Hot Wheels is a brand all it's own. With their brightly colored paint designs and huge variety of models, Hot Wheels dominates the miniature car diecast market. Hot Wheels began in 1968 and produced 16 cars. The cars were painted in bright, reflective colors called Spectraflame by Mattel. The supply could hardly keep up with the demand of these popular new toy cars. Production was based in Mattel's California plant but a second factory opened in Hong Kong in 1968.
The first 16 cars were produced in both United States and Hong Kong. Originally the cars were available in two colors each but when sales exploded all cars became available in at least nine different colors and some models had as many as 16 different colors. While both countries were manufacturing most of the models, after 1968 specific models were produced in one country, not both. All production was in Hong Kong by 1972. Differences between the countries were the make of the chassis and the chrome. US counter parts produced a duller chrome finish.
Setting Hot Wheels apart from other diecast cars on the market was the design, which was based on American muscle cars. The designs were reflective of the time, the body style suggested powerful engines. Hot Wheels had chromed components, mag wheels and of course, a nice paint job. Popular trends were incorporated into the design to create the "hot rod" look. All models had customizations to enhance the design. The use of mag wheels, chrome hubs, and redlines made the brand stand-out. It is also the reason collectors refer to the early Hot Wheels cars as "Redlines".