Back Home Again in Indiana: Hot Wheels Indy Cars

Every year on Memorial Day weekend, in the small town of Speedway, Indiana, nearly half a million people gather to watch the biggest single-day sporting event in the world: the Indianapolis 500. The 500 has been a racing institution since 1911, when Ray Harroun first took the checkered flag in his bright yellow Marmon Wasp. Normally my family and I would be sitting among the famed yard of bricks, where my dad has held the same four turn-two tickets for almost 40 years — but for 2020, everything changed.

The world-wide COVID crisis has delayed the race from May to today, nearly three months after its regular date…and the perhaps the worst part: no fans allowed.

While we’ll be gathering to watch the race on TV, it’ll be yet another mark on what has seemed to be one of the most despised years in a very long time. I know — bummer, right? But like many of you I find happiness in these little toy cars, and luckily there are a TON of 1/64th scale Indy cars to hold your own Family Room 500. Greenlight has an awesome series of Indy vehicles, Matchbox has some cool retro Indy cars too, but for this article I’m going with some of my favorite Indy cars from Hot Wheels.

Hot Wheels has been making Indy cars since the Redline era, and still have an Indy car in their mainline to this day. Here’s a closer look at some of the Indy car offerings from the famed brand with the flame.

Redline Era

The first two Indy cars are from 1969’s Grand Prix series: the Indy Eagle and the Shelby Turbine.

1969 Hot Wheels Indy Eagle in bright green spectraflame.
Hot Wheels Shelby Turbine in spectraflame blue.

Both cars represent real race cars, the Shelby Turbine being a replica of what most people would call the STP or Granatelli car, and the Indy Eagle replicates the Eagle MK2 cars.

Blackwall & Real Riders Era

The Hot Wheels Thunderstreak is one of my favorite Indy cars from any manufacturer. The early casting’s slick look and flat wing look perfect – especially when paired with a set of white-letter Real Riders.

As Indy car styles changed the Thunderstreak casting changed with them — most notably in the form of an extended rear wing. I actually opened the Pennzoil version for this shoot, and it looks great freed after nearly 30 years of being carded.

1990/1991 Thunderstreak in the Penske Pennzoil livery.

The next Indy car is the Turbostreak. This casting debuted in the early 80’s, but the version seen here is from the early 90’s. The bright yellow paint and Hot Wheels logos look great on this car….but not as good as some of the earlier Real Riders versions do.

Hot Wheels has additional Indy car type castings, like the Hot Wheels 500, but the next one featured here is Mattels’ newest Indy car casting, the 2010 Indy 500 Oval.

This is one of my favorite modern Hot Wheels castings and has come in a bunch of cool variations, like the 2020 Target Red version seen above, and the tribute car to the late two-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon as seen below.

So while Indy fans may be stuck watching the race at home this year, we have plenty of Indy cars to choose from to make our own 500 — now we just need to track down some 1/64th scale Culver Blocks to remake the yard of bricks 🏁

2 Replies to “Back Home Again in Indiana: Hot Wheels Indy Cars”

    1. While that was a neat casting too, that wouldn’t fall under Indy. Same with the Brabham, F1 racer, and so on. I was surprised not to see the Lotus (56b)Turbine though. That was a classic!

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