|Volume IX, Number 1|
Out of the Blue - Hot Wheels Fantasy Five-Packs
||In the early 1960's, Virgil Exner had just finished a successful period
as head designer for Chrysler. His 'forward look' of 1957 had taken the
fins of the 1950's to amazing heights. In his final years at Chrysler, he
became enamored with neo-classic automotive design, adding elements of the
motorcars of the vintage and classic era to modern cars. After Chrysler,
Exner designed three show cars that carried the neoclassic theme to new
levels. His neo-Mercer and neo-Duesenberg were neo-offs, however, his neo-Stutz
was produced in limited numbers on a Pontiac Grand Prix chassis.|
Hot Wheels offered the Stutz Blackhawk as a 1979 casting. The toy car is quite faithful to the original and the casting survived for almost 25 years.
||In looking at this toy car, few may realize that it represents a real automotive
design. I.A.D. is a design institute in California. This institute has been
the responsible for preparing many students for careers in automotive design.
The Alien was a design of the late 1980's.|
This design has the complete base and rear power unit in metal with the cabin and nose in plastic. The 'Ultrahot' wheels look perfect for this futuristic model. What makes it unexpected is that Hot Wheels produced such a faithful replica of the original concept vehicle.
||Rusty Heinz was one of the heirs to the Heinz (of catsup fame) empire. He
was also an automotive enthusiast. He decided to build his own car, using
a Cord chassis as a starting point. The result was the Phantom Corsair,
an aero-shaped coupe with a flair that seemed more European than American.
The real car still exists and is impressive to see. For Hot Wheels to do this car as a toy was a big surprise. All the classic models produced up to this period by Hot Wheels, represented production models. The Phantom Corsair is a true departure from the Auburn or Bugatti models in that it represents a one-off design. The toy car is also quite accurate, unlike many Hot Wheels models.
||Tom Meade was an American automotive designer in Italy in the 1960's. He
brought some of the American hot rod ideas to his creations. The Thomissima
III was created on the chassis of a Ferrari 275. Clearly influenced by designs
of the day from Pininfarina, Bizzarini and Drago, Meade also added an American
The real car is quite obscure and without this Hot Wheels version, might be all but forgotten. This 'custom' Ferrari is again quite accurate to the original and has been offered in metallic red, blue and green, with the original red being the most correct color.
||Of the five cars here, the B.A.T. 9 is easily the best known. One of three
B.A.T. concepts produced by Bertone for Alfa Romeo in the early 1950's,
this car is one of the true superstars of concept automobiles. With the
earlier B.A.T. 5 and 7 models, the 9 has been a staple of classic car meets
is Europe and America, coming to Pebble Beach twice including in 2005.|
Perhaps this recent trip was motivation for Hot Wheels to offer one of the B.A.T. designs. If so we might hope for the 5 and 7 to be offered in future. I would have never bet on seeing his model as a small-scale toy car, especially from Hot Wheels. It is a delight