Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mattel Hot Wheels Space Series #2

Last week we covered the first of four vehicles of the Mattel Space Series from 1996. At the time I said I wasn't aware of any other space series by Mattel but with a little bit of digging found out that there were in fact several more series. That being said, I'm not so sure they'll be added to the collection unless I can get them really cheap :-) (really cheap) because it appears as if the same castings were used for much of the other series' vehicles the only difference being paint schemes. We shall see, we shall see.
Today Toys & Stuff is looking at vehicle #2 in the line-up (specifically: 1996 Hot Wheels Space Series #2 of 4 Collector #389 Item #15229 Search car), a bullet shaped car with tricycle gear and a large cockpit. It's labeled as a 'SEARCH' car and by looking at the graphics located on the top rear, appears to be powered by a small nuclear drive. Nice little 'spacey' touch there.  From the top, the car has a rocket ship outline and from the side it looks fast enough to race along the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. This fanciful streamlining is of course a legacy feature of space cars dating back to, ummmm, back to???? Okay, so when did the first verifiable space car design first appear? And where did it appear? As an illustration in a book? A comic strip? Okay guys, throw me a bone here! Any of you out there sci-fi and fantasy historians? We know that starting with, perhaps, the Art Deco movement that design aesthetics were transitioning from dark, heavy, and busy to light, streamlined, and simple. Automobile and train designers were also following the latest trends and so it's not far-fetched for a sci-fi writer or illustrator to make the leap from every day cars to 'space' cars. Clearly, by the early 1950s the streamlined futuristic car was already an accepted part of sci-fi lore. Okay, 'nuff said. Enjoy!