Vintage Stock, which carries mostly records, movies, video games and comic books has two locations in Wichita, at Town East Square mall and at Town West Square mall. The chain was founded as Book Barn in 1980 in Joplin Missouri and now has 40 locations in 5 states. I’d been in the store before and noticed that they had a few action figures, but I had never really thought to look for diecast cars. Well, the other day I found an end-cap full of Hot Wheels, Matchbox and other assorted models.
This chrome Hot Wheels Fire Eater from 1995 is a little late for my “vintage” collection, but I thought it would make a nice companion to my other mint blackwall Fire Eater from 1983. I also have a thing for chrome and gold chrome cars, which probably goes back to the Club Kit Heavy Chevy from my youth.
Since the blister was already mostly separated from the card, I decided to take the model out of the package so it could be displayed with my other loose Hot Wheels.
Hot Wheels | 1995 Silver Series | 322 | Fire Eater | chrome with red insert, yellow and black trim, blue tint windows | MY | BW
The Silver Series was new for 1995 and also included Rodzilla, Propper Chopper and School Bus castings. Silver Series II from 1996 included the CAT Dump Truck, ’40s Woodie, ’57 Chevy and the Oscar Myer Wienermobile.
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