Growing up in the 80s, I was in Hot Wheels heaven. Next to baseball cards and comic books, I easily had hundreds of them. But like most kids, I never understood the value of my collection. From dropping them down homemade ramps off three-story windows to having them explode (don’t ask), not one remains in my possession today.
Those who were smart, however, kept their collection pieces separate from the 99 cent cars that are still worth only a few bucks today. Hot Wheels first began in 1968 through the toy company Mattel. The die-cast vehicles were originally made to represent real-life versions, scaled to fit in the palm of your hand (and sometimes slightly larger).
Out of billions of mass-produced Hot Wheels vehicles, there are a select few which are worth more than imaginable. And since I already bashed all the flops made by Hot Wheels, it's only fair to redeem them by featuring those which are worth money, if not a small fortune, today.
Some of these collectors’ gold mines look amazing while others could be just another car in one’s collection. Depending on the year, designer, prototypes that snuck out of the factory, or simply based on iconic cars — the most valuable Hot Wheels cars are not necessarily what you would expect. Some are based off movies and television shows while others were among the first ever created and sold. Which is why we’re going full nostalgia again as we tap into Hot Wheels that are worth anywhere from several hundred to well over $100,000.
25 Super Rare
Officially known among Hot Wheels heads as the Hot Wheels Collector Number 271 with a blue card, there are only 12 of these in exitance. Released in 1995, the Collector Number 271 is likely the rarest model Hot Wheels car from the 90s.
The Collector Number 271 is worth around $3,500.
The only catch is that if you don’t have the packaging, it can’t be verified as authentic. There are also some fake packaging versions too, so don’t get click happy if you happen to see one on eBay. As of 2016, only around 7 have been officially authenticated. Leaving five Hot Wheels Collector Number 271 cars out there that might be collecting dust in your storage area. If you left it in the packaging.
24 Pink Beach Bomb
Known in the Hot Wheels community as the 1969 Pink Rear-Loading Volkswagen Beach Bomb, there are only two in existence. Owned by Bruce Pascal, the Pink Beach Bomb was scrapped and altered after just one casting. Hot Wheels then made around 200 Beach Bombs (designed by Ira Gilford) which featured the surfboards on the side instead. The vehicle was still deemed too top-heavy, as it couldn’t make it through a Hot Wheels track.
All Beach Bombs are rare models, priced around $80,000 to $125,000.
In the 70s, Hot Wheels track sets and superchargers were hot-sellers. The Pink Beach Bomb failed to make it through the sets, which led to other models. The surfboards were moved to the side, and a large square chunk of solid metal was molded into the middle of the base — to keep the van weighed-down.
23 Cash Money
Hot Wheels cars rarely break the $100,000 mark, but the Diamond Encrusted Car is not an everyday toy vehicle. It is the most expensive toy car that has ever been made. Starting at a price tag of around $140,000, the Diamond Encrusted Car has an 18-karat white gold frame, along with 2,700 various blue, black, and white diamonds. The underside of the Hot Wheels car is painted with spectraflame blue paint and the brake lights are made from cut red rubies.
The diamonds on the car weigh in at a whopping 23 carats and are worth $140,000 by themselves.
Of the 2,700 diamonds, there are 40 white ones. Each diamond represents a year in the legacy of Hot Wheels. The car itself was made to commemorate the production of the 4 billionths Hot Wheels vehicle made.
22 Mac Mutt Daddy
The Hot Wheels Mutt Mobile was designed by Larry Wood, debuting in 1971. Prominent features include an exposed motor and exhaust pipes, control stick steering, and a rear compartment to transport dogs in. Yep, you read that right, the rear compartment has a door which opens to reveal two white dogs.
There are two rare versions of the Mutt Mobile. Both have the name Odd Job, but the rarest of the two was manufactured in Mexico by CIPSA. These models are similar to the standard release except most come with weird looking Blackwall wheels, and the paint looks different. The Odd Job is also one of two CIPSA castings to be found still on the original card, the other being the Superfine Turbine. There is also a gold version featured in the image with Chrome engines and pipes
21 Rodger That Dodger
Based on the 1973 Dodge Charger SE with triple opera window option, this Hot Wheels Rodger Dodger car was designed by Larry Wood. The earliest versions had a metal base and capped redlines on the rear only. They were painted in Plum crazy enamel with flame tampos. The Rodger Dodger reused the same base from a previous version, named Show-Off. On rare models, you can find the Show-Off name partially bleeding through the deletion plate. There is another rare version from 1974 which has a white interior.
The rarest version of them all, however, would be the blue painted Rodger Dodger. Produced sometime in the mid-70s, there are only 7 blue Rodger Dodgers in existence. Rumored to have been a UK exclusive, these seven rare Hot Wheels will sell for around $8,000.
