1973

This year’s line provides collectors with some of the hardest Hot Wheels cars to find. The average price for a 1973 issue is higher than for any other year. Included are two of the rarest models: the Snake and Mongoose funny-car dragsters. There were only three new castings: Double Header, Superfine Turbine and Sweet 16. All 1973 issues were sold either on a dark blue blistercard depicting the P-917, Superfine Turbine, and Sweet 16 on two pieces of track, or on a plastic bag which holds two cars and has a dark blue header card on top which says “2-Pak.” Both packs say “Race ’em! Collect ’em!”

In an effort to reduce vehicle cost, Mattel switched from the more expensive spectraflame-paint schemes to enamels and took out extras found in earlier models. All 1973 models were only issued in enamel colors. None had tampos (they would first appear in 1974). Three of the cars did have stick-on labels (Snake, Mongoose, and Police Cruiser).

Body colors offered were dark blue, fluorescent lime green, fluorescent pink, dark green, lemon yellow, light blue, light green, orange, plum, red and yellow. Not all models have been found in all colors. If a particular color has not been located, that color has been omitted from the listing but may be added later. Interior colors varied. One oddity is the Mongoose funny car. Even though the full-size dragster (as well as the 1970 and 1971 Hot Wheels models) was based on the Plymouth Duster, the 1973 Mongoose was based on the Plymouth Barracuda. This was the same casting used for the Snake models. Mattel even gave the 1973 Mongoose a different stock number (6970). However, since both models were based on the Snake casting, the stock number on the underside of the roof is the same as the Snake model (6969). The reason Mattel used the Snake casting for the 1973 Mongoose is unknown.

Alive ’55 – 70mm – 1973
Based on a 1955 Chevy Nomad station wagon, this Hong Kong made model has a metal base, lift-up hood, blue windows, plastic interior (assorted colors), and rsw.
Similar castings: Classic Nomad (1970), ’55 Nomad (1991), Classic Nomad (1993),

Buzz Off – 72mm – 1973
This concept car has a metal base, swing-up rear engine cover, blue windows, plastic interior (assorted colors), and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Similar casting: Tri Baby (1970)

Double Header – 79mm – 1973
This concept car has a metal base, two engines (one on each side), blue windows, plastic interior (assorted colors), and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Note: This model, one of only three new castings for 1973, was designed by Paul Tam and Larry Wood. This was the only year it was used.

Double Vision – 75mm – 1973
This concept car, originally called the Mantis, was designed by Ira Gilford and Howard Rees. The Mantis was issued with an exposed engine in back, but except for a fluorescent green version, no Double Visions were issued that way. This model has a metal base, two blue-tinted movable plastic canopies, plastic interior (assorted colors), and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Similar castings: Mantis (1970), Speed Seeker (1984), Speed Machine (1996)

Dune Daddy – 60mm – 1973
Designed by Tom Daniel, this concept dune buggy was originally called the Sand Crab. It has a metal base and roll bar, blue windshield, plastic interior (white, tan, dark brown, black), and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Similar casting: Sand Crab (1970)

Ferrari 312P – 70mm – 1973
This race car model has a metal base, lift-up rear engine cover, plastic interior (assorted colors), and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Similar casting: Ferrari 312P (1970)

Hiway Robber – 70mm – 1973
This Hong Kong made concept car designed by Larry Wood has a metal base, blue windshield, plastic interior (assorted colors), and rsw.
Similar casting: The Hood (1971)

Ice “T” – 70mm – 1973
Based on Tom Daniel’s show car, this Hong Kong made model has a metal base, white plastic roof with “Ice T” imprinted, exposed metal engine, black plastic interior, and rsw.
Similar casting: Ice “T” (1971)

Mercedes-Benz 280SL – 68mm – 1973
This Hong Kong made model has a metal base, lift-up hood, blue windows, plastic interior (assorted colors), and rsw.
Similar casting: Mercedes-Benz 280SL (1969)

Mercedes-Benz C-111 – 75mm – 1973
This Hong Kong made model has a metal base, gull-wing opening doors, blue windshield, plastic interior (assorted colors), and rsw.
Similar casting: Mercedes-Benz C-111 (1972)
Note: The 1976 model with chrome base may be a prototype. Only fifteen have been reported.

