Since their creation in 1968 by Elliot Handler, Hot Wheels have entertained children and grown-ups all over the world. The simple idea of toys cars proved to be a popular one, and with their innovative and detailed designs, funky name, and weird colors, it’s no surprise that Hot Wheels continues to be popular today under the ownership of Mattel.
It should also come as no surprise that Hot Wheels are insanely collectible, to the point that some of these cars can go for almost as much as a real used car. Though, unlike used cars, you wouldn’t dare take them out on the road. Because they’re toys. But you also wouldn’t dare play with them or give them to children to shove up their nose or whatever it is kids do with toys these days.
Some of these toys, especially the rare ones, are meant to be displayed with pride. Or, if you’re a seller, you’re meant to display some of these outrageous price tags. The sheer amount of rare Hot Wheels cars over the years is stunning. The reasons for this are many: either they weren’t popular, they were display or promotional models, or they were only given to employees, you name it. Whatever reason, here are some of the rarest Hot Wheels, and their price. These aren't all the Hot Wheels that are worth a lot of money, obviously, but they could definitely fetch anyone who still happens to have them a pretty penny.
25 Toy Fair Chevy Stocker, 1995, $149
The American International Toy Fair, also known as the New York Toy Fair, is a yearly event meant to showcase all the hottest new toys of that year to vendors and industry professionals. In 1995, Hot Wheels gave out a sample of one of their new cars, a Chevy Stocker. It was a new model of the car that they’d been making for several years.
This model was only ever made for that Toy Fair and came in a unique "yellow with red flames" paint job. It also has a “Toy Fair” sticker on the front. These unique cars sell for as much as $149 online.
24 Toys R Us Geoffrey Bronco $194
It isn’t unusual for toy companies to give Toys R Us unique merchandise to sell. Well, it’d be unusual now since Toys R Us has shut down, but back in the 1980s when Mattel gave them the Geoffrey White Bronco, it was cool. It was an unfortunate choice of car in hindsight, considering the White Bronco was made infamous by OJ Simpson in 1993.
Anyway, the Toys R Us version of the Bronco has the company’s mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe’s disembodied head painted on the side with his name. The car fetches up to $194 on the internet.
23 Corvette Stingray With Bloomington Gold 25th Anniversary $225
The Bloomington Gold Corvette Show is a car show held every year in Bloomington, Indiana. As you probably guessed, it’s a show dedicated to the Chevrolet Corvette and those who love it. Hot Wheels didn’t do much to mark the event, but fans have.
Code 3 refers to Hot Wheels that have been altered by collectors, and not at all affiliated with Hot Wheels or Mattel. Such is the case with the 25th Anniversary Edition of this Hot Wheels Corvette. It’s been painted white and has the name of the convention and the 25th Anniversary painted on the hood.
22 Indy 500 Mall Tour Promo, 1988, $234
In 1988, ahead of the Indianapolis 500 event, Hot Wheels went on a promotion tour to malls across Indianapolis giving out these cars as part of the promo. They were specially made just for this promotion, and only 1,000 of them were made.
They’re Formula One cars painted white, with “Indy 500” painted on one side, and “Hot Wheels 20th Anniversary” on the other. Given how rare these are, how few of them were made, and the significance of it being a 20th Anniversary car, you’d think these would go for more than $234, but you’d be wrong.
21 Blue Turbo Mustang $275
On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be anything too special about this Blue Turbo Mustang, released in 1984. But once you look deeper, you see its value. It’s part of Hot Wheel’s “The Hot Ones” line, started in 1981 and running until 1985.
The Turbo Mustang line of cars didn’t last long either, only from 1980 to 1985.
This is also the only Blue Mustang Hot Wheels released during this time, the others were all either black, white, red, or yellow. When you take all that into consideration, you could maybe see why some collectors are willing to shell out $275 for this one.
20 Leo India Mattel Double Decker Bus $275
In India, Mattel was forced by foreign trade laws to enter a partnership with an Indian company to import their toys. They aligned themselves with Blow Past Inc. and created Leo Toys, also known as Leo Mattel. This spin-off company released several exclusive toys to the Indian market, including Hot Wheels.
One such Hot Wheel car wasn’t a car at all, but a double-decker bus. The bus was released under the Trail Busters line, and this particular bus comes in green, with the words “Heart Beat of India” on the side. Because of its limited release and unique paint scheme, it’s worth a decent amount – about $275 – to some collectors.
19 Cannonade “Masters Of The Universe,” $299
There are a few things that make this particular Hot Wheels car valuable. The first is that it’s only a prototype of a car that later went into production, meaning this isn’t a finished toy that would have went on sale. The second is the paint job, in all its lavender glory.
But you’ll also notice it’s blazoned with Masters of the Universe stickers, possibly as part of a proposed tie-in with the He-Man cartoon show that ran in the 1980s. What does an ugly pink/purple car have to do with He-Man? Well, nothing, aside from his marvelous pink and purple outfit Prince Adam wore. Does that make this car worth $299? To somebody it does, and that’s all it takes.
