Hot Wheels Treasure Hunt Series Propels Collecting

Author: Wesley Skiles

Collecting of die cast toy cars like Hot Wheels and Matchbox grew out of a passion for cars and childhood memories. Until the early 1990’s, collectors were constrained to just a few options: collecting variations and errors, collecting every car in a series or year, and collecting special limited editions not sold in stores. It wasn’t until 1995 that die cast toy car makers started producing cars for sale in stores that were packaged specifically for collecting. It was the introduction of the Treasure Hunt Series from Hot Wheels that started it all.    The series consists of twelve cars, typically hot sellers in the past, which had new paint and graphic styles applied and sport ‘Real Rider’ tires. Real Rider tires are actually rubber and can be removed from the rim like a real tire. Often times the tires had ‘Goodyear’ or ‘Treasure Hunt’ printed in white on the side of the tire. These cars were produced in limited quantities, 10,000 at first, but were released with the regular series each year. This created an interesting aspect to the Treasure Hunt Series since they were also sold for the $1 price of the regular series. The only exception to this is a box set of the entire series sold exclusively at JC Penny stores around the Christmas and holiday season. The series did experience a few variations over the years. One example is the standard practice from the regular series of re-releasing models with a different paint style. In 2005, in honor of the tenth anniversary, the series released the most popular model from each year of the previous ten years. It was also in this year that a thirteenth car was offered through a mail in offer, which required proof of purchasing twenty other cars.                    The value of the Treasure Hunt cars typically spiked for a particular model when it came out. Often times a car found on the ‘pegs’ in stores for a dollar could immediately be sold for fifty dollars. The value would then slightly decrease when the next month’s cars were issued and the spotlight moved to the next model in the series. As is common, the cars for the inaugural year are valued highest. The ’67 Camaro released in 1995, for example, is the most treasured model and is worth over $300.                    The Treasure Hunt regular series is now sold in two versions, the new version being one with a higher production quantity. This series was designed with the hopes that children could also have a chance a finding the rare cars. Both versions of the series have packages marked with a green stripe behind the title of the car. It is the only noticeable packaging variation from the standard line of cars. The Treasure Hunt series has now also expanding into other die cast lines of cars made by Hot Wheels including the Racing line. If you are interested in searching for these rare cars be prepared to get to the stores early, just before the new month’s models come out, and look for the green stripe. Good luck hunting!

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About the Author:
Author Wesley Skiles is creator of,  a novice collector and father of two boys that love die-cast cars.