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How Are Hot Wheels Made?

By Rick Carlton ; Updated April 18, 2017

Mattel's toy (1/64 scale) Hot Wheels toy race cars were released in to the public in 1968, and since then the product line regularly generates well over $4.8 billion in annual sales.

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First Mattel analyzes blueprints from the full-sized car. Then the company's design group sizes-down the car to insure that the vehicle can be produced within its 1/64-inch footprint.

Plastic Mock-Up

After the sizing process is completed, the designers build a mock-up of the car in plastic. Then Mattel's management looks at the replica, and either agrees to produce the car or scraps the design.

First Die-Cast

Presuming that the design is validated, the company then builds a secondary mockup, but in this case the model is die-cast using production materials (usually a combination of zinc and aluminum, sometime referred to as "zymak").

Final Acceptance

Once the die-cast mock-up is ready, Mattel's management again validates the design to insure that the look of the car and the production value is acceptable. If so, this mock up is then used as an initial production template.


The template mold is replicated and installed on a production jig. Once the molds are in place, an automated system injects zymak in the molds, then subjects them to a cooling process. Then the axles and wheels are added. The cars are then sent to final packaging and out to the stores.

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About the Author

Since 1984, Rick Carlton has authored more than 450 articles on the principles, application, analysis and deployment of interoperable enterprise technologies. Additionally, he has written more than 150 feature articles on aviation, auto and motorsports topics including work for The Auto Channel, "Automobile," "Flight Training" and "On-Track" magazine. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in music from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

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