For recreational mechanics and automotive enthusiasts out there, we know you spend every moment of free time you can gather working on the pet projects that are in your garages. Maybe an old beat up Charger you want to fix up and show off at the local diner in town, perhaps an old Mustang that has been passed down in the family. You even spend lots and lots of time reading up on your favorite vehicles, whether it be cars, trucks, or motorcycles.
And for some of you out there, you decided to dedicate your whole lives to the automotive profession and spend your whole work week tooling around on cars in one form or another.
But where did this love of cars come from? When did you first tell yourself that you would pursue a life as a mechanic or motorhead? There could be many responses to this question, but we’d like to venture a guess at one common answer.
Perhaps the love of cars came from nowhere else but the family game room in the house where you grew up; maybe even from the floor in your very own bedrooms, playing with the miniature race car toys on the floor. These days, you can get Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars for a buck or less, and back then they were even cheaper. For many of us, countless hours flew by racing those little machines around, pretending that we were at the wheel.
Well, you’d be very surprised to learn what some of those little cars are worth nowadays. We’ve got quite a few to show you all, dear readers, and your collective jaws will snap open in shock when you hear what some of these go for.
20 1971 OLDSMOBILE 442
An Oldsmobile 442 is a car that any muscle car aficionado would want to have in their collection of real cars. And why not? It's definitely powerful and sleek and we're sure no one would frown upon this car—or they shouldn't at least. Well, as it turns out, the Hot Wheels edition of this model circa 1971 is actually worth quite the pretty penny, and the purple one especially so. Of course, it's got to be in perfect condition (still in the packaging would be ideal) but if it is, you're looking at a value around $1,500 to $2,000!
19 1968 CUSTOM VOLKSWAGEN
This one is quite special. Now, if you look closely at the photograph, you'll notice that there is no sunroof. This itty-bitty detail is what makes this miniature so valuable. If you have one of these with a sunroof, however, all value is lost.
Back in the day, this one was only found in Europe when sold new in stores, but eventually, it became available to one and all thanks to the miracle of online secondhand shopping.
The color doesn't matter in this case, all that matters is the most specific detail: if it doesn't have a sunroof, the little car can be worth about $1,500.
18 1968 CAMARO
This isn't a hard fact that is 100% verified, but many collectors believe that this specific model is one of the first Hot Wheels ever produced. And while that may be fact or fiction—something said on the World Wide Web to promote sales and a false pandemonium for the search of this item— still, it would be cool to get your hands on one of these little guys if you're a collector. It's worth $2,500 dollars if found in good condition and even if it isn't in the original wrapping it can still fetch that remarkably high price...go figure!
17 1978 RED BARON
Feast your eyes on this little bad boy. It has been said that there are only about 10 or fewer of these still in existence. And a simple Red Baron just won't do. For the payout to be big on this one, it has to be complete with a white interior. If the interior isn't white, no dice. Also, the helmet must have no designs or decals on it either, which contributes to the rarity factor. This design was inspired by a German World War 1 pilot, Manfred von Richthofen, who's nickname was "The Red Baron" (sure, those Snoopy cartoons may also helped to increase the fame levels here). The toy car's worth nowadays: a whopping three grand!
16 1995 COLLECTOR NUMBER 271 FUNNY CAR
Here too, is a model that was only produced in a limited quantity, and the quantity produced is believed to be under 15 units. For this model, however, the packaging is needed, as it is the only way to show its value. Only six of the 12 or so cars have been found as of late.
That means that there are about six left out there.
If you bought massive numbers of Hot Wheels during the 90s and have an old box up in the attic, go check and see what's in there. Then read on, because you never know what other models we have for you today might still be in that old box.