Mongoose – 75mm – 1973
Based on Tom McEwen’s Plymouth Barracuda funny car, this model features a metal base, lift-up body, stickers, black plastic interior, and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Similar castings: Snake (1970), Snake 2 (1971), Top Eliminator (1974), Snake (1974), Snake (1974), ’70 Plymouth Barracuda Funny Car (1997)
Note: Of all vehicles sold in blisterpack, the 1973 Mongoose is one of the two most difficult to find (along with the 1973 Snake). This is the only time the Mongoose was issued without windows. The best way to identify a 1973 Mongoose is to lift up the body and look for the number 6969 on the roof’s underside.

Odd Job – 72mm – 1973
This Hong Kong made concept car was modeled after the Mutt Mobile. It has a metal base, exposed engine, black plastic interior, and rsw.
Similar casting: Mutt Mobile (1971), Mutt Mobile (1994)

Paddy Wagon – 64mm – 1973
This show car model has a metal base, exposed engine, “Police” and “3” imprinted in gold on a dark blue roof, metal interior, and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Note: Paddy Wagon (along with Red Baron) is the least expensive 1973 model. Since it was issued in the USA for ten years, many collectors don’t care which version they have.
Similar castings: Paddy Wagon (1970), Paddy Wagon (1993)

Police Cruiser – 77mm – 1973
This Olds 442 muscle car version of a police car has a metal base, opening engine cover, blue windows, stickers on the sides with a badge and “Police”, red plastic light on top, police sirens cast on roof, black plastic interior, and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Note: This is one of only three 1973 cars to come with stickers, the other two being the Snake and Mongoose.
Similar castings: Olds 442 (1971), Chief’s Special (1975), Maxi Taxi (1976), Army Staff Car (1976)

Porsche 917 – 68mm – 1973
This Hong Kong made race car model has a metal base, opening engine cover, blue windows, black plastic interior, and rsw.
Similar casting: Porsche 917 (1970)

Prowler – 65mm – 1973
Based on the Lil Coffin show car, this Hong Kong made model has a metal base, exposed chrome plastic engine, blue windshield, plastic interior (assorted colors), and rsw.
Similar castings: The Demon (1970), The Demon (1993)

Red Baron – 55mm – 1973
This Hong Kong made show car has a metal base, exposed engine, sharp point atop a metal helmet, black plastic interior, and rsw.
Note: Unlike the original, the 1973 version does not have the iron cross on the helmet’s side. The 1974 version is missing both the cross and the helmet’s sharp point. The Red Baron (along with Paddy Wagon) is the least expensive of the 1973 models. This vehicle was issued in the USA for ten years.
Similar castings: Red Baron (1970), Red Baron (1993)

Sand Witch – 65mm – 1973
This concept convertible sports car has a metal base, lift-up hood on a rear engine, blue windshield, black plastic interior, and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Similar casting: Jack “Rabbit” Special (1970)

Show-Off® – 75mm – 1973
This customized Dodge Challenger has a metal base, exposed engine, blue windows, plastic interior (assorted colors), and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Similar casting: Bye-Focal (1971)

Snake – 75mm – 1973
Based on Don Prudhomme’s Plymouth Barracuda funny car, this Hong Kong made model has a metal base, lift-up body, stickers, black plastic interior, and rsw.
Similar castings: Snake (1970), Snake 2 (1971), Top Eliminator (1974), Snake (1974), ’70 Plymouth Barracuda Funny Car (1997)
Note: Of all vehicles sold in blisterpack, the 1973 Snake is one of the two most difficult to find (along with 1973 Mongoose). This is the only time the Snake was issued without windows. The best way to identify a 1973 Snake is to lift up the body and look for the number 6969 on the roof’s underside.

