Matchbox and Hot Wheels gave children an early itch to being a car enthusiast. Hot Wheels hit the toy shelves in 1968, to compete with the already thriving Matchbox cars that were introduced to the world in 1953. Most would assume that the most valuable of both companies would be from the first years that they were made, which some are, but the most valuable Hot Wheels cars are from 1972. Due to the oil crisis Hot Wheels had a hard time finding cars to recreate and only 6 new models were released that year. Since less were made, according to Antiques and Collecting Magazine, they’re more valuable.
Of course, condition has a lot to do with value, the traditional blister packaging is usually required to be intact and with no cosmetic blemishes, but in some cases the cars are so rare that even in terrible condition they are worth a small fortune. Pink is said to be the most valuable color when it comes to Hot Wheels according to Freep as it was less popular with the boys Hot Wheels and Matchbox still to this day are wildly popular among young children and collectors, giving them the ability to own their dream car; 1/64 the size and usually for a few bucks or less.
19 1969 VW Beach Bomb
The most expensive and valuable car to make the list is the 1969 Beach Bomber in pink. There is only one known Pink Beach Bomber with a rear loading surfboard, as it was a prototype and changes were made to the one that was released, mainly the surfboard now being on the side.
There is a rumour another one exists, but it has yet to be verified.
According to Complete Set, the owner Bruce Pascal payed a whopping $72,000 for the Pink Beach Bomber, which is a steal according to Freep could be worth up to 150k. Only 200 of the Beach Bombs with the surfboard on the side were produced, making them all rare and can be worth up to 100k.
18 Hot Wheels 40th Anniversary
While the Pink Beach Bomber may be the most valuable toy car to make the list, but it’s not the most expensive. In celebration of Hot Wheels 40th birthday and producing over four billion cars, a $140,000 Hot Wheels was designed by Jason of Beverly Hills, who designs high end jewelry for celebrities. According to Gizmodo the Hot Wheels was made out of 18-carat white gold and completely dressed in over 2,700 diamonds totalling in 23-carats. It was built with the intention to be actioned off, and all the proceed to be donated to charity.
17 1968 White Enamel Camaro
It would be a safe assumption that the first Hot Wheels made are some of the most valuable, and that’s true as the Camaro was one of the original cars that Hot Wheels produced back in 1968.
What makes the white enamel version so valuable is because it was a prototype.
According to The Gamer, white enamel is so rare as it was used as a prototype to spot imperfections. If you have one that isn’t in mint condition, you can still expect it to be worth at least $2,500.
16 1971 Bye Focal
The Bye Focal was based on the design of the 1970 Dodge Challenger. The Bye Focal was packed with two engines and a working translucent hood. Very few Bye-Focal's are still intact due to an issue with the metal when it was manufactured and some have literally crumbled into pieces. According to Online Redline Guides a yellow “Bye Focal” in its original blister pack was sold for $7,000 on eBay in 2003.
15 Rodger The Dodger
Like a lot of the cars on the list, the colour is what makes the Rodger the Dodger the most valuable. According to The Complete Set, only seven Blue Rodger Dodgers were made. A man by the name of Bob Parker was the one in possession of all seven, as they were only released in the UK.
He sold them all to collectors, not knowing he had all of them ever produced and didn’t even keep one for himself.
If you happened to come across the original seven, they are estimated to have a value for up to $8,000.
14 1971 Olds 442 In Purple
The 1971 Olds was a wildly popular model for Hot Wheels, mostly being produced in the colour magenta as seen above. In order to keep things exciting Hot Wheels decided to make a very limited run of special edition colours, as they do now with a lot of their vehicles. All 1971 442 are considered valuable but if you happen to find one in salmon, hot pink and purple they are considered the most valuable and rare, and according to Complex a purple one could go for as much as $5,000.
13 Purr Cheetah
Another one of the original Hot Wheels produced in 1968 is the Cheetah Python.
The Cheetah Python was based on a custom hot rod designed for Car Craft magazine in 1963.
What makes the Cheetah Python so rare and valuable was that they were never supposed to be released to the public, due to a mix up with the name. According to The Gamer only a few managed to walk out, and now are estimated to be valued up to $10,000.
12 1970 Ed Shaver Custom AMX
Who is Ed Shaver? Ed Shaver was a driver on Hot Wheels very first sponsored drag-racing team. According to History, the Hot Wheels replica of Ed Shavers AMX that he raced was only available at race events or by completing a cereal mail-in offer, and even came with a set of decals like the one on his AMX. It is said that only a few of these exist and even if it’s not in blister packaging you could expect to get up to $4,000 for one of these gems.
