Hot Wheels are consistently at the top of collectors’ lists, and are a welcome find at estate sales in Gig Harbor, Tacoma, and Olympia. A “Redline” Hot Wheels car is one manufactured within the first 10 years of their production, meaning they were made between 1968 -1977. During this time, the wheels on each car included a red stripe, hence the term “Redline.”
In their first year, they made 16 castings which are now known as “The Original Sweet 16.” Check out this article that shows you each 16.
In their first year of production, there was such a demand for these toys that a Mattel had to open a second production plant in Hong Kong to keep up with demand. By 1972, all production was moved to Hong Kong.
Like with all vintage items, you need to know what you’re looking for to ensure you have an authentic piece. Here is a quick rundown of the nuances you should understand before you head out to your next estate sale.
Know what the Date Means
The date stamped on the undercarriage of the car is the copyright date, not the date it was made. We like to reference this comprehensive guide to that details, by year, every Hot Wheel released.
Additionally, a reproduction will have the phrase “vintage” printed on the undercarriage. It will also say “Made in China.” These are both indications that you don’t have a true Redline on your hands.
Not all Redlines are Created Equal
This makes it tricky. Here’s the backstory, in 1993, the red stripe returned for a special “vintage” reproduction of some of the originals. So, how can you know? True Redlines were only manufactured in the US and Hong Kong, so if it has any other place of manufacture – it’s not a real redline. Also check out the guide we mentioned above to really take a good look at the cars made before 1977.
Really Look at the Tires
The Redline tires themselves will reveal two key details that will help you determine whether you have an authentic Redline. First, original Redlines will feature a red line that’s not necessarily perfect. The line was also place in a small indentation on the wheel.
Redline wheels are secured to the axle with a small white piece that is noticeable if you really look at how the wheel is attached. Reproductions will feature an all-black tire – you won’t see any white.
Hot Wheels Redlines are a popular collectible, and it’s especially important for you to look closely at the car to make sure you have the real deal – especially if you’re going to pay a large sum of money for it.
Are you ready to see if you can find some of these unique vintage toys? Check out our upcoming estate sales now.