When the world’s most successful automaker (by volume, anyway, and with the caveat that the autos in question are palm-size) turns 50, there’s only one way to celebrate: You’ve gotta go big.
Hot Wheels started producing its highly detailed, irresistibly zoomable toys in 1968, and we at Autoweek decided to celebrate its milestone birthday with something special. And so this past Monday, we unveiled a massive Hot Wheels display on the banked surface of the Lexus Velodrome, a state-of-the-art bicycle racing facility in the heart of Detroit.
Part temporary art installation, part miniature traffic jam, our one-of-a-kind automotive sculpture is a dramatic representation of the outsize influence these toys have had on two generations and running. Everybody seems to have a Hot Wheels story; for many of us, a scale model car in a blister pack was our point of entry into what would become a lifelong obsession. Like the cars themselves, these stories might seem small individually. But add up the impact of every car sold — a mind-boggling 6 billion and counting — and all the memories each of those cars created, and the impact of Hot Wheels becomes impossible to ignore.