20 Light It Up
The easily recognizable and iconic Mystery Machine (owned by Fred) was the main source of transportation for the Mystery Inc. crew. Released in 2012 by Hot Wheels and designed by Manson Cheung, the 2017 model will get the most bang for your buck. The 2013 Retro Entertainment model, however, packs that Scooby-Doo Zoinks punch.
The Retro version has a base of unfinished metal while the other models are a mix of plastic and chrome. It features classic Scooby-Doo decals on the side whereas other versions feature red flowers with the text of Mystery Machine. You can find various versions online, ranging in price from $15 up to $80. But honestly, we want it more for nostalgia purposes. It looks good and will always make you smile as you reminisce about your favorite characters.
Ok, you got us on this one. No, these aren’t worth a bunch of money as they range in worth from $5.00 to $50 depending on the condition. But, its Spiderman, which makes it cool no matter what. The two versions of this Hot Wheels car featured in the image are the Spiderman Shredster adaptation in The Heroes line and the Hot Wheels Spiderman Van.
The Heroes Spiderman version was produced in 1979 and 1984 only. These, unlike the dozens of other adaptations, are actually worth some money. Designed by Larry Wood, the interior was unpainted and featured red windows. There was also a version which had orange tint windows. It only came in the color black and was made in Hong Kong.
18 I Want Custody Of Me!
K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand) is from the hit television series Knight Rider. Within the series, K.I.T.T. is a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am with AI (and attitude). The first Hot Wheels version of Knight Industries Two Thousand was released in 2012. Designed by Brendon Vetuskey (based on Glen A. Larson’s original design), K.I.T.T. is featured in a 1/64 scale model, along with 1/43 and 1/18 scale from the Hot Wheels Elite line.
The 1/64 scale die-cast model features K.I.T.T.'s iconic scanner bar. Despite being difficult to see, the overhead console detail is cast into the roof of the vehicle. The 1/18 scale version is where the money is at. It comes with a light up scanner, pop-up headlights, along with hinged doors, hood, and trunk. It features removable T-tops, flocked interior, ejector seats that lean forward, tilting rear seat, and even a rotating license plate.
17 Holy Rusted Metal Batman
Batman Hot Wheels models are naturally a hit, due to the sleek designs featured on film and television. There is currently a total of 16 various Batman adaptation lines to choose from. The two most rare, however, is the 1:64 Scale Limited Edition from Comic-Con in San Diego and the Hot Wheels 2004 #001 Batmobile featuring a grey base variation.
Prices of these Batmobiles range from a few bucks too well over a hundred depending on the model and condition. The '66 Batmobile (based on the original television series) was created by Larry Wood and debuted in 2007. There was also a prototype released in the same year which featured an unpainted body and light blue tinted windows. As Robin was known for saying, “Holy Hole in a Doughnut!”
16 Purple Mania
The Olds 442 is a Hot Wheels casting designed by none other than Larry Wood again, debuting in 1971. Based off the design of a 1970 Oldsmobile 442, this Hot Wheels car is the rarest casting from the Redline era (1968-1977). Even cars in poor condition are still sought after. The rarest of them all is the purple Olds 442.
A Purple Olds 442 will sell from $1,500 to $7,000.
The Olds 442 features a hood which opens and includes a detailed motor underneath. Glass on the Olds 442 varies from clear, to having a slight light blue tint, and it was initially packaged with a decal sheet of white stripes with stars. The Olds 442 also came with either a metal or plastic Collectors Button. All the mass-produced models had a white interior, but some spectraflame red cars have been found with a black interior
15 Who Ya' Gonna' Call?
Ghostbusters the movie premiered in 1984, but the Hot Wheels cars didn’t end up on the production line until 2010. There are three different models that are normally sought after. The most popular (and expensive) is the Hot Wheels Ecto-1A. Ranging several hundred in price, up to a thousand bucks, the Ecto-1A was released in 2014. The Ecto-1a is a 1:43-scale die-cast based on the vehicle featured in the Ghostbusters II movie.
The second most popular model is the Hot Wheels Ecto-1 Ghostbusters Cartoon Car, released in 2015. This is a true representation model (1:64-scale die-cast) of the original Ghostbusters station wagon featured in the animated series.
The third is a 1:64-scale die-cast toy car based on the Ecto-1 from the first Ghostbusters film. A highly painted version of this Hot Wheel was sold as an exclusive at SDCC in 2010.
