Volume VII, Number 1

Flexing New Muscle - Hot Wheels' Retro-Concepts
By Doug Breithaupt

For the past four years, Hot Wheels has offered an annual model that represents their concept of a modern version of a classic muscle car. The first is dated from 2000 and is called the 'Muscle Tone'. This handsome model is quite restrained and may have actually caused automotive designers to seriously consider it's lines. It was intended to be a concept for a new Camaro, carrying the traditional style of the 1967 Camaro SS model but with modern lines. The blue stripe across the nose is much like that used on the original. The next model to appear from 2001 is the 'Pony-Up'. Styling touches from the early fast-back Mustangs are somewhat overdone. While it is not as handsome as the new 2005 Mustang, the HW version used the same inspiration as shown by the accompanying 1968 model.

The third retro-concept from HW is the 'GT-03', dated 2002. It is the least successful attempt due to an odd drooping nose. Intended as a new version of the 1967 Pontiac GTO, the GT-03 is almost cartoonish in it's lines. The latest model is dated 2003 and is called 'Rapid Transit'. The style harks back to the 1970 Hemi 'Cuda from Plymouth. Like the Muscle Tone, the Rapid Transit is a far more serious attempt than the GT-03 and has merit in it's design. Chrysler has not offered a retro version of their famous 'Cuda and this could be worthy of consideration.

Rapid Transit - Hot Wheels and 1970 Plymouth AAR Cuda - Hot Wheels

Pony-Up - Hot Wheels and 1968 Ford Mustang - Hot Wheels

GT-03 - Hot Wheels and 1967 Pontiac GTO - Johnny Lightning

Muscle Tone - Hot Wheels and 1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS - Johnny Lightning

Perhaps HW will continue to offer these miniature retro-muscle styling studies each year. Their take on the 1970 Buick GSX or 1967 Oldsmobile 442 would prove interesting. Is it possible that designers from Ford, GM or Chrysler might have these little cars sitting on top of their computers? While it is unlikely that a HW concept car might ever be seriously considered for production, inspiration does come from many sources.