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Hot Wheels Redline The Beginning
Here is a brief preface to the Hot Wheels Redline phenomenon.


The inspiration for Hot Wheels began prior to 1968, but kids of all ages until then had no idea what Elliot Handler, co-founder and the “el” of Mattel, had in store.  To compete with other die cast toy manufacturers of the time, Mr. Handler wanted a better rolling, more visually stunning, California hot-rod inspired die cast toy that above all had playability.  By combining the styling concepts of American 1960s’ muscle cars, mounting superior rolling mag-styled wheels with red striped tires and painting them in vibrant colors, Hot Wheels were born.  Additional California hot-rod traits were infused including “power buldges” and side pipes signifying powerful engines and “raked” rear ends giving a hot-rod stance.  Not only the cars themselves stood out from the crowd, but the packaging did as well.  A clear bubble encased these emblazoned Hot Wheels cars while the colorful card backing allowed it to be suspended from display pegs as if they were dangling in mid air.  An instant hit and now a classic are the many Spectraflame models that were produced under the Hot Wheels brand and in the grand stature Elliot Handler had envisioned.

 So what is Spectraflame and why are these little gems called Redlines?

 Spectraflame is the name Mattel used to describe the vibrant candy-colored paint that adorned castings produced in 1968 through 1972.  The process consisted of polishing the zinc-plated die cast metal bodies and then painting them with a thin layer of transparent, candy colored paint.  This allowed light to pass through the paint and reflect off the polished body resulting in a very reflective “Christmas Ball” look that still is impressive and eye catching today as it was intended back in the late 1960s.  Collectors coined the early produced Hot Wheels cars “Redlines” simply because of the red stripe that runs around the outside of the shiny five-spoke mag wheel.  Aside from the Spectraflame paint, these wheels are iconic to all early Hot Wheels castings.

Copyright 2012 © ChevyMuscle Toys (Edward Wershbale)