Yeah, this is one party we weren’t going to miss
Words by: Adam Allen
Toronto, Ontario- OK, we’ll admit it; we have an unwavering compulsion of not being able to resist walking by a Hot Wheels display at our local department store without purchasing at least a few. The cashier will flash a knowing smile, and you can almost hear them thinking “you said this was for your nieces and nephews last time, too.” For hopeless car fanatics, being raised without a healthy garage full of the die casts is all but unimaginable, and where else can you pick up a Porsche 918 Spyder, a Ferrari 488GTB and a Ford GT for under five bucks?
Since May 19th, 1968 Hot Wheels has been providing tempestuous wares for car nuts aged 3 to 93. To celebrate their 50th birthday, they invited some local journalists to a special display they’ve put on at the Canadian International Autoshow. As you’ll see in the gallery, they constructed a dizzyingly complex “super track” to see how your favourite model will fare against other competitors and brought along a few of their real-life products including the immensely cool Darth Vader character car (it comes with Lord Vader’s own personal light sabre in the console.) Also part of the fun is a pop-up store that sells everything from comic book-themed cars to a 1992 BMW M3 sedan and everything in between.
We were introduced to Akram Sharkawy and Ted Wu, Marketing Manager and Head of Global Design respectively at Hot Wheels. These guys are not your typical corporate stuffed shirts- having a character like that at the helm of this brand just wouldn’t work. Their enthusiasm for Hot Wheels is infectious (not that we needed help in that department.) Clad in blazers with Hot Wheels T-shirts underneath and in matching red Chuck Taylors, they talked about the pride that goes into each and every car from all aspects of the Hot Wheels family tree from upper management to those working in shipping making sure the cars get to their destination- it’s a tangible pride that everyone seems to exude. They summed up their talk with a nod to the next 50 years of Hot Wheels, and we think those years are going to be as full of cool stuff as the first 50.
And a heads up to the Moms and Dads visiting the show- picking up a few Hot Wheels will be the cheapest thing you buy the entire time you’re at the show. If you can, please pick up a few for us…we have some ‘nieces and nephews’ that would just love to add to their collections.
Some Hot Wheels Fast Facts:
- Over 6 billion (!) Hot Wheels have been produced since 1968- that’s 519 million every year, or 16.5 per second
- The average kid owns 45 Hot Wheels cars
- There are a staggering 20,000 different variations of Hot Wheels
- 6,000 miles of the signature orange Hot Wheels track are made each year
- The most expensive Hot Wheels of all time is the “Beach Bomb” which commanded $72,000 price tag
- The biggest collection in the world is worth over $1,000,000 and is owned by Bruce Pascal
- Hot Wheels is the #1 selling toy on Earth