The Hot Wheels Original 16 Display Set: It belongs in a museum, but you can leave it in your house.

Anyone here NOT know that Hot Wheels was celebrating its 50th birthday in 2018?  Mattel surely made the most of it, and we collectors benefited.  From an Ultimate Chase to several special releases and events, the HW 50th logo was all over the place.

And although we collectors want to think that the Hot Wheels world revolves around us, it doesn’t.  And the majority of the releases and events were geared to everyone.  But those that were meant for collectors were truly memorable.  At the top of my list are the two Convention ’55 Gassers, one in gold and one in black, that were given out the Finales of both 2018 Conventions.


They are gorgeous, and speak to the golden anniversary that Hot Wheels has been celebrating.  But they don’t necessarily commemorate Hot Wheels’ rich heritage.

That is ALL that the Original 16 Display Set does.  Made to truly celebrate Hot Wheels’ legacy, and made specifically for collectors.  In fact, it is only available to collectors.  It goes on sale this Tuesday on, and for 24 hours only available to RLC Members.  If any are left after that window, any HWC member can have a crack at one.

Mattel has been working the HWC-only Original 16 set for years now, releases a couple each year.  Each is a true replica of the 16 original castings produced by Hot Wheels in 1968, painted in an upgraded spectraflame paint and packaged in 1968 blister cards.

Those are great, but the Display Set goes well beyond that.  The set is a replica of the original store displays from 1968, and included are all of the Original 16 in exclusive colors.  You will appreciate the set when you first see it, you will LOVE it when you open the drawer and find the gorgeous models all nestled together in their jewelry-like box.

Mattel sent me a set to preview, and I have to say when I opened it I was truly blown away.  In all honesty, I didn’t know what to think when they sent it.  I don’t collect Red Lines, in fact I have very little interest in them.  I thought the set would be cool to show to my readers and viewers, but I didn’t think I would react the way I did.

It is gorgeous.  It is impossible not to examine each model, appreciating the originals more and more as you do.  I mentioned on IG how the set captivated some very non-collector guests we had for dinner the other night.  Our art-loving friends were captivated.

And it is that drawer.  Trust me, it’ll suck you in.


Why do I say this?  Because while there might be the “of course you will like it when you get a $500 set for free” complaints, instead focus on how it sucked in a collector with no interest in Red Lines.  Had I not seen it before, I would have let the sale come and go without a thought.  But now I consider it the signature 50th Anniversary piece, something that would be treasured by any collector.  Something that justifies the hefty price, and will not create a single second of regret for the person that bought it.  I have actually considered buying another, but with only 1500 made, I think it is best to give another collector a shot.  It is worth every penny.

10 Replies to “The Hot Wheels Original 16 Display Set: It belongs in a museum, but you can leave it in your house.”

  1. Assuming that you received this packed as it will be shipped to everyone can you add a blurb in how it was sent to you? I mean the protective measures taken by the fulfillment warehouse to get what would seem to be a delicate display case to wherever it was shipped. Because when it comes to this place in PA sending stuff to me in VA it looks like it went thru one of those old American Tourister commercials with the gorilla.

    Was there adequate packing and was it double boxed inside a second shipper beyond the white outer box? Did it come from PA to you or was it shipped directly from Mattel HQ? Thanks for any info.

    1. Considering that Redline collectors paid Chris Walker $500 for the repro cases that he made a while back I think that is quite a bargain for a Mattel made version.

  2. Definitely interesting and the many of the cars are cool, but the display does NOTHING for me. I hope the quality is much more impressive in person, because at first glance it looks like something that could be constructed in junior high art class. To me, this is maybe a $200 item, as I only would really want the 60’s era cars based on production models. Even at that, that’s a large chunk of money for one purchase. I’m sure Hot Wheels will have no problem selling each and every one- they seem to have a great pulse on the hobby right now. I’m sure those who buy it will love it.

  3. Imagine being a kid in the late 1960s, opening up your collector case to play. Every time is was like opening up a jewel case with all that beautiful spectraflame paint shining back at you. Even better at Christmas when the lights of the tree and fireplace glistened off the car bodies. This was one of the reasons I absolutely fell in love with Hot Wheels, which lasted until 1973 and the dawn of Flying Colors, enamel paint which was a huge disappointment in comparison.
    I’m going to do my best to get this set tomorrow morning.

  4. I actually said to myself back at the start of the year that Mattel should do this for the 50th anniversary. I have photos and videos of the original one from the Chicago convention of 2005. This item is presented at a very fair price . I am really hoping I get one. It’s fabulous. I’m 60. I was 10 and getting this would mean a lot to me as I was on the ground floor collecting and playing with hotwheels. They have been a big part of my childhood and a huge part of my children’s lives when they were young. Even my daughters to a degree.

    1. I tried like heck to get one of the 3 HWC 3D Printed Prototypes, but man, … glad I waited today! Can’t wait to open it up. It’ll be like opening this like I was back in ’68, and I was born in ’70!
      Should be something that should gain in value and also great as an heirloom!

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