Hot Wheels Celebrates 50 Years of Legends Big and Small

Click Here to Begin Slideshow Can it truly be possible that Mattel’s Hot Wheels are now 50 years old? The little cars that captivate children of all ages are celebrating half a century of existence, which gave Mattel the opportunity to throw a party the morning of April 28 to begin its Hot Wheels Legends 50th Anniversary Tour. Including the Hot Wheels Design Center in Los Angeles, which served as its starting point, the Hot Wheels Legends 50th Anniversary Tour will visit a total of 16 cities around the USA. The Legends Tour will make 14 stops at Walmart stores across the country that have deeply rooted ties to car culture. They’ll be in Kansas City, New Jersey (site not named), Bentonville, Nashville, Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Seattle, Detroit, Dallas, Miami, Phoenix, Washington D.C. and Pico Rivera. Then the tour will head to Las Vegas for the SEMA Show October 30-November 2. For this grand opening celebration just a few miles from Los Angeles International Airport, many historic life-size Hot Wheels cars were on display, kids could play games and race with all the toys they wanted, there were give-aways of 50th anniversary Hot Wheels toys for those lined up, there were great food trucks and, of course, people brought their own specialty cars out for the occasion. Chris Down, general manager and senior vice president for Hot Wheels, opened the gala with legendary car/motorcycle collector Jay Leno, gifting the former Tonight Show host who stars in Jay Leno’s Garage with several historic items. The duo then walked through the vast parking lot to examine some of the cars that owners had brought to display. Among the interesting cars on display were retired racer Tommy Kendall’s chicken car, actor Robert Downey Jr’s Ford Mustang, a homebuilt oddity that featured only parts from pre-WWII vehicles, a Mazda AZ1 microcar with gullwing doors, imported by a female mechanical engineer who spent a year working in Japan, an off-road MGBGT, a 1963 Cadillac Eldorado convertible with a current V-spec engine installed and Porsche racer Patrick Long’s 1958 356A that looks like the paint’s about to peel off but that goes like stink! With vehicles from mild to wild, beautiful springtime weather and an appreciative crowd to start its nearly six-month voyage around the country, Chris Down and his Mattel Hot Wheels staff chose a great venue to begin this celebration of both small and life-size vehicles. And they definitely attracted a diverse and happy group of people to enjoy this celebration of all things Hot Wheels. For more information about the 50th anniversary tour, please visit: hotwheels.com/Legends.

Hot Wheels Celebrates 50 Years of Legends Big and Small

Click Here to Begin Slideshow

Can it truly be possible that Mattel’s Hot Wheels are now 50 years old? The little cars that captivate children of all ages are celebrating half a century of existence, which gave Mattel the opportunity to throw a party the morning of April 28 to begin its Hot Wheels Legends 50th Anniversary Tour.

Including the Hot Wheels Design Center in Los Angeles, which served as its starting point, the Hot Wheels Legends 50th Anniversary Tour will visit a total of 16 cities around the USA. The Legends Tour will make 14 stops at Walmart stores across the country that have deeply rooted ties to car culture. They’ll be in Kansas City, New Jersey (site not named), Bentonville, Nashville, Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Seattle, Detroit, Dallas, Miami, Phoenix, Washington D.C. and Pico Rivera. Then the tour will head to Las Vegas for the SEMA Show October 30-November 2.

For this grand opening celebration just a few miles from Los Angeles International Airport, many historic life-size Hot Wheels cars were on display, kids could play games and race with all the toys they wanted, there were give-aways of 50th anniversary Hot Wheels toys for those lined up, there were great food trucks and, of course, people brought their own specialty cars out for the occasion.

Chris Down, general manager and senior vice president for Hot Wheels, opened the gala with legendary car/motorcycle collector Jay Leno, gifting the former Tonight Show host who stars in Jay Leno’s Garage with several historic items. The duo then walked through the vast parking lot to examine some of the cars that owners had brought to display.

Among the interesting cars on display were retired racer Tommy Kendall’s chicken car, actor Robert Downey Jr’s Ford Mustang, a homebuilt oddity that featured only parts from pre-WWII vehicles, a Mazda AZ1 microcar with gullwing doors, imported by a female mechanical engineer who spent a year working in Japan, an off-road MGBGT, a 1963 Cadillac Eldorado convertible with a current V-spec engine installed and Porsche racer Patrick Long’s 1958 356A that looks like the paint’s about to peel off but that goes like stink!

With vehicles from mild to wild, beautiful springtime weather and an appreciative crowd to start its nearly six-month voyage around the country, Chris Down and his Mattel Hot Wheels staff chose a great venue to begin this celebration of both small and life-size vehicles. And they definitely attracted a diverse and happy group of people to enjoy this celebration of all things Hot Wheels. For more information about the 50th anniversary tour, please visit: hotwheels.com/Legends.

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About Anne Proffit 652 Articles
Anne Proffit traces her love of racing - in particular drag racing - to her childhood days in Philadelphia, where Atco Dragway, Englishtown and Maple Grove Raceway were destinations just made for her. As a diversion, she was the first editor of IMSA’s Arrow newsletter, and now writes about and photographs sports cars, Indy cars, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, Formula Drift, Red Bull Global Rallycross - in addition to her first love of NHRA drag racing. A specialty is a particular admiration for the people that build and tune drag racing engines.

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