14 Bad To The Bone
Known as The Demon, this Hot Wheels delight was first made in 1970. Based on the Dave Stuckey customized 1932 Ford Lil' Coffin show car from the 50s to 60s. This toy can sometimes go for several hundred dollars. It is normally found with a black interior, but there is a magenta model with a white interior that is known to be extremely rare.
After the initial casting of The Demon, the car was renamed Prowler from 1973 to 1983. Then in 1993 the casting was given a new tool and die as part of the 25th Anniversary Series. Some early 1973 releases can be found with a Demon base, however, this doesn’t affect its overall value. Perhaps one day, it might even increase its worth?
13 Hotshot Ace
In 1968, Monogram (owned by Mattel at the time) released the Red Baron. Rumor has it that the car was inspired by the cartoon Peanuts. Specifically, Snoopy’s imaginary battles with the Red Baron. The original was a model kit of a stylized hot-rod featuring a WWI German infantry helmet and an Iron Cross motif on the radiator. The version released in 1970 by Hot Wheels is one of the most popular and memorable cars ever.
Estimated worth is around $3,000 to $4,000.
The original Red Baron featured capped redline wheels, spectraflame red paint, and a pointed spike on the helmet. It was packaged with either a metal or plastic Collectors Button. Certain versions of the 1970 Red Baron have been found with a white interior instead of black. There is only a handful of these known to exist.
12 Rolling Munchies
Due to a one-year contract with Frito-Lay, Hot Wheels only produced a few of what has come to be known as The Delivery Van. Released in 1984, the Delivery Van could be found in the City Gift Pack which replaced the Letter Getter. However, certain Delivery Vans have been found Blister packs with the name Letter Getter.
After the contract was up with Frito-Lay, the name changed to Combat Medic in 1986 and Delivery Truck in 1989 (which featured Wonder Bread). The neat part about the Frito-Lay Delivery Van was that the back opened. There are at least a dozen other castings based on the Delivery Van, and as far as we know — its name was never used again.
11 Pimpin AMX
Generally known as the Custom AMX, this Hot Wheels car was initially released in 1969. The Custom AMX was made only in the United States, featuring a white interior. Most cars came with silver bearing redline wheels while later versions featured Chrome capped redline wheels. Various productions even produced a mashup of both. It also came packaged with a metal collectors button. But the normal Custom AMX isn’t where the money’s at.
The 1970 Ed Shaver Custom AMX goes for around $4,000.
Sold only in the UK, the Ed Shaver Custom AMX was a sponsored version of the real deal. The only difference is in the stickers. Authenticity requires proof that the stickers were purchased with the Hot Wheels car. After 41 years, the Custom AMC AMX was retooled in 2010 as part of the Red Line Club Membership
10 Great Scott!
The first Back to the Future based DeLorean from Hot Wheels was released in 2011. Since then there have been six distinct versions, with about another half-dozen adaptations. The original featured DMC wrote on the front and OUTATIME on the back. It was also painted metalflake silver to represent a natural Stainless-Steele tone. Because as Back to the Future geeks know, the Stainless-Steel body on the DeLorean enabled the flux capacitor to generate the 1.21 Jigowatts of electricity it needed.
Various versions are worth more than others, ranging from $5 to several hundred. All we know is that it’s a DeLorean. Making it worth more than money. The San Diego Comic-Con version is the one which is hardest to find. Although, we personally like the style of the original version.
9 On The Road Again
Released in 1977 as part of the Flying Colors series, the GMC Motorhome was designed by Bob Rosas and Larry Wood. It first debuted in the Truckin' Machines 6-pack with redlines. Rosas had contacted GMC with a request for the build. GMC agreed to send over the blueprints if they got 30 gold versions in return.
The estimated worth of the Gold GMC Motorhome is around a couple thousand dollars.
The 30 Gold versions were given to sales representatives. They are extremely rare. The casting for this model has also been used with the Hot Wheels Airport Transportation and Captain America Van. In 2009 it was released as a Treasure Hunt. Overall, there are a good two dozen versions or adaptations of the GMC Motorhome by Hot Wheels.
8 Pinto Fabulous
The original Hot Wheels Poison Pinto was released in 1976. It was part of the Flying Colors series and was designed by Larry Wood. The casting is based on the Ford Pinto Van. An alternative version was released in 1979, in the Heroes line, under the name of The Thing. The interior of the original was colored in Chrome, and it was produced in Hong Kong. Its most well-known for its signature skull and crossbones featured on the side.
While the original is usually priced around $75.00 to $150.00, this model is often collected more for its visual appeal, rather than its actual worth. Altogether, there are twelve various release dates and adaptations of the Hot Wheels Poison Pinto. Three of those later versions are offered in spectraflame red, green, and even pink.
