Celebrating the early years of racing with Hot Wheels
by Doug Breithaupt

In the last few years, Hot Wheels has began to produce models of some very early racing machines. Grand Prix, Indy and speed record machines are represented. While none of these can be directly identified as actual racing cars, the styles are close to specific types of racers. While it's a shame that HW has not designed a vintage wheel/tire to fit these models, at least they are producing these great vintage machines. Let's hope this trend continues and that some real racing Alfa, Maserati, Bentley or Duesenberg models might be done in future.

Old #3
Possibly an early Indy 500 racer, Fiat or Ford

The Indy 500 first ran in 1911 and 'Old #3' looks much like the early racers of the day. The grill has a Ford shape but it also could be a Fiat. The tires are too wide and the body too narrow but for a $1 model, it has the basic look of a vintage racer circa 1911 as the picture shows.
Torpedo Jones
Possibly a 1911 Fiat 300 CV Grand Prix racer

The Fiat 300 CV was 28.2 litre, 4 cylinder grand prix racer. It produced 300 h.p. and had a maximum speed of 135 mph. Considering the primitive brakes, steering, tires and suspension, anything over 80 mph would have been amazing. The addition of a driver add much to this model. Unfortunately, the low-profile tires are particular out of place. Even the wheels from 'Old #3 would be a major improvement.

Rocket Oil Special
Possible a 1934 Indy car - Sampson Radio Special

The roadster body and V16 motor in this model are clues to it's inspiration. In the mid-1930's, several V16 powered cars ran at Indy. One with a Miller V16 was the Sampson Radio Special, driven by Chet Gardiner in 1934 (picture is a similar V8 powered car). it started 5th but finished in 21st place, averaging 114.786 mph. With 201 c.i., the Miller V16 was surpassed by the Cooper V16 of 330 c.i., although the Superior Trailer car it powered finished in 25th place. The aerodynamic side pods are a curious touch, not seen on most period Indy cars.
Turbolence "Dayla Special"
A world record speed car like Sir Malcolm Campbell's Bluebird models

With it's V12 aircraft engine, this sleek racer can only be a model for attempting new speed records. While the shape of this model is not the same as the Bluebird of Sir Malcolm Campbell, they shares V12 aircraft power. The 'Dayla Special' and 'Turbolence' names seem to be pure invention from Hot Wheels. This model would have to be in much smaller scale than the others featured here, perhaps 1:72 scale. The wheels are still to wide but hidden under the body, they are not as distracting.

Lakester "Spirit of Eagle Rock"
A 'belly tank' racer in the spirit of the So Cal Lakester (shown right)

Following WWII, a number of dry lake speed racers were built using empty aircraft belly tanks. These aerodynamic fuel tanks were perfectly shaped to make for torpedo-like speed racers. The driver sits in front of twin, supercharged V8 motors, perhaps Cadillac or Oldsmobile V8's from the late 1940's. The upper body hinges back on this model, just like the real racers. The tires are still too wide but getting better.