Seeing as I still have a cardboard box filled with a bunch of my childhood cars I wanted to save, I figured why not feature them? There’s a bunch, so this is the first part of a series. I also have a bunch of Majorette, a handful of Road Champs and a few others mixed in that I decided to not chuck.
First up are really the only Hot Wheels I remember having as a young kid. These are Color Racers releases from the late 1980s. The line was also known as Automagick outside of the states. They featured color changing paint based on hot or cold temperatures. You know the Color Changers that Hot Wheels has done the last several years with the plastic bodies and metal bases? Yea, these are a LOT more robust than those. All were just the normal basic issue tools, just with the fancy paint, so many still featured the metal bases that were still quite prevalent at the time. They were generally released in 3 packs and Hot Wheels had a few playsets related to the line. Matchbox and Road Champs eventually followed suit and also had their own lines of color changing paint cars. But when you’re digging through yardsale bins and find an older Hot Wheels but don’t see the color variation listed on STDC or the Wikia? Chances are it’s a Color Racer. This sort of question would come up all the time on the Hot Wheels Collector forums when they were more active.
The Turbo Mustang was my absolute favorite toy car as a kid. I literally took it everywhere with me. It made the vacation trips down to Florida when my mom and I would visit my grandparents, it went to Maine when both parents and I would visit my mom’s family. I remember always being fascinated with it, leaving it in the window at my grandparents’ townhome and seeing the color change in the Florida sun.
I have vivid memories of one of the Toys R Us stores we had locally that I got most of these from. I still sort of remember the store layout as well. There were a TON of the 3 packs hanging, and of course I wanted them all. Hey, I was 3-5 years old lol.
So many of these nowadays bring a pretty penny on the secondary market. The Hot Bird, Turbo Mustang and VW Bug. Probably because most look like the ones here. It’s fun trying to collect some of the mint ones, though can be quite a headache when trying to remember exactly what colors you have. Some of these cars were released in a wide variety of colors. The Corvette Stingray (of which I don’t have one from my childhood) probably has the most different color variations out there, I believe pretty much utilizing all the colors of the rainbow over its tenure in the line. The ’57 T-Bird has quite a few too. There were a couple guys on the HWC forums that specialized in Color Racer collecting and their sets were massive. I’m still in awe at times when I look back at the pictures (because of course I saved them for reference material, haha!)
Not all of the ones I had are featured here. I had a couple of the Jeep CJ7 but they got pretty wrecked (windshields did not survive). I had a ’55 Chevy, Rescue Ranger, a couple Race Bait 308s, and a number of others. But these were easily my favorites as a kid because of the paint. I probably ruined some of the hardwood in my play area of the house because I used the water so much on these, haha!
So, there’s a small peak into how I started with diecast, and where my heart lies in the collecting scene.
Search for Hot Wheels Color Racers on eBay!
3 Replies to “Throwback Thursday! The Cars of My Childhood, Pt. 1: Hot Wheels Color Racers”
Cool article. Those came out about the time I got my first car so I missed out on those. Love the fact they are mainlines with different paint. I’m always looking for good ones these days to put in my basic wheel collection.
Wow! Quite a collection there and they capture the characteristics of your play time with those models.
The 80’s and 90’s were interesting times for cars back in those times. Looking back, by today’s standards they weren’t exactly great performers but the style which they conveyed to anyone with a lust & passion for car culture man… just evokes thoughts that take you back!
I just noticed the Speed Seeker. That must be some sort of re-creation or spin-off of the Mantis, correct??
Still have a near mint Hot Bird believe it or not.