7 Elite Truckin'
Starting at a price of around $70.00, the Design Custom '38 Ford C.O.E. autographed by Larry Wood truck will be worth more in the future than it is today. The original '38 Ford C.O.E. Truck was released in 1998 and ran until 2009. Featured are flatbed, airstream flatbed, airstream trailers, and box versions. Overall, there are about a dozen various adaptations.
One of those versions is the Elwoody Custom Cars 2-Car Set. Created by Larry Wood in 1998, the Hot Wheels special features a chopped wood paneled 1950 2-door Buick wagon on the flatbed. It was named Elwoody and came with an awesome customized Ford cab-over tow truck as its means of transportation. While Larry Wood might have had a few flops, a majority of his work is totally on point.
6 Funny Car
This rare Hot Wheels beauty is known as the 1967 Corvette Pro Street. It first debuted in 2002 in the Cool & Custom III 2-Car Set. This modified street legal 1967 Corvette features a supercharger, oversized rear wheels, and a roll cage. The hood also opens to give the collector a peek at the massive power it holds underneath.
The 1967 Corvette Pro Street was only seen 4 times before it was discontinued.
Two of those versions were released in the Cool & Custom III 2-Car Set. The other two were released in the Hot Rod Magazine Pro Mods 2-Car Sets, and 100% Hot Wheels. The first set was featured in metalflake blue while the others were in black, white, magenta, and yellow.
5 Mad Slick
Based on the 1969 Ford Maverick, the Hot Wheels Mighty Maverick was introduced in 1970. During the prototype stage, it was initially named Mad Maverick. A few of these models exist, making them extremely rare and hard to find.
Only five Mad Mavericks have been found.
Of the five known to exist, they are in the colors blue (two), and purple. Of the other two, one is unassembled, and the other wasn’t given a color. The only way to tell the difference is from the name on the bottom of the car. If you have one that says Mad Maverick, you seriously just won the lottery. In 1973, the wing was removed, and the Mighty Maverick was renamed Street Snorter. In 1975, it returned to the Mighty Maverick name, without the wing.
4 Purr Cheetah
The Hot Wheels Python is one of the original 16 Hot Wheels die-cast models Mattel released in the spring of 1968. The very first ones produced were done in Hong Kong. They were given the name Cheetah Python. But GM Executive Bill Thomas already had a Cheetah name attached to his Cobra Killer model.
The Cheetah Python is worth a minimum of $10,000.
Only a few were made before the name was changed. These Hot Wheels Cheetah’s were all in the color red. The public was never supposed to know about the Cheetah, but a few escaped the production facility, becoming legend. The Python is based on a dream car designed by Bill Cushenberry. Dean Jeffries was the designer for Hot Wheels.
3 Missing Sunroof
Designed by Ira Gilford and released only in 1968, the Hot Wheels Custom Volkswagen was based on the popular Volkswagen Beetle. The car was made in Hong Kong but only released in the UK and Germany. It featured a sunroof and an engine in the front (instead of the rear). In the trunk is a blown V-8 engine.
The missing sunroof version is worth around $1,500.
The super rare models can be found in orange, red, green, and copper. Most commonly they are found in blue or aqua. The Hot Wheels Custom Volkswagen featured tinted blue glass, black steering wheel, and four holes in the base and detail suspension. In the no sunroof versions there are no side windows featured, and the interior was different.
2 Larry Wood Beetle
Starting a minimum of around $100, the Hot Wheels Larry Wood World Tour Purple VW Bug Beetle Limited is a beauty. Larry designed the original VW beetle for Hot Wheels back in 1989. This special version resembles the Hong Kong cast. Over decades, there have been dozens upon dozens of VW beetles produced by Hot Wheels. There was even a Footloose version based on the 1984 film.
The Hot Wheels Larry Wood World Tour Purple VW Bug Beetle Limited is not a Hot Wheels car you want to take out of the package. Signed by Larry Wood, it celebrates 35 years of design brilliance. The shaded purple designs combined with the redline wheels makes this Hot Wheels Beetle worth investing in.
1 First Hot Wheel Ever Made
It's no secret within the Hot Wheels community that early redline cars have a mysterious history. The Custom Camaro, however, was the first Hot Wheels car to be released to the public. The white enamel is a prototype and is extremely rare. The reason the Camaro is white to the manufacturer checking for imperfections. Typically, a factory would paint the prototype white or black to check for problems.
Only a few White Enamel Custom Camaro’s were released.
If you happen to come across one, it will likely be in poor condition, but will still be worth a minimum of $2,500. As of yet, no black versions have ever been discovered. If someone was able to get their hands on the actual blister pack, well — let’s just say it so rare it doesn’t even have a value attached to it.