18 Goodyear Blimp Prototype, $299
The Goodyear Blimp is a staple at American college football games, but it's also become a mascot for the tire company itself. With such an iconic design, it was inevitable that a toy company would approach them about making a toy about the blimp, and that’s exactly what Mattel did.
This is actually another prototype, which explains its hefty $299 price tag. Not that you can really tell, since this prototype looks pretty much identical to the final blimp released. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess.
17 Star Wars ARC-170 Starfighter, $346
The only fictional vehicle on this list and the most recent, the Star Wars ARC-170 Starfighter is a really weird product for the Hot Wheels range. This could be any vehicle toy, so why does it have the Hot Wheels branding on it?
It’s pretty recent, produced only in 2016 well after Disney purchased Star Wars.
Hot Wheels still makes other Star Wars related vehicles, but for whatever reason, production of the ARC-170 ceased relatively early. As a result, prices of these things on eBay have skyrocketed, if you can even find any on there. One sold for $346, which might indicate a bidding war between Hot Wheels and Star Wars collectors.
16 Gold Custom Camaro Redline, 1968, $375
Hot Wheels began in 1968, so the fact that cars from their first lineup are expensive and hard to find is not at all surprising. Such is the case for this Custom Camaro released in the Redline range from that year. Painted gold, with clear windows, and a white interior, this car fetches as much as $375 on eBay.
In fact, with this specific car, the seller provided a picture of the bottom where you can see this one was actually made in 1967 before any Hot Wheels were released. It also has the Patent Pending mark, which might make this one of the oldest, if not the oldest, Hot Wheels cars out there.
15 Jeep CJ-7 Green Prototype, $399
Hot Wheels first released the CJ-7 Jeep in 1982 and continued releasing new versions up until 1988. Since then, they’ve released a few special models in 2005, 2015, and 2017. But the most special of them all is this prototype version of the first CJ-7 from the company.
The final jeep released in ’82 is pretty similar to this one, except for one thing. The jeep was never released in this bright green color (there was a darker Olive green on released in ’88). Does that make this car worth $399? To a collector, yes it does.
14 Hot Wheels Prototype Texaco Tank Truck, $399
You know the drill by now. This Hot Wheels car is a prototype for what would become a final toy, but slightly different, and that makes it super rare and valuable.
This time around, it’s a Texaco Tanker truck.
The final truck, first released in 1992, first had logos for Unocal (otherwise known as 76) and gulf and didn’t get the Texaco logo until years later. The final trucks also came in red, orange, and a light blue in 1995. This prototype version is a darker shade of blue, and has the Texaco logo on the side, making it worth $399.
13 "Happy Birthday" Dodge Viper RT/10, $399
This black Dodge Viper RT/10 isn’t super special on its own. Hot Wheels began producing this model in 1993 and still make several different versions of it to this day. However, as you probably noticed, this one is special.
Painted on the hood of the Viper are the words “Happy Birthday” with some confetti. The rims are also painted gold. These were exclusive cars given to Mattel employees in Malaysia on their birthday, only in the year 1999. Nobody knows exactly how many of them there are, but if you’re lucky enough to find one, it could cost as much as $399.
12 Prototype Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, $399
You can’t talk about Hot Wheels without mentioning the Wienermobile. Well, you can, easily, but you shouldn’t. So we have ourselves here a prototype version of the iconic rolling hot dog truck that looks nothing like a hot dog.
Like every other prototype on this list, this version is pretty much identical to the final product, save for one small change. The windows are gray on the prototype instead of black, like on the final version. That one difference is what makes this car worth $399 to collectors.
11 Leo India Mattel Aqua GMC Motorhome, $399
This Motorhome Hot Wheels, based on the GMC Sequoia, was first released by Hot Wheels in 1977 and had several different version released up until 2014. In fact, it’s kinda weird how many different versions of a motorhome they released, include licensed tie-ins with Marvel superheroes.
Regardless, it’s this rare version from our friends at Leo India that brought us this version. Painted aqua, with a red cross on the side and a black stripe running its length, this motorhome version can fetch as much as $399 on the market for its unique color scheme.
10 Corvette Stingray Gray With Orange Stripe, $475
First released in 1976, the Corvette Stingray was a stellar toy. At first, it came in red and white, and later got yellow, orange, and black models. But this Stingray, released for a limited time in 1978, was gray and had an orange going around the hood and roof, with a black accent.
For whatever reason, this specific color scheme didn’t last long.
It’s not even listed on the Hot Wheels Wiki. Because of its rarity, this fetched $475 from collector site Brian & Anna Collectables. Quite a price tag for an orange stripe.
