I don’t know if I’ll ever grow up. My nephew is turning 5 years old this week, and I’ve been tasked with getting his present. Normally a less-than-fun task, but in this case I was hit with a case of severe nostalgia. My brother told me that his son has been really into cars of late, and I knew exactly what I was going to get him: Hot Wheels. In my online shopping binge, I remembered just how much I loved those silly cars and how much other people still love them too.
After buying WAY more Hot Wheels than I would care to admit (they’re just so cool), I went on an excursion through the vast storage space in the basement. For some reason, through all of our moves, I always saved a box of small toys that contained some of my favorite Hot Wheel toys from my long-passed youth… much to the dismay of my better half. After what seemed like hours (and was actually about 25 minutes – I’m old) I found my hidden treasure.
Hot Wheels were introduced in 1968, and I swear I remember their release. Matchbox cars were already very popular and known for being just like their real-life counterparts. I loved my Matchbox cars, but when I first saw Hot Wheels I had never seen anything so cool. What set Hot Wheels apart was how they took the standard bodies of really cool cars, but they then customized them to make them even cooler. I grew quite the collection.
As I grew older, the collection of cars dwindled quite a bit. Kids play with them and lose them, I’d occasionally give some away, and I’m sure my loving wife was throwing them away behind my back (maybe not). Going through the box in my basement, I realized that the collection was even smaller than I remembered. But there were still some nice finds. I still have my 1969 custom Fire Engine, and my 1968 custom Mustang.
For my nephew, I got a bunch of really cool supercars like the Lamborghini Aventador, some classics like the ’58 Impala and some that I just think are cool… like the DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future (I might’ve gotten a second one for myself). I also got him the orange track sets to build jumps and loops. I might have to wrap it all now so I don’t play with it over the next two weeks… c’mon I can do it – just a little self control.
While watching reviews of the different cars and tracks on YouTube, I realized something. Grown Men are still in love with Hot Wheels. And some of these guys are doing some really cool things with their hobby (obsession?). In the video below, Tanner Foust sets a record jump in this life-sized Hot Wheels ramp. I know I said I don’t think I’ll ever grow up… and stuff like this makes me glad.