1970 Tow Truck and 1979 T-Totaller
Every diecast collector has a favourite model, and this is one of mine. Its the 1970 Hot Wheels Heavyweight series Tow Truck. This casting only appeared for 1970 and then disappeared from the Hot Wheels range until it was brought back in 2004 - 34 years after is only appearance! It was then used a few more times, but not since 2008.
1970 saw several releases in a new subrange called 'Heavyweights' which included some articulated models. They were all very similar to several Matchbox models. In fact the HotWheels Tow Truck is very similar to the Matchbox 'Toe Joe'.
Designed by Ira Gifford, the model appeared in the full range of Hot Wheels Spectraflame colours, all versions featuring the blue tint plastic window and a tiny 'Hot Wheels Tow Service' logo on the rear yellow plastic. Still part of the classic era, it features a metal base, a metal body and redline wheels.
The towing hook is quite interesting. Most toy tow trucks have plastic hooks, the Hot Wheels Tow Truck has a wire hook, which is attached to a plastic boom. Its really quite effective in its intended use of towing other Hot Wheels cars, indeed they do stay on the hook when being moved around. The wire hook also folds forward and nestles quite snugly in the rear plastic bed, tucked neatly and safely out of sight. To deploy the hook, you press down on the boom and the hook sort of 'pops' out enough for you to flip it over to use. I doubt that in todays more safety conscious era a bare wire hook would be permitted on a child's toy!
Although you could aim to collect one of each colour of the 13 original 1970 versions, sometimes you have to be happy with what you have. I am fortunate to own two nice examples in pleasing colours. The two shown here are Spectraflame Blue and Spectraflame Aqua. Mint loose versions are worth around US $60 each. Mint carded versions in Spectraflame Pink or Spectraflame Salmon are worth US $325. These values are relative of course. For a one year only casting scarcity itself makes the model collectible.
To the rating:
1970 Hot Wheels Tow Truck