Here we are. Hot off the heels of Thanksgiving and ascending to that “most wonderful time of the year”. The commercials, the television specials, the themes in department store windows all remind me of when I was a little tyke. My fondest Christmas memories surround the day my older brother told my father that I was getting too old for tinker toys. He suggested that since I was becoming a big boy, that I should be getting big boy toys. Dad came through every year after with a couple of sets of shiny new wares from Mattel. These cars not only solidified my love for cars, but it also made the bond between my father, my brother and me even stronger. When I would ride with Dad and see one of my cars in real life, he would get just as excited as I did. My brother and I would go through magazines and talk about which cars we’d like to be should be made in miniature next.
My friends down the street were already playing with such things – some pledged allegiance to Hot Wheels, others committed to Matchbox. They both showered me with soliloquies about the virtues of each. To make a long story short, I respected the detail in Matchbox cars, but Hot Wheels won. They always seemed to have my heart. I would later realize that it wasn’t just with me, but boys all over the world.
I share my heartfelt sentiments toward the company and its gifts below.
Dear Hot Wheels,
The biggest car manufacturer in the world, yet you’ve never shut down and we’ve never had to bail you out. There’s always been a connection between us. There’s always been a special feeling that, although we knew you were mass-producing these cares, you always seemed to come up with some new body style, some fresh paint job or some replica of a real car that sparked our enthusiasm.
You’ve entertained our grandfathers, fathers and have grasped the affection of our sons -transcending time and trends. Instead of succumbing to changes in the world, you have not only adapted to them but created a few yourself. Being the only toy that has been consistent and for many of us. You were too small for us to fit in, yet you were our way of escape. You encouraged us to create the soundtrack for engines that were silent and plastic. And when we became old enough to drive ourselves, you (and the Big Three) offered us the privilege of being the guy we always imagined in the driver’s seat.
We remember when your wheels had red lines and when they were finally adorned in rubber. We remember when you went from glittery metallic to fine clearcoat. When your tracks and loops gave way to garages and whole cities that you provided us to drive in.
Because of you, boys became captivated by automobiles and some seduced by design so much so that they would grow to be men who shaped automotive design for the world. You went from childhood past time to a fond adult memory. For those of us careful enough to preserve boxes and not chip paint, you also provided a lucrative bed of security for our retirement years.
You probably have as many memories of us as we do of you. The ones we do are as vivid as yesterday. You’ve earned a special place in our history and our hearts. Thank you Hot Wheels for 50 years of dreams….and joy.