Street Snorter – 66mm – 1973
This customized Ford Maverick has an unpainted metal base, lift-up hood, blue windows, plastic interior (assorted colors), and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Note: Unlike the 1970 Mighty Maverick, the 1973 Street Snorter and all later castings do not come with the black plastic rear spoiler.
Similar castings: Mighty Maverick (1970), Mighty Maverick (1975)

Superfine Turbine – 58mm – 1973
Designed by Larry Wood, this Hong Kong made concept car has a metal base, exposed metal engine, black plastic interior, and rsw.
Note: This casting was used only in 1973.
Similar casting: Superfine Turbine 2010

Sweet 16 – 76mm – 1973
This Hong Kong made concept car was designed by Paul Tam. It has a metal base, exposed engine, opening trunk, black plastic interior, and rsw. Sweet 16 II was tooled in 1997.

Xploder – 67mm – 1973
Based on the American Motors experimental car AMX/2, this model has a metal base, two black plastic pop-up engine covers, blue windows, black plastic interior, and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Similar castings: AMX/2 (1971), Warpath (1975), Redliner (1985), Road Torch (1987)

Shell Promos
In 1973, Mattel made some special models for a nationwide Shell gasoline-dealer promotion. Ten models were issued in seven colors. They were packed in small plastic bags with dark blue cardboard tops showing both the Shell emblem and the Hot Wheels logo. All ten were listed on the back. Mattel used several cost-cutting measures to create these cars. All were made from previous castings.
Note: The second price is for a mint car in an unopened bag. Some have been found on a 1973 blistercard and are worth about four times the price of a mint model.

Bugeye – 74mm – 1973
Designed by Larry Wood, this concept car has a metal base, lift-up rear hood to expose the engine, blue windows, black plastic interior, and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Similar casting: Bugeye (1971)

Ferrari 512P – 70mm – 1973
This race car has a metal base, lift-up hood over the rear engine, opening cockpit cover, blue windshield, black plastic interior, and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Similar casting: Ferrari 512S (1972)

Jet Threat® – 81mm – 1973
This Hong Kong made concept car was designed by Larry Wood. It has a metal base, blue windshield, painted metal interior (same color as car), and rsw.
Note: Unlike the 1971 Jet Threat, the cover doesn’t open.
Similar castings: Jet Threat (1971), Jet Threat 2 (1976)

Peepin’ Bomb – 75mm – 1973
Designed by Howard Rees, this convertible concept car has a metal base, exposed metal engine, blue windshield, black plastic interior, and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Note: Unlike the 1970 Peepin’ Bomb, this version doesn’t have retractable headlight covers.
Similar casting: Peepin’ Bomb (1970)

Rocket-Bye-Baby – 80mm – 1973
Designed by Bob Lovejoy, this concept car has a metal base, metal rocket on the roof, black plastic interior, no tailpipes or engine covers, blue windshield, and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Similar casting: Rocket-Bye-Baby (1971)

Short Order – 70mm – 1973
This Hong Kong made model is based on a 1950’s Ford pickup. Designed by Howard Rees, it has a metal base, exposed metal engine, shortened pickup bed, orange plastic tail gate, blue windows, black plastic interior, and rsw.
Similar casting: Short Order (1971)

Splittin’ Image – 75mm – 1973
This Hong Kong made concept car was designed by Ira Gilford. It has a metal base, chrome plastic engine, plastic interior, dark blue windows, and rsw.
Similar casting: Splittin’ Image (1969), Splittin’ Image (1993)

Strip Teaser – 79mm – 1973
Designed by Larry Wood, this concept car has a metal base, exposed metal engine, lift-up top to the driver’s compartment, black plastic interior, and rsw. Made in Hong Kong.
Similar casting: Strip Teaser (1971)

Swingin’ Wing – 83mm – 1973
Designed by Ira Gilford, this concept car has a metal base, dark blue windows, plastic interior, and rsw. Hong Kong.
Note: Unlike the 1970 version, this model had no plastic wing.
Similar casting: Swingin’ Wing (1970)

TwinMill® – 72mm – 1973
This Hong Kong made concept car was designed by Ira Gilford. It has a metal base, two chrome plastic engines, black plastic interior, dark blue windows, and rsw.
Similar castings: TwinMill (1969), TwinMill II (1976), TwinMill (1993)