Hot Wheels Vs. Matchbox (Similarities & Differences Between Them)

Hot Wheels cars and Matchbox cars are both brands of toy cars that can either be used on the racetrack or as collector’s items. Though Matchbox and Hot Wheels are now both owned and created by Mattel, this was not always the case. 

When comparing Matchbox vs. Hot Wheels, the fight over which is the best toy car brand has been going on for decades now. 

Matchbox was created in England in the ‘50s. Competition came when Mattel created the USA version of toy cars called Hot Wheels. Serious Hot Wheel collectors will know that they became a big deal shortly after they came onto the scene with their first year models produced inn1968. 

Eventually, Matchbox could not keep up with the more popular Hot Wheels and Mattel bought them out. 

Since both of these types of diecast cars are now produced by the same company there are some similarities but there are still some differences between the two cars as well. 

Both Hot Wheels and Matchbox are diecast cars and roughly around the same size. Matchbox cars tend to lean toward realism while Hot Wheels lean toward flashiness. 

Hot Wheels have more fancy elements, stickers, and flash to them. Matchbox cars are modeled and typically look more like real cars. 

Hot Wheels tend to focus on car models that have a sporty look or fantasy elements (which their avid collectors love) while Matchbox focuses on more real-life cars such as service, utility, and emergency vehicles. Hot Wheels model their toy cars after real cars like Lamborghini and Ferrari or even create their own dream sports cars. 

Matchbox cars are mainly made up of service and utility vehicles like military equipment or planes. This has kept Matchbox cars a popular collectable with auto enthusiasts who prefer a more realistic toy car experience. 

Hot Wheels Vs. Matchbox (Similarities & Differences Between Them)

Hot Wheels Vs Matchbox Size difference

There is a difference between the size of some Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. Many of the Hot Wheels and Matchbox models are similar in size however since Hot Wheels makes many unrealistic types of cars where Matchbox does not then often Hot Wheels will have taller, longer, and heavier cars.

Despite the size and weight differences both Hot Wheels and Matchbox toy cars will be approximately the same width which means that they can be displayed in the same case if you are a collector. 

This makes it easy to display and protect the cars no matter which brand that they are from. 

Since Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars are the same width they can also be used on the toy tracks from the other company without too much difficulty. Several of the Hot Wheels new models won’t work well on tracks because of how tall or awkward they are because of their unique and “out there” designs. 

However, that is never an issue with Matchbox cars since they are designed to look far more real. 

Hot Wheels Vs Matchbox Colors

When it comes to the colors used on Hot Wheels and Matchbox there really is no comparison. Both of these toy lines have different color schemes. 

As with the style of the cars Hot Wheels will often have very inventive and different color schemes while Matchbox cars will have more normal colors.  

The two toy companies use different color schemes because they have different target audiences. While Hot Wheels is a toy that mainly targets kids, Matchbox aims for adults with many of their toy car lines. 

Hot Wheels’ colors are much more varied than those of Matchbox. The 1970s were a hot time for hot rods, and Hot Wheels made theirs look authentic. For example, the 1968 Cheetah Python was based on a hot rod that was originally created for Car Craft magazine in 1963. 

Hot Wheels’ design also differs from Matchbox’s. The Hot Wheels cars feature thin metal strings for the tires, which reduce drag. The axles of the cars are bent and resemble suspension. 

Hot Wheels Vs Matchbox Accessories

Hot Wheels and Matchbox are both popular toys in the United States. Both brands allow children to build and race cars and both offer entertainment value. When it comes to buying toys, parents need to decide which is most important to their child. 

While they have their advantages and disadvantages, both brands are fun for children of all ages.

Matchbox and Hot Wheels have their own distinct lines and a lot of different accessories. The Hot Wheels line has a wide range of options for kids, including cars, trucks, and other accessories. It’s also great for a serious Hot Wheels collector and can also be a great gift for kids.

Regardless of which set your child chooses, you’ll likely find a variety of accessories to fit every budget. You can choose between a variety of track sets to build your child’s dream race track or town. 

Hot Wheels accessories include stunt tracks, bigger playsets, and gas stations. Some even include McDonald’s drive-throughs.

As with their vehicles, any Matchbox accessories will be very realistic in design. While Hot Wheels might have loops or jumps with their tracks and accessories Matchbox rarely will. Most of Matchbox’s accessories will be portions of towns or buildings so the more realistic cars can be played with and displayed in a realistic setting as well. 

The two companies have different philosophies when it comes to the design of their products. While Matchbox toys use a realistic look and plastic tires, Hot Wheels toys are often not realistic-looking and sportier. 

Hot Wheels Vs Matchbox Brief History

Hot Wheels and Matchbox are both iconic brands of miniature toy cars founded over 50 years ago. Hot Wheels were first produced in the late 1960s while Matchbox actually started making toy cars over two decades earlier in 1947. In the late 1990s, Mattel took over the Matchbox brand. 

This new line of toys was aimed mostly at toy car enthusiasts and featured new limited-edition vehicles as well as the resurrection of old favorites. 

This strategy helped Mattel satisfy the needs of both segments of the consumer market when it came to toy cars. 

While both Hot Wheels and Matchbox make toy cars, the main difference between these two brands is in their design. While Matchbox designs models that resemble real street cars, Hot Wheels focuses more on fantasy models and fantastical replicas to expand the imagination. 

Children who are more interested in iconic cars that are often seen in movies and on TV are likely to prefer Hot Wheels. Hot Wheels were also often designed with “hot rod” details, such as big rear tires, Superchargers, flame paint jobs, and hood blowers. These new cars were originally meant for children, but they quickly became popular with adults as well.

