Thursday, 15 December 2016
Head to Head: Matchbox and Hot Wheels Mini Coopers!
It's time for a little head-to-head face off. Today, it's a battle between the Mattel brands. Now that the Hot Wheels has lost its metal base and pop-off feature it's a fair fight. The Matchbox 1969 Austin Mini Cooper 1275S meets the Hot Wheels Mini Cooper in today's feature. The Matchbox is all stock, as it should be, while the Hot Wheels is a purpose-built racer.
The most noticeable difference between the two castings is the ride height. The Hot Wheels barely clears the ground, and has a slight reverse-rake, while the Matchbox has considerable ground clearance from its stock ride height. The next point of interest is the vehicle length. The Matchbox is slightly longer than the Hot Wheels, but it's not a significant difference. The width is where the discrepancies get serious. The Matchbox is far narrower than the Hot Wheels. One of my major beefs with the Matchbox brand is that some of the mainlines are just too narrow. The recent '71 Skyline and the Cadillac Sedan Deville come to mind off the top of my head.
Overall, I think the Matchbox is the nicer casting. It's much more realistic and not as short and stubby as the Hot Wheels. While the Matchbox casting is a little too narrow, the Hot Wheels casting is too wide, especially given the its short length. The Hot Wheels presents a serious length/width mismatch next to the slightly narrow Matchbox. The Hot Wheels is also supposed to be different. As is often the case, the Matchbox gets the stock look with basic rims and painted headlights. The Hot Wheels has racing covers over the headlight sockets and gets black rims. The decos are also in keeping with each Mattel brand's role. The Hot Wheels gets the splashy deco while the Matchbox gets a clean (dare I say Bean?) deco in lime green with no tampos beyond the headlights and black hood accent.
Ultimately it's hard to lose with either casting. The Matchbox covers the off-the-lot side of the spectrum while the Hot Wheels is a fun, if not slightly cartoonish, little racer that barely sits off the ground. Both Mattels are mad cool...Enjoy the photos!