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What Is The Difference Between Matchbox Cars And Hot Wheels Cars? (Pinned Down)

What Is The Difference Between Matchbox Cars And Hot Wheels Cars? (Pinned Down)

We all have grown up collecting vehicles of both brands, and interestingly enough, some of us still buy them for our kids or to satisfy our inner child. However, the argument over which one is better will never stop. In this article, we are going to deep dive into the differences between Matchbox and Hot Wheels. 

They’re both mini-vehicles, but they’re quite different and on so many levels. Matchbox vehicles have been sold in more than three billion units. The number increases to four billion units for Hot Wheels. 

The greatest difference is that the Matchbox cars have a simple concept and give you a more realistic look. Hot Wheels have more creative and fictional proportions. They’re appealing to a different group of car enthusiasts. While some collectors buy both brands. 

The companies that are currently manufacturing both the lines have the same parent company, Mattel. 

Here’s a video of Hot Wheels and Matchbox tournament:

Hot Wheels VS. Matchbox

Throughout the article, I’m going to share some interesting facts about both car lines. There will also be a side-by-side comparison of Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars.

Let’s get into it… 

Matchbox Or Hot Wheels – Who Started First?

If you keep the owner company aside, the first Matchbox vehicle was manufactured in 1952. Since the students were not allowed to take toys that didn’t fit in matchboxes, these mini cars were designed to fit. Whereas the Hot Wheels came into the business in 1968, which was way later than the Matchbox. 

Lesney, the company that made the first Matchbox car, also produced huge models of cars and wagons.

Then they started manufacturing these cars by cooperating with real manufacturers. This might be the reason why these toy cars look realistic. 

Did Hot Wheels Buy Matchbox?

Did Hot Wheels Buy Matchbox?
Did Hot Wheels Buy Matchbox?

If you’ve ever wondered whether Hot Wheels has bought Matchbox, you’ve got it covered. Hot Wheels and Matchbox both were great competitors in the ’70s and ’80s. However, there was an economic crisis faced by Matchbox, therefore Lesney went bankrupt in the early ’80s. 

This was the time when Tyco bought Matchbox. Mattel – the owner of the company which produces Hot Wheels – bought Tyco in 1997. You can say both companies now work under Mattel. 

The countries of origin of both companies were also different. Under Lesney, Matchbox cars were first manufactured in the UK. As for Hot Wheels, it was started in the U.S.

Now, the manufacturing country of both the lines is the U.S. Though, you’ll find a huge difference in the quality of wheels as well as in paint of old Matchbox models and the latest ones manufactured under Mattel. 

Why Do Hot Wheels Does Not Have Mirrors? 

Why do Hot Wheels Does Not Have Mirrors?
Not all Hot Wheels Have Mirrors

Did you ever notice that most Hot Wheels don’t have mirrors on them, whereas Matchbox does? If not, I’d advise going through your collection. What could be the reason for this? 

There is no official statement from the company. It’s not that it’s difficult to cast mirrors in some models. If it was, then the same models of the Matchbox wouldn’t come with mirrors. 

Track For Hot Wheels And Matchbox

Matchbox vehicles of the same model as Hot Wheels would work great on the tracks and you wouldn’t need to buy different track packs. Especially the latest produced Matchbox won’t make trouble on the Hot Wheels tracks. If you have old models from back in the 80s, they’re too wide to fit on the track. 

Matchbox Vs. Hot Wheels – Price And Quality Comparison

Hot Wheels Matchbox 
Origin Country and Company Mattel is the U.S based company that manufactures these vehicles U.K based company Lesney started this line 
Origin Year19681952
PriceEconomical Economical 
FeelThese vehicles give a more metallic feel These vehicles give a more plastic feel 
VarietyYou see more variety every year in terms of modelsYou’re unlikely to see more variety being introduced every year 
LookThey’re more on the fantasy side These vehicles are realistic and look similar to the original cars 
Table compares Hot Wheels And Matchbox

Why You Should Collect Matchbox Or Hot Wheels Cars?

Why You Should Collect Matchbox Or Hot Wheels Cars?
Mini-sized Cars

Here are some of the reasons why you should collect these vehicles:

  • With both vehicle lines, you can purchase models of the cars that you couldn’t otherwise buy.
  • As compared to other expensive mini car lines, these two are more economical. 
  • Looking at your collection brings all your childhood memories back. 


Both the vehicle lines have a huge fan base. Some people get attracted to better proportions of Hot Wheels, while some prefer Matchbox due to its diverse range. 

Both products come in open-window packaging so you can see what you are going to buy. Despite the fact that they rarely come with individual packaging, you get a variety of models when you purchase a pack. 

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