The Hot Wheels line features more pop culture references than Matchbox as well. This has helped Hot Wheels continue to be the leader in terms of sales between the two brands. 

Matchbox models are smaller, but they can be valuable collectibles. Mattel’s Matchbox brand is known for producing high-quality models that appeal to fans of toy cars in general but especially those who like realistic toy cars. 

Hot Wheels was released by Mattel in 1968. After Mattel acquired Matchbox in 1997, they continued to refine their designs. Since then, they have shifted their focus to the collectable car market, including a slew of limited-edition models. 

They are widely available and can be purchased by children and adults.

While the original Hot Wheels remain popular, they have also made some notable improvements to their lines. For example, the “Hot 100” line was launched in 2004. This lineup featured several cars that were not originally part of the Hot Wheels line. 

It also included a new line of vehicles with varying themes, such as the ‘Tooned’ cars, Blings, and Hardnoze cars.

Are Matchbox Cars Worth More Than Hot Wheels? 

If you have collected both the Matchbox and Hot Wheel versions for a while, you may be curious if there is a valuable car in your collection. While both companies have produced cars for decades, Hot Wheels has a much wider variety of cars than Matchbox. 

Since there are fewer Matchbox cars, does this mean that Matchbox has cars that are more valuable than Hot Wheels? 

Even though there may be fewer varieties of cars that Matchbox has produced, they are not more valuable than Hot Wheels. 

The most expensive Matchbox that was produced sold for $13,000. The Magirus-Deutz Truck Crane (1961) was reportedly found and purchased at a garage sale for $10. A few years later the new owner sold it for $10,000 to a collector who in turn sold it for the high price of $13,000. 

The most expensive Hot Wheels car is worth $175,000. The rear-loading Beach Bomb prototype never made it to stores. 

Only two of these were produced and they were faulty. They could not stay upright as they rolled around. 

Bruce Pascal, who has a 7,000 piece Hot Wheels collection, owned both of the vehicles until he sold one to another collector. Pascal still owns the car that is in the best condition. 

Many old Hot Wheels models can be quite valuable with the top 10 Hot Wheels being worth a combined $470,000 according to Hot Cars

Are Hot Wheels and Matchbox Tracks Compatible? 

If you purchased both Hot Wheel and Matchbox, it would be nice if you could connect tracks and race both types of cars on the connected tracks. However, since Matchbox cars tend to be a bit wider wheels, the track for Matchbox cars might run bigger as well. 

With this in mind, the question remains, are Hot Wheels and Matchbox tracks compatible despite the different sizes in cars? 

If you have an older set of Hot Wheel and Matchbox tracks, they may not connect. However, since Mattel owns both Hot Wheel and Matchbox, they are now creating the tracks to be compatible. 

Similarly, if you try to run old Matchbox cars down a newer Hot Wheels track, the car might get stuck. Older Matchbox cars are a bit wider and can get stuck in some of the newer style tracks. 

Did Matchbox Cars Come In Matchboxes? 

Matchbox cars have been around for decades. The idea behind the toy was that a dad wanted his daughter to be able to play with her toys at school. Two friends joined forces to see if they could create a toy small enough that was still functional. 

The school rule for toys was that you could only bring a toy to school if it could fit in a matchbox. Their first successful car was the Coronation Coach that was inspired by Queen Elizabeth II’s coach. 

It was functional and also small enough to fit in a matchbox. After seeing the success they had with the car, they focused their efforts on creating more cars that could also be taken to school. 

Matchbox cars actually had matchboxes used as their original package. Since they were sold in matchboxes they became known as “the matchbox toys” and the name stuck. 

They have been known as Matchbox cars ever since. 

How Can You Tell If A Matchbox Is Rare? 

If you have been collecting Matchbox cars for a while, you might have a rare car in your collection. Here are a few tips to help you determine if you have a rare Matchbox. 


The age of the car is important when deciding if your Matchbox has any value. A Matchbox car that was purchased back in the ’50s will be much more valuable than a car that was purchased in the ‘70s or ’80s. 

The older the car, the more value it holds. 


Some Matchbox cars were produced in very limited quantities. These cars were produced to encourage collectors. 

The limited amount of cars produced would make collectors feel as though the cars were must-have items for their collection.  


The molds, dies, and materials used in creating Matchbox cars were sometimes changed. For example, some cars could have different wheels or plastic used when creating the car. 

The distinct differences or variations in the car could potentially make your car rare. 


The better the condition of the car, the more valuable it is. Typically if the package is still sealed and does not appear damaged in any way, this is considered mint condition. 

If you have removed your car from the package but the car still looks good and does not have any chips in the paint your car could be considered in near-mint condition. 

As long as your car looks good and doesn’t have any chipped paint or broken parts, it could still have some value. 


If your car is still in the original packaging, it could be very valuable. A car that is mint-in-box will be much more valuable than the same new model that is no longer in the package. 

The first 75 models of Matchbox cars that are produced have very valuable packaging. The box has a phrase that says, “A Moko Lesney Product.” 

These little cars in the rare boxes are now extremely valuable. 

Final Thoughts 

Whether you love Hot Wheel cars or Matchbox, both are still great types of cars and collector’s items. 

While they may have their differences, they are still both great quality miniature muscle cars that can bring hours of fun to the racetrack.  Since both of these types of cars have been made by Mattel in recent years the quality of one over the other really isn’t any better. 

It just comes down to which of the distinguishing features you prefer. 

Do you like the original cars without a bunch of fantasy style elements? Then Matchbox models are likely the best for you. Do you prefer a sporty car design that pushes the limits? Then Hot Wheel cars are for you! 

No matter which you prefer, collecting your favorite toy car brand is always a good idea! 

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