15 1970 ED SHAVER CUSTOM AMX
This car here was actually only ever available in the United Kingdom, so chances are, they're still all over there. But, there is still a moderate chance that some of the toy cars, the ones that are left, did actually make it across the old Atlantic, as humans have been known to move around every now and again. And perhaps they brought their childhood car collections with them. Now, some of these cars often come with stickers and cards. And in this case, it's the stickers that make the car quite valuable. Ed Shaver had a drag racing career and was sponsored by none other than Mattel, who make Hot Wheels, and this miniature now goes for around four grand!
14 1970 "MAD MAVERICK"
This one here is pretty interesting, folks. The car's value comes down to its name and that's something you don't really see every day in the world of cars, either the real ones or the tiny toy variety.
When the car was first produced, it was called the "Mad Maverick" but it wasn't long before Mattel pulled the car and changed the name to "Mighty Maverick."
So, naturally, the old versions with the name "Mad Maverick" still etched into the base of this car are actually worth quite a bit, and prices have been known to vary for something like this.
13 1974 BLUE RODGER DODGER
Mattel and Hot Wheels still make a Rodger Dodger car to this day. In fact, my two-and-a-half-year-old nephew Gabe has got one in his collection as we speak. He's probably creating a very long traffic jam with his version of this car and the others as I write this, narrowly bridging the gap between playtime and his bedtime. Regardless, I hope he takes care of these cars, because the original version of this one, that is if it hails from the year 1974, turned out to be worth quite a bit of dough. A whopping $8,000, to be exact. The original cars were shipped from the UK, and this color blue for this model was specifically available there only.
12 1968 "CHEETAH"
Here's another curious case of "what's in a name?" Shakespeare would be proud, and the value of this miniature vehicle depends on the name scribbled in metal along the underside.
This little vehicle was originally released as a 1968 "Python."
It sold as such for a brief time, but the name was soon swapped and it started being called the 1968 "Cheetah." Pretty interesting, since a reptile's name was swapped for that of a ferocious feline, but whatever. These can be found in certain locations like rarities shops or of course, the internet, where it can sometimes go for a whopping $10,000!
11 1969 PINK BEACH BOMB
This is not exactly a race car per se, but it is definitely worth as much as some of the race cars on the list we've compiled here for you, dear readers. And because of its rarity, it is worth more than some of the other miniatures on this list...considerably more. And I don't mean to downplay this one in any way.
You ready? Here we go.
There is only one in existence and it is worth $72,000 dollars. If that reads seventy-two thousand dollars, we're not messing with you here, that's no typo. The reason for such rarity: it never made it past the prototype phase.
10 1953 AVELING BARFORD ROAD ROLLER
And of course, Hot Wheels aren't, nor have they ever been, the only manufacturer of miniature vehicles around. Matchbox has been making cars like these for a lot longer, with the company having its inception in 1953, a whopping 65 years ago, and 15 years before Hot Wheels would launch their first miniature.
The company got their start when toymaker Jack O'Dell designed the model pictured here, with the intention of being able to fit it in an old-school matchbox.
It worked and, well, it was the start of something pretty spectacular. Considering the rich history, this one's value isn't exactly a jaw-dropper, but it's definitely more than what it originally cost...just about 300 bucks.
9 1967 MERCEDES BENZ 230SL
Known as die-cast miniatures, these toys have spread worldwide and, interestingly enough, did not suffer many losses as far as popularity was concerned. In fact, the two companies, Hot Wheels and Matchbox, have enjoyed impressive levels of simultaneous success. Matchbox cars are actually a little more affordable and have always been so, but these classics are definitely a little more expensive than your average Matchbox miniature car. I'll say. This tiny car is worth over $6,000, and one sold for such at auction a little while back.
8 1966 OPEL DIPLOMAT
Back in 1966, this little thing went for just under 50 cents. This color of this particular model, sea green, is the only valid version of this model that is in fact worth quite a few doubloons.
This particular one goes for about $9,000.
The color complements the model perfectly and, like so many collectable miniatures and toys, if it's in the original packaging it was sold inside of, you're looking at maybe a tad more in value. Worth scrounging up coins and saving the old allowance to buy, eh? Can you imagine this bad boy in your very own collection?
