Since the introduction of Hot Wheels in 1968, an estimated 41 million people have grown up playing with the 1:64 scale cars. Year after year has seen the toys cement their place in the annals of pop culture history. Today, we’re concerned with the top three die-cast diamonds, the productions that can fetch thousands of dollars, whether loose or packaged.
Number three is the 1968 enamel white Camaro. As one of the first ever models produced to launch the Hot Wheels brand, the Camaro was part of the much-treasured “Red Line” series, which had red lines painted on the sidewalls of the tires.
The enamel white version was a prototype, and as such its worth is rated at $5,000 packaged, or $1,250 loose. Marcus Cockcroft, from Shawnee, Kansas, found a loose one sitting in his mother’s closet and sold it for $2,100.
Number two is the 1968 Cheetah, a “dream design” cooked up by Bill Cushenberry and based on the man’s creation of a similar-looking car in 1961. Red and Hong Kong-manufactured, the rarity stems from a tussle General Motors exec Bill Thomas had with Mattel.
Already trademarked as the name of the Shelby Cobra competitor, Mattel was forced to rebrand the cars as “Pythons” to avoid severe consequences. The originals are valued at $10,000 loose.
Number one is none other than the 1969 pink “Beach Bomb” VW Bus. Where other models had the surfboards attached to a side pod, these examples had them stuffed into the rear window, yet they were too narrow to launch from the Super Charger track sets being sold at the time.
Even for a classic Bus, $100,000+ seems a bit much, you know? Photo: WhiteMetal.com
Mattel quickly recognized this and made the side pod alteration, making only one pink, rear-loading specimen. It’s been featured all over the world, including the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
To get it, you’ll need not $20,000, not $50,000, but upwards of $100,000 to attain one, and that’s assuming the owner’s willing to part with it. Strange what people will pay for these things, no?