Speed test, Hot Wheels vs. Matchbox

redlinederby Saturday, 4/26/2014
Site manager

When I tell people I collect Hot Wheels they always ask if I collect Matchbox too. While I consider myself a Hot Wheels guy, just like any other collector, there are Matchbox cars in my collection. Somewhere in history the battle was between Matchbox and Hot Wheels. It’s hard to say who won the true battle, but on the race track there is no contest. We put the two long time “rivals” to the test.

A classic battle

When people ask me what the difference is between Hot Wheels and Matchbox, I usually tell them realism. For as long as I can remember, Matchbox cars have been modeled more realistically than Hot Wheels. Matchbox cars are made more for looks than for trick tracks and performance. Any kid that tries to launch a Matchbox car through a loop-de-loop will find that out the hard way. Hot Wheels have always been about speed and racing.

However, in the interest of putting legend and myths to bed, I went out to prove the theory that Hot Wheels perform better on the track. Of course we’re talking about racing on the official Redline Derby race track. No loops. No jumps. Just a heads-up race. I found matching models of Hot Wheels and Matchbox, a VW Thing and an Audi R8, and let them fly.


A clear winner

As you can see, in both cases the Hot Wheels won by no less than one car length in each race. But why are the Hot Wheels faster? If I had guess I’d say the wheels and axles. Axles and wheels vary even between similar Hot Wheels models, but the difference between a Matchbox and a Hot Wheels is pretty big. The Matchbox axles are much looser and the wheels vary per model, certainly trying to achieve realism more than performance. A quick glance will also show that Matchbox cars are a little bigger than Hot Wheels. They’re not a consistent 1:64 scale.

The best of both worlds

I’ll be the first to say that Hot Wheels look great whether it be on the shelf or the track, but Matchbox cars are honestly one step closer to visual accuracy. So the challenge then becomes making a Matchbox car race track ready. You’ll certainly get some looks when you show up at your next derby with a speedster that can not only perform butlook really good.

Since we’ve already proven that the Audi R8 from Hot Wheels is quite a bit faster than the Matchbox counterpart, my goal is turn the Matchbox Audi into a speed demon that will come back to bite the Hot Wheels in the ass. I’ll do my best to document the process with photos and commentary. There’s no doubt the wheels and axles will be replace, probably some weight added…and who knows what else. I won’t stop tweaking until that car rolls better than the other…or until it’s proven that it just won’t be faster.

But for now, Hot Wheels wins. And I suppose since Mattel now owns both Hot Wheels and Matchbox, it’s safe to say Hot Wheels won the battle of history as well.


View member profile
tas43623 4/19/16

Anybody:  I only have hot wheel cars. Wheel base < 1.25 inches.

What's the wheel base for most matchbox cars?   The same?

  • It all depends on the car, but they are usually pretty close to the same as HW — 72_Chevy_C10

If you go back 10-15 years when Matchbox was owned by Tyco they made some formidable competitors.  My Super Fast America 70 El Camino has been hard to beat over the years.

My stock field is 216 cars, and the 216 are culled every 5-10 rallies. As of right now there is only one MB car in the field of 216. It's a Aston Martin convertible and it will win a heat every now and then, but never win the Knock Out race to advance into a final. It is fast enough to get out of the culling so far when I increase the speed of the field at large.

View member profile
Just_Will 5/6/18

I was reading the Hot Wheels page on Wikipedia. In the History section there is a sentence that cites this page as a reference. It is reference #2.

I thought it was pretty cool. Just wanted to pass it along.


  • Ha, neat! Funny that they used us as way to cite that Matchbox are more "real life" than Hot Wheels. — redlinederby

Hello all, this is my first post. i got into racing hot wheels and matchbox for something fun and inexpensive to do with my sons. 

this topic is of great interest to me as i really like the matchbox brand over hot wheels, so trying to find matchbox to beat my kids in our "fundernationals" has been a trick. i think we'll have to have a matchbox only race...

anyway, on the topic of MB vs HW, hot wheels usually wins. i have found an MB that for me atleast beats it's HW equivelant. i very recently purchased an MB 2018 porsche panamera and was able to also find a HW 2019 porshe panamera, both vehicles look and feel the same to me. just different wheels and paint. the HW appears to have OH5 Wheels. my first guess was, that as usuall, the hot wheels would win. so i put them to the test on our 6 lane speedway racing 6 times, once in each lane, starting with the outside lanes and working in. to my surprise the MB not only won, it won all six heats. a couple of them by more than a car link and a half.

anyone else have luck finding faster MB cars?

  • Check out MB Laser Wheels — Traction-Event
  • Matchbox '56 Ford Pickups can be fast--especially, in my experience, the Maine trucks from the 50 States series. And, like TE said, some Laser Wheels--but it's possible you'll get the trucks cheaper. — FOTF
to join the conversation or sign-up now