Hot Wheels is one of the most affordable toys to collect. Since most cars are only a dollar, it means anyone with a pocket or a purse can cobble together enough spare change to buy a few toy cars. Most people might think Hot Wheels starts with kids scooting them across the kitchen floor and ends with adults putting them on shelves, but there is a lot you can do with Hot Wheels.
1. You can race them. And I mean racing beyond the loop-de-loops and ramps you remember from childhood. I’m talking all-out drag racing. All you need is two lanes of straight track, a hill, and a finish line. It sounds simple, and it is…just grab some friends and you can quickly create your own game. Everyone picks a car at random and you race them tournament-style. The winner gets bragging rights and the losers, well, they’ll just have to pick another car and try again. I made a 20-foot fold-up race track that I can take out at any time, and easily hide whenever my wife wants it hidden. It’s great for parties, kids, and even just a lazy Sunday afternoon.
2. Create your own car. Customizing your very own Hot Wheels may require some effort, but it’s a lot of fun. A well-placed firecracker was the only way to get cars apart when we were little, but now we have tools! Grab your drill and in 10 minutes you can be personalizing your own Hot Wheels car. Paint them, put stickers on them, swap out wheels and parts…whatever you want. And if you’re adventurous, take several Hot Wheels and combine them to create your own Frankenhotwheels. Beware, however, once you go down this road you’ll never look at Hot Wheels on the shelf the same ever again. You’ll start thinking, “I bet the wheels on that truck would look awesome on that Porsche.”
3. Turn them into something useful. Hot Wheels are simple toys…but that doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. You can turn your toy cars into something useful and hip, like a USB thumb drive! I took one of my favorite Hot Wheels cars, a $10 USB drive, and combined them. What I got is a truly unique thumb drive that is fun to play with, fun to look at, and a great conversation piece at the office. Technology is cheap and, better yet, tiny…perfect for toys. What else could you add to a Hot Wheels car? Lights? Motors? Magnets? If you have the time and gumption, there are a whole slew of weekend DIY projects.
4. Educate and experiment. When I started racing Hot Wheels I was just looking for some fun with toys. What I didn’t expect was the game turning into one big science experiment. In the quest to find the fastest Hot Wheels car, I was faced with all sorts of questions. Does car shape matter? Does weight matter? Does WD-40 work on Hot Wheels? I found myself creating a bunch of trial-and-error experiments that were a lot of fun. I even applied a Mythbusters experiment to my Hot Wheels.
5. Start a local club and meet people. Hot Wheels is a universal toy. Everybody knows them and I’m willing to bet just about everyone has one. The Internet makes it east to connect with other Hot Wheels fans on places like Facebook, Twitter, and message boards…but nothing is better than getting a chance to geek out about Hot Wheels in person. All you need is a place to gather (local park, church, library, coffee shop, etc.) and tell everyone to bring their Hot Wheels. You will quickly pass the time chatting, trading, sharing, and racing your favorite toy cars. This is only a short list of fun things you can do with Hot Wheels cars, believe me, there are many more. And remember, just because you’re no longer 8-years-old doesn’t mean fun with Hot Wheels has to stop, it just means you have to figure out how to make them fun.
About the Author: Brian Vaughn writes at MorningToast.com about video games, retro toy memories, all around geekery, and, of course, Hot Wheels. He’s also the world record holder for Urban Champion. Follow him on Twitter at @morningtoast