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Hot Wheels Redline Glossary
This glossary is here to help clear some of the mystery of collecting Hot Wheels Redlines.


Adhesive Sticker Sheet - This refers to a paper backed sheet with pre-cut designs.  The pre-cut designs have an adhesive applied to their underside and when pulled away from the backing, they can be directly applied. 

Blister Pack – This refers to the packaging the majority of Spectraflame Redlines were sold in.  A blister pack consists of a paper backing with colorful artwork and the Hot Wheels logo on the front and the listing of available cars on the back while a clear plastic bubble, referred to as a blister, is secured to the front enclosing the car.

Casting – Refers to the actual Hot Wheels model itself.   

Crumbler - There was a brief period around 1971 when the composition of metal used was of lesser quality or of a poor mixture which led to what are called by collectors as “crumblers.”   These “crumblers” are just that – the base or body crumbles due to moisture or humidity that causes the metal to swell through minute fractures ultimately reducing it to a pile of rubble.  For instance, the body can be pristine without any flaws while the base has swelled or completely crumbled into many pieces. Unfortunately, there is no way to cease the process once it has begun and “crumblers” have ultimately no value.  It is also worth mentioning that this condition can exist with castings still sealed in their blister pack. 

Base - The base of the car is simply the chassis.  It sometimes provides characteristics of early or late run production but more importantly supplies the year first produced, copyright and patent information as well as the casting name and its country of origin.  For castings introduced during the years of 1968 and 1969, the U.S. base is less detailed then the Hong Kong base and the U.S. base does not have four open square cut outs revealing part of the suspension whereas the Hong Kong base does.  For castings introduced in 1970 and lasting through to 1972, the U.S. and Hong Kong bases were similar, lacking detail on both but were still stamped with their country of origin, casting name, year produced and copy right and patent.   

Filler – A casting that is in either poor condition or has been repainted which will serve as a space holder until a better example is found. 

Hybrid – This term is used to describe a casting that has been produced with both U.S. and Hong Kong parts.  The number of parts used from one origin versus the other can vary drastically from one to many.  A great example is the Custom Barracuda where you can have a U.S. made body, interior and hood and the base, wheels and glass are Hong Kong parts.  There are several hybrid castings but the most familiar are the Custom Camaro, Custom Barracuda and Sand Crab. 

Power Bulges – This term refers to the hood scoops or air vents that were cast onto hoods and engine covers. 

Peppering – This refers to fine particles found under the paint that gives the finish a rough texture that can be seen and or felt and usually results in tiny black specs resembling pepper. 

Tampo – This refers to the painted designs that are applied by a pad press to particular castings.  The term was derived from the manufacture of the equipment used by Mattel for this particular process. 

Toning – Also known as mottling, refers to wisps, small to medium dark spots or larger dark patches found under the paint leaving an uneven hue and in some cases affects the entire car or just certain parts like the hood or rumble seat.  This is said to be caused by imperfections in materials such as the zinc-plated metal itself, or improperly polishing the casting during preparation prior to painting.  Also, it has been stated that environment and storage conditions have contributed to the cause or acceleration of toning such as moisture and UV rays. 

Water Slide Decal Sheet – This refers to a paper backed sheet with a very thin clear top that would have sponsor logos or other designs such as flowers printed on it.  When this sheet is submerged in water, the logos or designs will slide off from the paper backing and then can be applied.  

Wheel Type & Style – Both U.S. and Hong Kong wheels came in a variety of sizes ranging in small, medium and large.  Also, from 1968 through 1969 and into the early part of 1970 the wheels for both U.S. and Hong Kong were a bearing type that was pressed over a Delrin bushing.  From 1970 to the end of 1972, a new type of capped wheel and a new, smoother suspension was used in both U.S. and Hong Kong castings.  From time to time, a casting made in 1969 that would normally have bearing type wheels has been found with either a combination of bearing and capped wheels or all four wheels are capped wheels. This merely indicates a transition from the bearing type to the capped wheel type and in some cases may demand a small premium in value over the traditional counter part due to it being a rare variation.   Being wheel style is more of classification of distinct differences between the U.S. and Hong Kong made wheels, these will be broken out and explained here. 

U.S. bearing style – The U.S. redline wheel in its early stage has chrome mag spokes with a red stripe embossed on the outer perimeter.  Shortly after and continuing on until the end of all U.S. production, the chrome on the mag spoke was replaced by a silvery matte finish, still with the red stripe around the perimeter.  Later U.S. wheels in all sizes have been found to include the chrome mag spokes return but in a blocky kind of shape.

HK bearing style – The Hong Kong redline wheel in its early stage has chrome mag spokes with a thinner red stripe then the U.S. style embossed on the outer perimeter.  Because of the force of the strike in producing the wheel itself, there tends to be a more recessed impression of the mag spokes giving the wheel a “deep dish” like appearance.  The “deep dish” appearance is indicative of early Hong Kong produced cars and shortly after, this force subsided leaving the wheel’s appearance as it is most commonly found and much more resembles the U.S. while retaining the chrome mag spokes and thinner red stripe.

U.S. capped style – The U.S. capped wheel style is made with chrome mag spokes and a thicker or heavier red stripe around the perimeter when compared to the Hong Kong made capped wheel.

H.K. capped style – The Hong Kong capped wheel style resembles the U.S. capped style with only one slight distinction being that the Hong Kong wheel has a thinner or lighter red stripe around the perimeter of the chrome mag spokes.


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