Hot Wheels Convertables

Mike Pigott looks at this range of Hot Wheels vehicles from 1991 that featured colour-changing and shape-changing bodies.

In 1988, Hot Wheels introduced a range of model cars with colour-changing paint, which turned a different shade when exposed to heat, returning to the original colour when cooled. These proved popular at the time, having been sold under various brand names including Color Racers, Automagic, Color FX, Colour Turbo and Color Shifters – these are still available today. Also produced in the 1980s was a range called Crack-Ups, which were cars with rotating panels that simulated collision damage. In 1991 Hot Wheels combined the novelty features of these two lines, and came up with the Convertables, which changed both shape and colour when exposed to heat and cold.

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Evel Knievel Diecast Miniatures by Ideal Toys

Mike Pigott looks at this legendary range of diecast models made by Ideal Toys in the 1970s, based on the King of the Stuntmen: Evel Knievel.StratocycleLegendary stuntman Evel Knievel was one of the most famous figures of the 1970s, and Ideal’s range of toys based on his exploits are among the most widely sought-after collectibles of the era. However, while the Evel Knievel action figures and powered motorcycles are widely remembered today, a related range of diecast vehicles from Ideal Toys is perhaps not as well-known, despite being excellent miniatures. Ideal produced a range of 13 different Evel-related vehicles, some of which are scarce and valuable today.

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The Pink Panther by Bburago

Mike Pigott looks at a large model of the popular cartoon cat made by Italian company Bburago.


While the Pink Panther models made by Dinky of the UK are probably the most well known toy cars based on the character, there were a wide range of miniature vehicles featuring the famous colourful cat. The Pink Panther was extremely popular in Italy, and there were several toy vehicles featuring his likeness, including a large racing car made by Bburago.

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Hot Wheels X-V Racers

Mike Pigott concludes his series on motorized Hot Wheels cars with a look at this little-known range of gyro-powered diecast vehicles from the 1980s.

99 (4)Over the years, there has been a number of powered ranges of diecast vehicles from Mattel. Scorchers were diecast cars with powerful pull-back-and-go motors in them, first produced in 1979. These were followed in 1982 by Shift Shift Kickers, which were similar, but had a brake lever on the back. In 1986, Mattel introduced X-V Racers, which were Hot Wheels sized cars with gyro-type motors that could race along the floor and also perform various stunts.

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Hot Wheels Shift Kickers

Mike Pigott looks at this little-known range of motorized Hot Wheels cars with ‘stick shift’ action!Wind SprinterBetween 1979 and 1981, Hot Wheels produced a range of powered diecast vehicles known as Scorchers. This range had powerful friction engines that could run on a range of track sets, including the amazing Scorcher Chamber, where they could drive around the inside of a transparent plastic barrel! However, by 1981 other manufacturers were producing similarly powered models, and cars with ‘pull-back-and-go’ motors became a-dime-a-dozen. Hot Wheels needed to make models with more of an edge, and so three of the Scorchers castings were modified into Shift Kickers, which supposedly had ‘stick shift’ action!

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Hot Wheels Scorchers

Mike Pigott looks at this exciting range of motorized Hot Wheels vehicles from 1979.

White ThunderScorchers were a range of spring-powered diecast vehicles introduced in 1979. They were not the first motorized cars produced by Hot Wheels; the rechargeable battery-powered Sizzlers had been introduced in 1969 (although these were not diecast), and the clunky rubber-band powered Revvers dated from 1973. However, the Scorchers were the first powered diecast cars that actually worked convincingly.

Mattel described the Scorchers as being ‘spring-powered’ on the packaging, and they were activated by rolling the vehicle backwards, or backwards and forwards, to wind the motor. These days they would be described as ‘pull-back-and-go’ cars, and this type of friction motor seems to be fitted to all sorts of el-cheapo, pound-store junk toys. However, in 1979 this feature was incredibly innovative, and the motors fitted to the Scorchers were very powerful. Scorchers were the big stars of all the 1979 international toy fairs, and the ‘Scorcher Chamber’ track set was a particular favourite.

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View-Master / Matchbox Grand Prix Game

Mike Pigott looks at a rare game that combines a board, a View-Master viewer and reels and four Matchbox Superfast cars.

Viewmaster Game BoardDuring the 1970s GAF, the manufacturer of View-Master, entered the toy market with a range of games incorporating 3D viewers and reels. One of these was a race game that had the novel idea of using Matchbox cars as playing pieces. What makes this product of interest is the fact that some of the cars included were exclusive to the set and were not available separately, resulting in them being among the rarest Matchbox models of all time.

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Corgi Growlers


Mike Pigott looks at this sub-series of the Corgi Juniors range from the 1970s with working sound effects.


During the 1970s, model car manufacturers were constantly coming up with new gimmicks for their diecast vehicles. Matchbox introduced Rola-matics, which had parts that moved as the model was rolled along. Hot Wheels had Revvers, which were powered by rubber bands. And Corgi’s Junior range gave us Growlers, which made ‘engine sounds’ as they were pushed along!

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