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Redline Blisterpack Gallery

A virtual museum of Hot Wheels packages from 1968 to 1977.

First Blisterpack Style - 1968

This is the classic "California Custom" package style with the Hot Wheels name in a flame logo, introduced in 1968 and used (with variations) through 1972. This brown VW is on an early 1968 card with the first version of the Mattel logo and 16 models (the "original 16") listed on back.

New Mattel Logo - 1970

One of the first changes made to the basic package came in 1970 when Mattel simplified their logo. Instead of the text in the circle saying "Mattel Inc. Toymakers" it now simply said, "Mattel." Here's a brown Beach Bomb on a 1970 card with the simplified logo.

1972 "Driving Gear" Package

In 1970 Mattel changed from metal to plastic buttons because of safety issues; in 1971 many packages had the buttons cut out by stores because of lawsuits. So the buttons went bye-bye in 1972, and instead Mattel offered "Driving Gear" equipment with every Hot Wheel -- really just a small rectangle of foam that stuck to the bottom of the car and allowed it to be used with their Driving Gear accessory.

Mattel Introduces Series - 1969

Mattel was quick to capitalize on the success of the Hot Wheels brand, and in 1969 introduced the first "series", the Grand Prix series. This is one of my favorites -- a purple Brabham-Repco in Grand Prix package. You can tell by the "new" Mattel logo that this package is from 1970.

Heavyweights Series 1970

Mattel added the "Heavyweights" series in 1970, futuristic styled trucks with unique cards. There were 3 different cards, each with unique artwork. The card shown with a picture of a Tow Truck was used for the "short chassis" cars -- Tow Trucks and Ambulances. In 1971 several other trucks were added to the lineup.

Another Heavyweight Card

Here's another version of the Heavyweights card. This was used for "long chassis" Heavyweights -- the Cement Truck and Dump Truck in 1970. Several more "long chassis" Heavyweights were added in 1971.

Another Heavyweight Card

This is the 1971 version of the "long chassis" card, with a Fuel Tanker. It's identical to the 1970 card from the front (except for the plastic button) -- the major difference is on the back of the card, see below.

1971 Heavyweight Card - Back

Here's the back of the 1971 card, showing the current heavyweights and their "tricks" like the moving arm of the Snorkel.

Heavyweights Series 1970

Another Heavyweights card from 1970. This is the "trailer and chassis" card shown with a picture of a Fire Engine was used for the Heavyweights semis with detachable trailers. In 1970 only the Fire Engine and Moving Van came on this card; in 1971 Mattel added 2 more semis (Racing Rig and Team Trailer).

The Spoilers Series - 1970

A fan favorite! The Spoilers series -- souped-up versions of many of Mattel's 1968 castings -- was introduced in 1970. This is a Sugar Caddy on 1971 card (note the plastic button).

Snake and Mongoose - 1970

Yet another new series for 1970, but only with 2 cars! Hot Wheels sponsored two drag racers, Tom "Mongoose" McEwen, and Don "the Snake" Prudhomme, so of course little diecast versions of their drag racers were sure to follow. The Snake and Mongoose came on a unique BP.

Snake and Mongoose - 1971

The Snake and Mongoose series continued in 1971, with a new card (note the different background color). Oh, and new colors for the cars, too! Here's a blue Mongoose.

Foreign Packages

Hot Wheels weren't limited to the U.S.! The popularity of the fast little cars was world-wide, and Mattel responded by revising their packages for a number of countries. This is a 1969 Italian package (appropriately containing a Maserati Mistral!).

Foreign Packages - Japan

Formula One and racing cars were popular world-wide and Mattel altered their "Grand Prix" style package for a number of countries. Here's a Japanese "Grand Prix" card, curiously containing a very NON racing car, a Mercedes 280SL.

Foreign Packages - Germany

Now this is more like it! This German "Grand Prix" package contains a race car, although it is an American Shelby Turbine racer! Note that the Shelby is facing to the left in the German package; in the U.S. and other countries, the Hot Wheel usually faced to the right.

Foreign Packages - England

Although Mattel didn't have to translate their packaging into a foreign language to sell Hot Wheels in England, they still had unique packages for the English market. The "Grand Prix" package was renamed "Exclusive Racing Car" series for England. Mattel was not picky about putting actual racing cars in the packages; this one contains a red Python.

Foreign Packages - Another from England

In addition to the "Racing Car" series, Mattel sold Hot Wheels in England packaged in "Sho N Go," "European Series," and "Custom Car" series. Here's a late Custom Car package from 1971. The plastic blister has nearly disintegrated and the yellow Short Order is about to fall out; this is typical with English packages. The plastic used was decidedly inferior and it's difficult to find an English blister nowadays without cracks and disintegration.

Foreign Packages - English "European Series"

One of my favorites! This English package uses the artwork from the "Racing Car" series (Grand Prix series in the U.S.) but has a yellow background.

Foreign Packages - Canadian Heavyweight

The Heavyweight series was also marketed in Canada, England and Germany. (And in Italy under the "Sputtafuoco" label but that's another story.) Here's a Canadian Heavyweight BP, with a few differences from the U.S. package that a discerning eye can pick out. Compare to the U.S. pack and try to find them!

Promotional Packaging

Mattel had a wide variety of promotional give-aways and free offers for Hot Wheels. In some cases (Biz detergent and breakfast cereal) cars in baggies were put in other product boxes. In other cases, the cars came attached to the product on unique cards. In the U.S. Hot Wheels were offered free with tubes of Prell Shampoo and Gleem toothpaste. The package pictured is a rare promo from Canada -- free Hot Wheel with a bottle of Lux dish soap!

All New Card for 1973

1973 was a year for dramatic changes in the Hot Wheels lineup. Gone were the flashy "spectraflame" paint jobs ... and the classic California Custom card. Mattel also discontinued series packages (Spoilers, Heavyweights etc). Here's a blue Dune Daddy on the 1973 card.

1974 Flying Colors Package

After having stuck with the basic "California Custom" package from 1968-72, Mattel used their "blue card" design only in 1973 -- in 1974 came the all-new "Flying Colors" package with a white background.

1974 Flying Colors - Canada

Here's an extremely rare Canadian version of the 1974 Flying Colors package. Can you spot the differences from the U.S. package shown directly above?