------------ From my point of view!
Part VI - November 1998
by Dot Lang
Blister pack number: 1760-190
Ford Gift Pack
By 1996 it was becoming difficult to
find the single blister paks of the Thunderbird model. However, Mattel
started issuing the Thunderbird in a "Ford gift-pack" of five cars.
Of course, a new color had to be used and yellow was the color. Very
plain - no tampos, however the Hot Wheels logo started appearing, "stamped"
on the cars. In the case of the yellow T-bird, it was a yellow stamp
on the rear window. The body was again metal and the chassis,
a chromed plastic. The wheels were standard, the tires, black and
the windows, clear, but now you needed to keep your eye on the wheels.
In 1996, this car could also be found with the 7-spoke and the 3-spoke
wheels. The date printed on the box is 1993 so don't let that confuse
you - box #12404.
During the spring of 1996, a green metallic T-bird was introduced in a "50's Favorites" five-pak. This car came with green tinted windows and three different wheel styles - 7-spoke, 5-spoke, and 3-spoke. The Hot Wheels logo was stamped in gold on the rear of the trunk. The package #15068 is dated 1995.
Update 03/00: The yellow and green models described above have each been found in FOUR wheel styles - standard, 3-spoke, 5-spoke, & 7-spoke. "Happy Hunting"
The stamped logo continues to appear on most of the H.W. T-bird models up to the present. It will appear in various spots on the car so its placement has to be watched when a new model comes out. This became very evident on the next single blister pack T-bird that Mattel came out with.
by A Line of Dot's
Regular line of Models from 1992 to present,
The Flame Thrower
The flames on all the cars are outlined in green - that doesn't change. What changes is the color of the flames. The models first appeared with what some call "brown" or "dark" flames but are actually a pink/orange flame or "fluorescent orange" that has been overlaid with a gold metallic paint. Later packages had cars with just the fl. orange flames - no gold metallic. The fl. orange color gradated from light to dark on the flames - with the light at the base of the flames and dark at the tips. My latest tip received on color - the last variation of the flame color is a solid fluorescent orange instead of the "fading" color that the others have.
The next variation to note on the cars is the number of flames on the trunk - either four or five. This variation seems to be found only on the pink/orange (fl. orange) flamed cars.
The third variation is the Hot Wheel logo
itself. The logo can be found in two different spots on various models
-either the rear window or the passenger siide rear panel. A few cars
will have the logo in both spots. The side logo is only found on
the pink/orange flamed cars and it is always pink/orange. The
gold logo is found on both the dark and the pink/orange flamed cars.
The cars with two logos are usually found with a yellow logo on the rear
window and the hot pink on the side.
There is still another variation that occurred for 1996, but this one is not on the car but the package. In the upper left hand corner, the word "NEW" is used on the earlier versions. Towards the end of production, the word was changed to "Coolest to Collect." If you count the package variation, there are a total of nine known variations. It follows that this later package version should have a four-flame model but none have been brought to my attention yet. If you should have one, let me know.
And you just thought the only difference was the color of the flames!
Now to add more to your confusion. This year, 1998, the Flame Thrower surfaced again. This time on the back of a truck hauler. Variations of this model have not surfaced yet so I can safely say that the car has solid pink/orange (fl. orange) flames with the side logo, clear windows and 3-spoke wheels. Package # is 65867-91. It has also been brought to my attention that this model was found in some 5-paks issued in 1997.
Update 2009 - When this article was originally written, I had only cataloged 8 variations including card variations. Since then, I've come up with 10 variations (without counting cards) with the most likely possibility of an 11th variation - a yellow logo with 5-flames.
Package #18767 and collector #685. Update - there is a variation without the black ouutline of the graphics
1999 update: The only Hot Wheel Thunderbird to be made this year was issued in a 5 car gift pack labeled 50's Cruisers. As a marketing ploy, this particular package was limited in quantity and collectors would snap up the box before it even hit the shelves thus making it difficult to find the box at all for the casual collector or those with limited time to search. All this attention was due to a motorcycle packaged within the box. During the course of the year, the 57 Tbird had two wheel colors to look for. Most packages were issued with the gold lace wheels however toward the end of the year, the model was showing up with silver lace wheels. The model itself is black with orange tint windows and stylized flames on hood and sides. Flames are white & yellow with red/orange outlines.
Next Month - Part VII - Mattel's Specials
To view the other articles in this series click below:
I'm always looking for more information on the Thunderbird model.
©1998-2009 Dot Lang