The 1970 Hot Wheels™ Club Cars

In December of 1969, Mattel began a promotional campaign called the Hot Wheels™ Collectors Club. For a membership cost of $1.00 (plus shipping and handling), it offered the 1970 Hot Wheels™ catalog, an iron-on flame logo patch, a small sheet of Hot Wheels™ decals, a membership certificate, and a special chrome-plated collector's car. The car, made exclusively for the promotion, was the 6499 Mustang Boss Hoss Silver Special. The complete Club Kit had the production number 6599.

The Collector Club Kits were only available through a mail-in promotion printed on the back of main-line Hot Wheels™ car packages and in the 1969 Hot Wheels™ Collectors Catalog, but in little more than a month, over half a million people wrote in. Mattel was immediately six months back-ordered. Production was at peak capacity, so the 6189 Heavy Chevy and 6190 King 'Kuda castings from the new "Spoilers" series were also chrome-plated and used to help meet the demand.

I was seven years old when my dad sent an order in, and I eventually got a King 'Kuda. It's the only one of my childhood Hot Wheels™ cars that survived to my adulthood. When I began receiving Internet service in 1994, I knew almost nothing about Hot Wheels™ history. I was pondering that chrome 'Kuda one night, vaguely recalling that I had been expecting a Mustang when it arrived. I started researching, hunted (and found) a Boss Hoss, and in the process learned that the Heavy Chevy was also a Club car. This research became the birth of my adult Hot Wheels™ collecting hobby.

Club Kit production was at full speed throughout 1970, and to assure all orders were filled, continued even after the mail-in offer expired. By the time the lines were shut down, there was quite a bit of excess inventory. Complete, boxed Club Kits that were unsold were sent through regular distribution channels and briefly became available in retail stores. In Britain, over-produced single chrome cars were packaged in Show 'N' Go Series blister-cards, and in Europe they were sold in Hot Wheels™ standard German Heiße Räder packaging. Leftover chrome car bodies that remained unassembled were diverted to the regular production lines, and Mattel's transparent Spectraflame® paint system was applied over the mirror-like finish. This resulted in rare "color over-chrome" cars, which are, of course, highly valued by collectors today.

The standard "Spoilers" series of cars (which included the three Club car models) began to be produced at the same time Hot Wheels™ was switching from the use of Delrin bearing-style wheels to a new snap-on "cap" design. Thus, any given car may have either type. The Club cars were shipped and sold from late 1970 into 1971, and almost all had the new cap-style wheel design. The black-interior Boss Hoss car on this page was made during the transition period and has bearing-style wheels on the front and cap-style on the rear. But it's not too uncommon — the factory workers then, as now, will typically "grab whatever works." For example, black interior versions are the standard, but a large percentage of all three cars were given white (Mattel says "cream-colored") interiors. These are somewhat less common, but still readily available on the secondary market... as evidenced by the fact that I've got some.

One sunny summer day in 1971, I left my King 'Kuda on the package tray of my dad's Cutlass, and flat-spotted the wheels. Fortunately, there is currently a small cottage industry where reproduction parts can be obtained. There is also a community of Hot Wheels™ restorers, and a niche market for their restorations. However, the chrome plating on the Club cars makes them extremely difficult to refinish. If you see a chrome Club car, it's almost certain to be in original condition. In the photos below, both King 'Kudas and the white-interior Boss Hoss are sporting Redline Shop wheels. Two of the black-interior cars wear stripes from the same venue.

Recently, I was in the market for another Boss Hoss Silver Special. I spent a couple of weeks searching, but finally resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to find one in the condition I wanted; at least not within my budget. With little hope left, I checked an online forum I rarely visit. To my surprise, I found that forty-five minutes earlier, one had been posted for sale, in the condition I wanted, for exactly what I was willing to pay! In about fifteen seconds I excitedly glanced at the pictures, recognized the seller, and staked my claim. The timing seemed fortuitous, so that's how the car I call "Serendipity" got its name.

The Club cars are probably among the most common of redline Hot Wheels™. Still, they're very popular among collectors, and happen to be my all-time favorites!

chrome cars

L to R:  Heavy Chevy, "Serendipity," and my childhood King 'Kuda with reproduction stripes and wheels.

chrome cars

My white-interior Club cars. The roundel stickers were factory-original on all Club cars, but are easily damaged and frequently removed.

For photos of rare items related to the Hot Wheels™ Club Kits, check out this page.

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