11 The Demon & The Prowler
The Hot Wheels car known as The Prowler actually first made its debut in 1970 as “The Demon” but after parents complained about the name, it was changed. Currently the Demon isn’t any more valuable that the Prowler, but who says that won’t change. As people become more aware of the backstory, the price may indeed increase. According to The Gamer all Demon and Prowler models are valuable and could go for as much as a few hundred dollar, but the rarest is said to be magenta with a white interior.
10 Gold GMC Motorhome
Hot Wheels asked GMC for permission to use their design for their toy cars. GMC agreed but asked in lieu of the design to have some of the finished products be gold plated, as a gift for their employees.
According to Hot Wheels Wikia only 30 were made and can be worth up to $1,500.
There is currently one for sale on a collector’s website for $995. This may increase as time goes on and finding one in great condition becomes harder.
9 1968 VW Bug
A lot of the times these little cars are deemed valuable due to a rare colour or option variation. That was the case in the the 1968 Volkswagen Bug that is missing the sunroof and has different interior than the American version. According to Complete Set the rare Volkswagen without the sunroof was only sold in Europe, as it had a right-hand drive interior and doesn’t have windows. The orange, red, green and copper are the rarest of the produced and can be worth up $1,500.
8 Evil Weevil
The Evil Weevil was a VW Beetle that had not one, but two massive engines: one in the trunk and one in the hood, wouldn’t that be fun! This is the epitome of a toy car. The Evil Weevil came in an assortment of different colours, but the purple is the most valuable to collectors. According to Freep, a purple Evil Weevil was recently sold for a whopping $2,913. It definitely pays to keep older toys in great condition, as their value only climbs.
7 1970 Red Baron
Another prototype to make the list is the 1970 Red Baron. A really cool design that was based on the Red Baron WWI plane, that had a helmet instead of a hood, wouldn’t that be cool?
According to Complex, since it was never released to the public there is rumoured to only be about 10 known to exist.
Most have been worn a little, but one in good condition is even more rare. The design may look cool, but the helmet design probably wouldn't have been the best idea to market to kids.
The original “Ghost Busters” wowed the world in 1984 with sequels to follow, with the awesome Ecto-1 as the featured vehicle. Weirdly enough, a Hot Wheels version of the Ecto-1 wasn’t produced until 2010 according to The Gamer. Many different versions and scales have since been released. The most valuable version of the Ecto-1 is actually the 1:43 scale version of the Ecto-1 from Ghostbuster II, and is said to be worth up to $1,000, which makes you wonder why did it take so long for them to produce?
Like the Ecto-1 the DeLorean from “Back to the Future” didn’t hit the Hot Wheels production line until decades after the movie aired in the theaters. The Hot Wheels version of the DeLorean was released in 2011, with six different models with an array of different options. According to Hot Wheels Wikia there was a limited run of 4,000 DeLorean’s that were made with their doors open. Most would probably need a time machine to go back and purchase some of the cars that made these limited runs.
4 Magirus-Deutz Truck
The Magirus-Deutz Truck was a matchbox version of a crane that was made in the early 60s. This truck is very rare, and according to The Drive there was only a few have been found in the colour combination of tan with the crimson jib and metal double arm hook. If you happen to have one you, they can be worth almost 12k. The one pictured above is a flat silver colour, worth much less, but still perhaps a nice find for a hobby collector.
3 1966 Opel Diplomat
The Opel Diplomat as made in array of different colours, many being much more attractive than the sea foam green one. Since there weren’t many made as the colour was just plain ugly, and now making it very valuable. According to Historical Vehicle, back when the Opel Diplomat first came out it cost just 48 cents, now you can expect it to be worth up to $9,000. It really is incredible how something as simple as a limited production run of a certain colour could dramatically increase the price.
2 Ferrari 308
Back in the 80s Magnum PI was a hit show starring Tom Sellek who drove a Ferrari, hence every kid at that time wanted a Ferrari just like his. Considering most kids couldn’t afford a Ferrari, or legally drive for that matter they usually settled for the matchbox version. If you happen to have a red one with a white interior, it could be worth up to $1,000. The attachment to television history obviously makes this more valuable to fans of the show.
1 1965 BP Dodge Wrecker
The 1965 BP Dodge Wrecker was another error that made this matchbox so valuable, as we have seen on this list a few times. Historical vehicle named this the “Holy Grail” of rare matchbox cars. The reverse colour scheme very rare and hard to find, and according to Matchbox Wikia it was a factory error. Almost 5 years ago, one went for $8,500 on eBay. The big lesson to learn here is to keep cars in good condition, and always research what you have in your collection.
Sources. freep.com, completeset.com, gizmodo.com, the gamer.com, complex.com, thrillist.com, matchbox.wikia.com, hotwheels.wikia.com