The 2004 Hot Wheels Fleet

"The Hot 100" rolls into Toy ``Showrooms'' This Month
by Rudy Panucci

During the "mini-Toy Fair" this week, Mattel unveiled its Hot 100(TM) line, an unprecedented fleet of 100 new 1:64-scale die-cast cars. The first 20 vehicles roll out this month in time for the holiday season.

The Hot 100(TM) lineup includes six segments souped-up in Hot Wheels(R) style, from new 2004 First Editions(TM) cars to new segments that incorporate the latest automotive trends: Hardnoze(TM), Blings(TM), 'Tooned(TM), Crooze(TM) and Fatbax(TM). The first 20 Hot 100(TM) vehicles are available this month for an approximate retail price of 99 cents each, and new models will be released throughout the coming year.

"Our Hot 100(TM) is an unprecedented release of 100 original, never-before-seen Hot Wheels(R) vehicles in one year, which addresses what kids and collectors have told us they would like to see from Hot Wheels(R)," said Douglas Wadleigh, vice president of Hot Wheels(R). "Our designers have created a lineup of 100 exciting cars that incorporate the authentic details collectors seek out with the fun features that kids demand. From the classic and contemporary to what's hot now in the automotive world, like tuners and hip-hop-inspired cars, we think that every Hot Wheels(R) fan -- young or old -- will find dozens of cars in the Hot 100(TM) that they will want to collect."

Beginning in October at, fans will have the chance to rate vehicles and catch a sneak peek at upcoming models. Following are the six segments within the Hot 100(TM) line:

sum 2004 Real Scale First Editions(TM): The coolest cars with the coolest decos in 1:64-scale. A true die-cast collector favorite and the cornerstone of the Hot Wheels(R) line. Look for the Batmobile(TM) and the '69 Dodge Charger in this category.

sum Hardnoze(TM): These cars are all about the front-end. An emphasis on the front of the car and tapering the form down toward the back makes a tough car tougher! Cars like 2 Cool(TM) and the '49 Merc are part of this segment.

sum Blings(TM): Inspired by the current trend in SUVs with giant wheels, shortened wheel bases and lowered roof lines. Blings(TM) are all about what's cool, like the Hyperliner(TM) and Lotus Esprit.

sum 'Tooned(TM): The essence of the car is exaggerated, much like a characterization. The wheels get bigger, the spoilers get meaner, and the engines grow out of the hoods! Check out the Enzo Ferrari and Toyota Supra.

sum Crooze(TM): The rear half of the car is stretched to exaggerated lengths, melting the sheet metal into the asphalt. The ultimate lead sled exaggeration is featured in cars like Slikt Back(TM) and LeMelt(TM)!

sum Fatbax(TM): All about power, these cars feature big block power up front and miles of tire in the rear to help put power to the pavement. Fatbax are so phat, they fit in the package sideways! Rollin' into stores are the Plymouth(R) Barracuda Funny Car and Duplified(TM), among others.

The Blings, Crooze, and 'Tooned lines appear to be almost like Super-deformed hip-hop caricatures of cars, which is a good move. One of the most memorable things about Hot Wheels back in the "good old days" was the nice mix of realistic and outrageous designs. With this series, Mattel Becomes First Die-Cast Manufacturer to Launch 100 New 1:64-Scale Models in One Year.

Next week, we'll take a closer look at Hot Wheel's upcoming Batmobile releases, part of Mattel's larger licensing deal with DC Comics.