7 1961 MAGIRUS DEUTZ CRANE
And continuing on with the Matchbox series of classic models, we've got this proud little trucker for you all. This one actually comes with a tale, a true story, that happened amidst some pretty serious die-cast collectors. It was in the 1980s that Charlie Mack came across one of these trucks pictured here, at a garage sale of all places! He purchased it for 10 dollars and then subsequently sold it for 10 grand! Then, a Matchbox collector of some renown, Jim Gallegos, a collector who is the proud owner of almost $1.5 million worth of Matchbox cars, bought one of these puppies for $13,000. Man, talk about equity investments.
6 1965 BP DODGE WRECKER
Here's a truck that isn't as famous as the last one from the Matchbox family, but it sure comes close. It's been coined "The Holy Grail" of die-cast miniature collectible cars in the market, and at an auction, it was subject to quite the bidding war. The final price was somewhere in the neighborhood of a whopping nine thousand dollars!
This just goes to show you, some of the trucks are just as valuable as the race cars, and for good reason. It seems that the trucks seem to have the most incredible stories attached to them, which only adds to their value on the market.
5 HOT WHEELS 40TH ANNIVERSARY
Now, seriously, get ready for this one. And remember, it's a collector's anniversary edition, so don't expect anything like the prices and values we've been throwing at you thus far. This edition was actually produced to celebrate Mattel's 40-year milestone anniversary of producing these miniatures and well, they went with a "go big or go home" mentality with this one. As you can see, it's covered in 23-carat diamonds atop a golden frame.
This miniature car is actually worth around $140,000!
So this is where you'll have to make a choice: that house you and the Missus have been saving up for, or this itty-bitty car? It may sound silly, but it's a serious dilemma for some people.
4 1971 BYE FOCAL
This particular little model was based upon a very popular car among muscle car aficionados, the Dodge Challenger. It isn't rare for Hot Wheels to base certain designs on actual existing vehicles and they often change them up a tad, which is what they did here.
What makes this one very rare, of course, is the transparent hood, and specifically the fact that it had two motors underneath.
Most of these didn't stand the test of time, as they had a tendency to fall apart. But if you're fortunate to happen upon one that is still intact, it's valued at around seven grand.
3 THE DEMON or THE PROWLER?
A case of mistaken identity? Hardly. What we have here is another example of how a change of name can make the original all the more popular and, of course, much more valuable in the eyes of die-cast collectors the world over. Such was the case here.
The Prowler was originally released as The Demon, therefore, if there are any lurking "Demons" in the far and dark corners of your respective attics, they may cause your heart to race that much faster. And no, not because they're actually frightening specters from the beyond, but because these little things can go for quite a pretty penny. Depending on quality, and especially compared to what it was originally purchased for, who would frown at anywhere from 100 to 150 bucks?
2 GOLD GMC MOTOR HOME
Ah...hitting the open road in a motor home. What can beat it? Being able to sleep and eat on the very road you're driving on, perhaps nothing would be more amazing to a vehicular enthusiast. But can a miniature motor home be all that appealing to own?
After all, it isn't a race car or a cool truck.
In fact, as it turns out, this one is a rather hot item, but Hot Wheels didn't think so when they designed and produced it. They only made 30. Nowadays, however, collectors seek this one out as a top item, and it's valued at just under two grand.
1 EVIL WEEVIL
A modified Volkswagen Beetle: who would have thought such a simple concept would have garnered so much attention from die-cast collectors everywhere?
But it did, in fact, cause quite the stir.
This model comes complete with two motors—one in the front and one hanging off the back. It is, and was, available in various colors, but again, the color purple wins out here, being the most sought-after color for this model.As a matter of fact, the purple color was enough to bump the value of the dual-engined Beetle toy, as a purple Weevil actually sold for nearly $3,000!