The History of Hot Wheels Crushed Cars

Monster trucks: two words that spark images of giant, colorful, 1,500hp racing machines.

Monster trucks have been around since the late 70’s, and have been a kid and fan-favorite ever since. People fill stadiums around the world to see the monstrous machines drag race, rip donuts, back flip, and my favorite, crush cars.

Crushing cars hasn’t always been a part of the monster truck regimen. Way back in early 80’s, Bob Chandler performed what is considered to be the very first public car-crush with Bigfoot #1, in front of a packed house at the Pontiac Silverdome. Little did he know that that crunch session would set off a wave of car-crushing that would be going strong nearly 40 years later.

Hot Wheels first got into the monster truck game officially around 1991, when they came out with the Bigfoot Champions line. The OG Bigfoot line is one of my all-time favorite Hot Wheels lines and helped kicked-off a flurry of crushed cars that has included around a half-dozen variations…with the current set of crushed cars being some of the most ground-breaking yet.

It’s hard to show the action of crushing cars in photos, so sit back and enjoy some vehicular destruction on video, as I go over the different generations of Hot Wheels crushed cars, with some follow-up photos below.

Gen 1: 1991/1992 Hot Wheels Bigfoot Champions

These crushable cars came exclusively in the Wreck ‘N Roll Arena and Deluxe Arena. They are made of a durable foil and have several different colors/designs. They are shaped and reshaped with a two-piece car mold. The same cars, although larger scale, were included in the Bigfoot Crunch Arena as well.

Hot Wheels Bigfoot Champions on eBay

Gen 2: 2009-2013 Hot Wheels various playset’s crushed cars

Hot Wheels has released several variations of the “standard” static crushed car in playsets since the start of the decade. This includes several of the gray crushed cars seen below, as well as a few different versions of them in color, shape, and overall design variations. They are all harder plastic and have no “action”, although they did make a two-piece RV that split apart but didn’t crush. These gray cars came from the 2009 World Finals Playset.

Hot Wheels Monster Jam Playsets on eBay

Gen 3: 2012 Break-apart cars

These cars have had the longest tenure of any of the crushed cars so far and have been included in playsets and single-truck packs since about 2012. These cars come in a few body styles including sedans, coupes, wagons, and even an RV. They snap together and “crush” using hard force against the joints, causing the vehicle to flatten. They can still be found in Monster Truck singles today.

Hot Wheels Monster Truck singles on eBay

Gen 4: 2018 Rubber cars

These cars were found in the last of the Monster Jam singles, right around 2018. They are molded in similar molds that some of the previous gen’s cars were, but this time made in smaller, rubber castings. They are a thick, rubbery material that can be “crushed” by applying some weight, and rebound back to shape. These were short-lived but make for a good crush experience.

2018 Hot Wheels Monster Jam singles on eBay

Gen 5: Click-together cars

These cars aren’t made for crushing as much as they are for building and knocking down. They are hard plastic and have pegs and holes on them so you can click them together and stack them. They are molded like crushed cars, but have no actual crushing feature. They came in Monster Truck singles around 2018/2019, most notably in the popular retro Bigfoot 8 single (2019).

2019 Hot Wheels Monster Truck Singles

Gen 6: 2020 Diecast Crushed Cars

These are the latest and greatest of the crushed cars from Hot Wheels. They are full diecast crushed cars based on real cars/other HWs castings. They all have a metal body, plastic chassis, and mainline wheels. The even have names: (from top to bottom) Blind Sided, Sudden Stop, Flat Iron, and Speed Bump. While they don’t have a crushing action, they are the most realistic crushed cars we’ve ever gotten — and they roll! These are truly the next generation of crushed cars and are among the first Hot Wheels cars to be cast fully damaged.

2020 Hot Wheels Monster Truck duos with diecast crushed cars

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One thought on “The History of Hot Wheels Crushed Cars

  1. Saw these diecast crushed cars at Wally’s a couple months ago, and had to have the station wagon! As the son of a former junkyard owner, these look very realistic and make a cool collection by themselves! Thanks for the great article!

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