9 Employee Christmas Party VW Drag Bus Masquerade, $609
Wow. There’s colorful and then there’s this. This being a VW Drag Bus that was custom painted by Mattel exclusively as a Christmas gift for their Hot Wheels employees, in 2017. Not quite seeing why it was given a New Orleans Madi Gras theme, but it certainly is unique.
The whole package is as garish as you’d expect. Covered in feathers you’d expect to see on a Mardis Gras, an actual mask painted on top with “Mattel Masquerade 2017” painted below it with an actual jewel planted in the 0. And, of course, gold trimmed rims. It’s no surprise this thing went for $609 on eBay.
8 Treasure Hunt ‘67 Camaro, 1995, $730
Much less visually stunning to many is this 1965 Camaro. It’s a plain white car with an orange stripe down the middle to make it go faster, and an entirely orange interior. It’s a better car than the VW Drag Bus, no question, but perhaps not a better toy.
Still, this baby fetched $730 on eBay not long ago. It’s part of Hot Wheels’ Treasure Hunter series. This series features unique cars that are released in only about 10,000 each, with only 12 to 15 cars released in each series a year. In 1995, this ’67 Camaro was part of the series, making it pretty rare, but not ridiculously so.
7 Toy Fair Porsche 934 RSR Turbo Gold, 2016, $800
Another car from the New York Toy Fair, this Porsche 934 RSR Turbo was handed out in an otherwise unused gold color. You don’t need me to tell you why gold (even just the color) makes something desirable, right?
The car has “16 Toy Fair” written on the side and hood, with “Hot Wheels” on the side stripe on the door. It too is fairly garish, though in a less over-the-top way than the VW Masquerade Bus. If you want one for yourself, good luck finding one and have fun shelling out $800 for one of these on eBay.
6 Gold GMC Motorhome, $995
How do you sell a motorhome without painting it aqua and shipping it to India? Well, one way is to paint it gold. This gold GMC Motorhome was actually used by Hot Wheels salesman to pitch to the toy to stores and customers. The final car wasn’t in gold, obviously, but why not put your best foot forward?
Released in 1978, you can expect to pay a whopping $995 40 years later.
You think the salespeople who carried these around had any idea they were hauling what would be worth almost a grand in their pocket someday? Probably not.
5 Redline Mercedes Benz 280SL, 1973, $1,100
This is a very pink car. So pink in fact that there’s not really anything else to say about it. The car itself isn’t all that compelling, however what is of note is that the Hot Wheels Wiki states the Mercedes Benz 280SL was only released in 1969, while this car was from 1973. Perhaps that’s what makes this car so valuable.
It’s funny to think the less interesting cars like this tend to be the really valuable ones, whereas something like the Weinermobile or the Toys R Us car aren’t so much. Collectors are very particular, to say the least.
4 MVOA VW Gold Drag Bus, $1,999
For some reason, Mattel likes giving their employees vans and buses. Not cool sports cars or anything like that, no, buses and vans. Take the MVOA VW Gold Drag Bus, given to employees of Mattel Overseas Vendors Operations in 1998 to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the company. Only 100 of these were made, and only given to employees.
It’s a standard VW Drag Bus from the time, with gold plating. And by gold plating, it’s obviously been painted gold, no real gold here folks. On the side is painted VOAnniversary, and came in a display case marking the year and make of the toy. Can you believe someone paid $1,999 for this?
3 Cadbury Range Rover Set, $3,000
Cadbury, the British candy company, had its own Hot Wheels cars in 1991. They were two Range Rovers, one painted purple with the Cadbury logo on the side, and the other yellow with “Cadbury Flake” painted on the hood. They were only released as promotional items, in limited numbers, and are now extremely rare as a result.
Even loose, the pair are selling for $3,000 on some collectors sites. You could get a used car for that price!
A really crappy one that’ll fall apart after only a few days, but a real car nonetheless. Still, it wouldn’t have Cadbury painted on the side, and that’s the real downfall.
2 Funny Car, $3,500
The rarest non-custom item on this list has to be the “Funny Car.” Released in the 1990s, only 12 of this model (known only as Number 271) exist. Only seven verified 271s are known to currently exist in collector’s circles, so finding one is pretty much impossible.
However, one sold on eBay not too long ago for the jaw-dropping price of $3,500. For this to be of any value, you need to have the blue card it came with, otherwise the car looks similar to another model released by Hot Wheels, or of course it could be a fake.
1 RLC '55 Chevy Bel Air Gasser “Candy Striper,” $5,500
While not the rarest on this list, this model is the most expensive. The 1955 Chevy Bel Air Gasser was first released in 2013 and is still being made today. However one, in particular, is worth several pretty pennies to collectors.
Known as the “Candy Striper” for the phrase painted on the side, this toy will fetch around $5,500 on eBay. With it, you get a lovely pinky/purpley paint job, back tires that are far bigger than the front tires, and the promise of “the fastest metal cars in the world!” on the packaging. Good to know where your money is going, at least.