Hot Wheels Stamps from the USPS

In 2018, the U.S. Postal Service began a celebration of Hot Wheels, the iconic die-cast cars that for the last 50 years have ignited the imaginations of generations of children around the world.

Today, kids and adults alike still play with and collect these outrageously speedy scale models.

If you missed the boat of the first run of these commemorative stamps, there’s still time!

The idea for Hot Wheels was formed in the late 1960s. Mattel co-founder Elliot Handler set out to create a toy car that looked cooler and performed better than anything else out there. Until that point, toy cars had often been tiny reproductions of models that lacked pizzazz and speed.

Handler enlisted Harry Bentley Bradley, who had been working as a car designer at General Motors, and Jack Ryan, a former Raytheon rocket scientist. Together, they changed how kids play with toy cars. Inspired by the rebellious spirit of his own striking, customized yellow Chevrolet El Camino, Bradley drew modified versions of the era’s most visually appealing hot rods, muscle cars, and one-of-a-kind show cars.

From Bradley’s plans came a new breed of toy car: mini speed demons with bulging engines. Translucent, candy-colored paint that Mattel dubbed Spectraflame was applied directly on the cars’ zinc alloy bodies to give them an eye-catching metallic look. An aggressive appearance was important, but the tiny vehicles also needed to function like their real-life counterparts. With that in mind, Ryan helped design and build toy cars that were both agile and fast. The vehicles were equipped with space-age, red-striped, friction-resistant plastic wheels and independent suspension.

When Handler saw his team’s first die-cast car rolling along the floor, he said, “Those are some hot wheels,” and the brand name was born. By early 1968, Hot Wheels already had begun selling out of stores. Mattel soon introduced its iconic orange tracks, which provided children unlimited ways to test out stunts and racing skills. Today, children and their parents still love racing the eye-poppingly colorful, lightning-fast cars.

Arranged in diagonal rows, the 20 stamps showcase photographer Len Rizzi’s images of 10 Hot Wheels cars—two of each design—speeding along a bright orange track. Each stamp features the name of the vehicle shown in either the top left or top right corner and the words “USA” and “Forever” in either the bottom left or bottom right corner. The iconic curvy Hot Wheels logo appears in the top right corner of the pane. The back of the pane displays the Hot Wheels 50th anniversary logo.

Find all the available stamps & sets at the USPS website right here.

 

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About The Author

Jon Jon Reddick is a well-credentialed nerd of the 80s, classic game fan, and technology geek. He merged those interests into the creation of GenXGrownUp: a weekly podcast and YouTube channel which explores and celebrates media, games, tech, toys, comics, and pop culture of yesterday and today through the eyes of Generation X'ers.

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