Hot Wheels cars were never really considered collectables by their target audience, namely blood-thirsty 8 year olds who enjoyed the spectacle of coloured cars and imaginary drivers becoming a cropper on the orange loop of death.
Unlike Matchbox cars they were designed to play with rather than collect which meant their attrition rate was much higher – good news for anyone savvy enough to have collected any surviving examples.
People like Bruce Pascal, a Washington DC real estate broker and Hot Wheels tragic whose collection of Mattel miniature cars is worth more than $1.3 million.
Pascal received his first Hot Wheels car when he was seven and was immediately hooked. Unlike most boys he didn’t set them on fire or crush them in his dad’s vice and built up a decent collection.
He grew out of them but 16 years ago found them in a box at his parents’ house and things escalated quicker than a mini Custom Chevrolet Camaro down a plastic track.
He has since amassed a collection of 3500 cars in a private museum in a spare room that’s been decorated to look like the office of Mattel co-founder and Hot Wheels creator Elliott Handler.
The pride and joy of Pascal’s incredible collection is a bright pink Volkswagen Beach Bomb Rear-Loader in mint condition, which he claims is just one of two, and the most valuable Hot Wheels car in the world with an estimated price tag of US$150,000 (Pascal bought it several years ago for around half that).
The Beach Bomb is one of the many pre-production prototypes he owns, which makes the collection all the more significant.
Pascal reckons he has more Hot Wheel cars and merchandise in his collection than Mattel and one day hopes to open a museum in homage to what he says is the most popular boys’ toy ever sold.