How Old Is Hot Wheels?

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You’ve probably had or at least seen a Hot Wheels car growing up. Every kid was blown away by how freely their wheels could roll and spin with minimal friction. 

The love of Hot Wheels doesn’t stop at a certain age, though. There are Hot Wheels collectors who are willing to pay thousands of dollars for vintage Hot Wheels cars. 

So, when did this love begin? In other words, how old is Hot Wheels, exactly? Let’s find out!

When Was Hot Wheel Formed?

Hot Wheels is an American brand that was formed in 1968. This is the year when the first-ever line of Hot Wheels, Sweet 16, was released.

It all started in 1966 when American inventor Eliot Handler was playing with his children and decided to enter the diecast cars market and launch his own line. 

That was after he realised that many of the cool and fun features that toy cars should have were missing. He noticed that none of the cars in the market at the time offered variations, innovation, speed, or agility. In short – they weren’t fun for children.

So, the American innovator and his wife, Ruth Handler, gathered a dream team and challenged the status quo. They set a goal for the team and for themselves to create diecast cars that are better than any others on the market. 

The iconic team that created these astounding car toys included Eliot Handler, an automotive designer, and a rocket scientist. 

Let’s just say that this dream team didn’t disappoint. The results were so extraordinary that when Eliot saw the new wheels rolling, he said, “Those are some hot wheels!”

After five decades and over six billion toy cars sold, Hot Wheels has left a lasting impression on both children and adults. 

Hot Wheels is now the second-largest toymaker after Lego, employing approximately 26,000 people.

Who Owns Hot Wheels?

Hot Wheels is owned by Mattel, an American multinational toy manufacturing company founded in 1945. 

Elliot Handler, Ruth Handler, and Harold Matson founded Mattel. The name Mattel is actually a mix of Harold’s nickname, “Matt,” and the “El” in Eliot.

Mattel, in addition to producing Hot Wheels, is the company that produced the Barbie doll in 1959. Ruth invented Barbie because she wanted to create a doll for young girls to play with that resembled how they would look in the future. 

When she saw her daughter playing with paper dolls of adult women, she realized there wasn’t a market for real-life dolls of women. So, Ruth founded this market and named Barbie after her daughter, Barbra, and Ken after her son, Kenneth.

What Was the First Hot Wheels Ever Made?

The custom Camaro based on the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro was the first Hot Wheels model produced. On May 18, 1968, the first Hot Wheels Camaro was sold, marking Hot Wheels’ official birthday. The Camaro was one of 16 cars in the Sweet 16 line. 

The designs of their first line were inspired by California muscle cars and real-life hot rods. You’ll notice that they took this inspiration seriously, as the Camaro was soon joined by other popular car models of the time. Some of the models are the Cougar, Firebird, Barracuda, and Mustang.

All of their cars had a metallic look, thanks to their Spectraflame paint. This paint did such an amazing job mirroring the eye-catching colours of that era.

Everyone was taken aback by Hot Wheels’ Sweet 16 line. All of the cars in this line were fast, powerful, and had excellent performance. They also looked super cool. Hot Wheels created something truly unique in the market.

Where Are Hot Wheels Manufactured?

Hot Wheels cars are mostly manufactured in Asian countries such as China, Thailand, and Malaysia. They are then exported to other countries for sale. 

What UK Shops Stock Hot Wheels?

Hot Wheels are widely available in the UK due to Mattel’s extensive distribution strategy. This strategy includes manufacturing plants, distributors, retailers, and a variety of outlets, such as supermarkets, toy stores, shopping malls, and hypermarkets.

Some of the shops that stock Hot Wheels cars and toy garages in the UK include Got Wheels, Smyths Toys, and Argos

Are Hot Wheels and Matchbox Owned By the Same Company?

Matchbox was previously owned by Tyco Toys, the main rival to Hot Wheels. In fact, Handler created Hot Wheels to compete with Matchbox.

Mattel then bought Matchbox in 1997, bringing it and Hot Wheels under the same ownership.


After reading this article and knowing how old Hot Wheels is, you can see that the love for these tiny yet powerful cars has been here for a long time. 

Their captivating look, combined with their smart design, wowed us back then and continues to do so to this day. The Hot Wheels team truly worked hard on leaving a long-lasting impression.