trim | MY | bw

1988 Hot Wheels Color Racers Thunderburner

The Hot Wheels Thunderburner is based on the 1983 Ford Thunderbird NASCAR stock car. It was first released in 1984 as Thunderbird Stocker, then in 1987 as Thunderburner, and finally in 1996 it was called Velocitor – totaling at least 15 variations between the three different identities.

This example is from the 1988 Color Racers 3-Pack that would have also included a Lambourghini Countach and a Jeep CJ-7. From somebody on eBay I borrowed a photo of the 3-pack, which you can see below.

Like many of my old Color Racers, this one no longer changes color, though I have tried freezing and heating it in fairly extreme ways. The South Texas Diecast listing describes the color change as from red to light yellow.

1988 Color Racers | 5607 | Thunderburner | yellow with blue, white and red trim | MY | bw

1988 Hot Wheels Color Racers Ferrari Testarossa

The Ferrari Testarossa, a 12-cylinder mid-engine sports car, was designed by Pininfarina and made from 1984-1996.

The Hot Wheels Ferrari Testarossa was first released in 1987 and has been produced in around 40 variations up until 2000. This model is one of the Color Racers from 1988. I have put it in the freezer overnight and hit it with a hot hair dryer, but the color no longer changes. The only other version of this casting I have is a rough one I picked up on Facebook Marketplace earlier this year.

This Ferrari Testarossa would have been found in a Color Racers 3-Pack along with a Tall Ryder and a Silver Bullet. From somebody on eBay I borrowed a photo of the 3-pack, which you can see below.

1988 | 1897 | Color Racer: Ferrari Testarossa | peach with blue, white and red trim, 4 on hood | MY | bw

1988 Hot Wheels Workhorses Rescue Ranger

In August at the Wichita Flea Market at the Kansas Star Casino, there was a booth that had a tub full of loose cars, 2 for $1. I crouched down, spent a few minutes looking and found two blackwall Hot Wheels. When I handed the man my dollar, he looked at what I had found and said with a laugh, “Those weren’t supposed to be in there!”

Even though I already have an example of the Hot Wheels Rescue Ranger from the 1988 Workhorses series, it’s always fun to find something that someone else has overlooked. And a $.50 blackwall should never be passed up.

Hot Wheels | 1988 Workhorses | 5145 | Rescue Ranger | red with yellow plastic insert, yellow and black Hot Wheels Rescue Unit | MY | bw

 

1988 Hot Wheels Color Racers Lamborghini Countach

Last month we hit Haysville for the city-wide garage sales. We stopped at dozens of sales and the only thing I came away with was a beat-up Hot Wheels Lamborghini Countach. While the casting made its debut in the 1988 Speed Fleet series, it was also used that same year as a Color Racer. I already have two examples in my collection so I decided this would be a good chance to show the differences in the paint on these aging color-changers.

The Color Racers were cars that would change color when exposed to hot or cold temperatures. As I’ve mentioned before, over time, the late-1980s color-changers lose their ability to change color and often get stuck in one state of color or the other.

This first example is the car I found in Haysville. In its warm state, it is a yellowish beige.

Running cold water over these ’80s cars isn’t always enough to get them to change. My friends online suggested putting them in the freezer, which is the trick I used to get these to change to pink.

Hot Wheels | 1988 Color Racers | 5607 | Lamborghini Countach | beige to pink with red, blue and white trim, blue tint windows | MY | bw

The next set of photos is my second example, in slightly better shape than my Haysville car. This one is a little less yellow in the warm state.

After the freezer treatment, this one is a little richer pink.

Hot Wheels | 1988 Color Racers | 5607 | Lamborghini Countach | beige to pink with red, blue and white trim, blue tint windows | MY | bw

The next example is a car I got years ago in the Case of the Sad Dad and its always been stuck in this mostly pink state. By the way, all of these models are cast in Malaysia, but this one has the smoke tint windows, versus the blue tint windows on the two above.

When I hit this car with a hot hair dryer, it turns a kind of fleshy-beige, certainly more pink than the two above.

Also, after the freezer treatment, this car shows a much more rosy pink than the two above.

Hot Wheels | 1988 Color Racers | 5607 | Lamborghini Countach | beige to pink with red, blue and white trim, smoke tint windows | MY

Finally, the three cars side by side, warm state on top and frozen state on the bottom.