Hot Wheels is a brand of American toy maker Mattel. In 1968 the first production line of 1:64 cars known as "The Original Sweet 16" were introduced. Eleven of the first sixteen was designed by Harry Bentley Bradley. Bradley was from the car industry and had designed the body for the (full-sized) Dodge Deora concept car and the Custom Fleetside. The first Hot Wheel produced was a dark blue Custom Camaro. This was also beginning of the Red Line Series, meaning the tires have a red pin stripe on their sides.
In 1970 was the first appearance of the Sizzler and Heavyweights. 1970 also introduced the Snake and the Mongoose. This was notably drag racing’s first major non-automotive corporate sponsor, and the beginning of the NHRA’s booming popularity with high-dollar teams and championships. 1970 also introduced the first Silver Series, which were 3 cars, the Boss Hoss, the Heavy Chevy, and the King Kuda. These 3 cars were obtained through a mail in offer that included a membership to the Hot Wheels Club. The 3 Silver Cars were faster than the rest, because they were heavier than the other gravity models.
Only 7 new models were made in 1972. Of the 24 models appearing for 1973, only 3 were new models. Also the cars changed from Mattel's in house Spectra flame colors to mostly-drab, solid enamel colors, which mainline Hot Wheels cars still use today. Due to low sales, and the fact that the majority of the castings were not re-used in later years, the 1972-3 models are known to be very collectible.
In 1977, the Redline Wheel was phased out, with the red lines being erased from the wheels. This cut costs, but also reflected that the red lines popularized during the era of muscle cars and Polyglass tires were no longer current. During this period, there was a trend away from wild hot rods and fictitious cars and a move to more realistic cars and trucks
What happened with Hot Ones in the 1980s for Hot Wheels sent them in the path of what they are today. In 1981, Hot Ones wheels were introduced, which had gold-painted hubs, thinner axles for speed, and additional suspension that most production Hot Wheels lacked. Ultra Hot wheels, which looked like the wheels found on a Renault Fuego or a Mazda 626, were introduced in 1984 and had other speed improvements. Hot Wheels started offering models based on 1980's sports and economy cars, like the Pontiac Fiero or Dodge Omni. In 1983, a new style of wheel called Real Riders were introduced, which had real rubber tires. Despite the fact that they were very popular, the Real Riders line was short-lived, because of high production costs. In the late 1980's, the Blue Card blister pack was introduced, which would become the basis of Hot Wheels cards still used today.