Like many other die-cast manufacturers, Hot Wheels decided by the end of the 80s to launch a new line with very small cars. Needless to say, that the market trend at that moment were Micro Machines and other smaller cars. For example, Matchbox made something similar to these at the same time, in a very very rare series I expect to show here soon.
|Promotional image (Italy) - Picture taken from: docmanhattan.blogspot.com|
The new line comprised very small cars, much smaller than the classic 1:64. These are more or less 1:87, the “classic” H0 scale. The new series was named “Micro Racers”, but there were some sub-series that I will now enumerate and describe:
Micro Color Racers: Sets of cars with temperature change paint that could change colours when put in cold water. We can consider this one as the "basic" series, because they're by far the most common.
Race ‘n Show: Sets with two cars in a small diorama
Mini Race Timers: A digital watch, which is a car. The car can be removed from strap to play with it. Hour is displayed on the windshield. If you want to know more about these, click here.
Mini Light Racers: Sets of two cars whose headlights can be switched on and off by means of a cell battery.
Micro Park ‘n Plates: One car with a garage case, whose cover is a license plate.
Chroma Racers: Silver-coloured (chromed) cars
Plus a few accessories, for example, the “Micro Big Rigger” or the “Speed Blaster”.
Some of these series were already successful in 1:64 scale, specially those with changing colours. The Colour Racers were sold, depending on the country, with the names “micro” or “mini”. The names of the series also vary. For example, The “Micro Color Racers” were renamed in Europa “Mini Automagic”.
At least in European packs, “Mini Automagic” cars were sold in blister packs with 4 cars each. The models are great sport cars: Ferrari, Chevrolet, Porsche… as well as some pick-up van, a hot rod and other cool vehicles. Some were offered with “monster truck” wheels, making the model more appealing for children.
By the way, the cars shown in the pictures are:
Row 1: Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari Testarossa and Ferrari 308
Row 2: Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Corvette 80s, Porsche 911 Carrera
These cars tend to be in bad condition since they were intended for rough play. To change colours for a longer time, it was sometimes necessary to put the car in the refrigerator, so I guess many got frozen sometime. The decoration is rarely complete and in good condition, and they do not look very good anymore.
A very interesting fact is that, although all series were released around 1990, each car has a different copyright year, ranging from 1974 to 1987. Probably Mattel already had the licenses to make these cars because it had already made them in other scales. All Micro/Mini series were manufactured in Malaysia.
In the last years Hot Wheel has another line of “micro” cars, which resembles a lot more Micro Machines than those in this entry. The new line is called “Planet Micro”.
- Name: Hot Wheels! Micro Color Racers / Mini Automagic (several cars)
- Scale: Approx. 1:87
- Year: 1990
- Company: Hot Wheels! - Mattel (U.S.A.)
- Size: approx. 3 cm