Hot Wheels cars are legendary and iconic toys which is why World’s Smallest took notice. For 50 Years Hot Wheels has ignited the need for speed, imagination, and competitive spirit in boys worldwide. Super Impulse, in partnership with Mattel, introduced a special collection of Hot Wheels original sets from 1968 – in miniature!
The Super Impulse line features Hot Wheels’ most collectible cars, and the iconic orange color track sets, including mini connectors, anchor clamps, and accessories. In 1:18 scale, these incredible minis actually work! Sets can be combined to create unique super sets! They also offer a Hot Wheels Rally Case to carry the Hot Wheels cars collection! Each set includes a unique decorated Hot Wheels car that has the ability to zoom along on a tiny track.
Recently Alan Dorfman of Super Impulse discussed this line and more via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): Super Impulse makes some awesome items, so how did you find your way to the company?
Alan Dorfman (AD): Thank you! I had had some experience with making miniatures in the past, and the category is always popular. When my partners and I started this company, we realized that it was a great opportunity. We had the right relationships to acquire a few licenses, and we were able to build on that.
MM: World’s Smallest is a big success! How many toy models are in the line right now and what’s coming next?
AD: There are over 60 items between World’s Smallest and World’s Coolest (the latter has keychains). We have some great new items coming up – classics/retro and trend-forward items. I don’t want to tip our hand just yet, but I will say that we are extending our partnerships with Hasbro and Mattel with some very high-profile brands, along with some other new and well-known toy and entertainment companies.
MM: You recently came out with miniature Hot Wheels tracks and cars that really work! What were the challenges of designing such tiny toys?
AD: We really love Hot Wheels, and Mattel has been very supportive. The biggest challenge is the small size – we have no margin for error. To assure that the wheels fit onto the axels properly so they spin takes a high degree of precision – too much pressure and they don’t roll, not enough and they slip and slide. And we need be aware of the how the surfaces of the wheels and the track interact – at that small size, the contact area is really tiny. And like the full-size Hot Wheels, some types of cars will move on the tracks better and faster than others.
MM: How did you decide on which cars to include?
AD: We work closely with Mattel. There is a pool of specific styles of cars that we are able to license from them.
MM: What was it like to partner with Mattel on this—and other—projects?
AD: Mattel has been terrific to work with, very supportive of the product we do. I think they enjoy seeing their brands translated to miniature as much as everyone else. Their Consumer Products team, their Creative teams, their Brand teams, their International teams, and their management have really embraced us and allowed us to develop our version of their most important and iconic products. They even gave us an award at their annual summit last year – quite an honor!
MM: Hot Wheels just turned 50! Have you any memories of playing with them as a boy and why do you think they remain so beloved?
AD: I was a first-generation Hot Wheels kid. My brothers and I spent hours setting up the tracks by clamping them onto shelves and bed frames and running the tracks over our beds, across the floors, and into the hall. And when the Electronic Football came out, we couldn’t get enough of it. Even my dad liked to play Electronic Football with us. Once that “running back” (a red, electronic spec of light) broke loose, you’d be pressing that button as fast as you could to get to the goal line. Why so beloved? Because they’re very cool, and great fun! Everybody wants to see what Magic 8 Ball has in store for them.
MM: What experiences with Super Impulse and/or World’s Smallest fans have been most memorable to you and why?
AD: This is a really interesting time to be a toy manufacturer. Thanks to social and digital media, you can watch your fans open the package and experience the toys, actually, for the first time. We love to watch the unboxings – especially the blind box – where people know they are getting one of 11 different toys (including the mystery toy), but they don’t know which will come out of the box. We can watch online as they choose the box, remove and open the bag inside, and see what treasure is revealed. We can see exactly how the toys come out of the package, and what the reaction is. This is invaluable to us. My favorite is when the host gets the specific toy they are chasing.
MM: Overall, what are your biggest goals for the future of the company?
AD: The biggest goals for a company that makes miniatures? Sort of an oxymoron there! We have some very exciting new products that will be introduced to the trade in the next few months. Our continual goal is to get that WOW! out of people when they experience our product. It’s really unusual that we have as many fans of our products that are not kids – we seem to appeal to all ages. And our items are offered in a very wide, diverse retail base. We really want to continue growing our niches, developing new niches, but keeping all the lines connected for a coordinated, integrated range. We want consumers to recognize SI products as soon as they see them.
MM: Is there anything else that you would like to mention?
AD: We’ve had a lot of fun with our Tiny Arcade line – the miniature, fully functional line of video arcade games, with full game play – true to the full-size arcade classics. Watch for not only new titles within this range, but for our new line extensions. We’re doing stuff that has never been done before, with the best-known classic brands, all in toys that fit easily in your pocket.
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To learn more about World’s Smallest, visit the official website of Super Impulse.
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Meagan J. Meehan is a published author, poet, cartoonist, and produced playwright. She pens columns for the Great South Bay Magazine, Blasting News, and Entertainment Vine. She is also a stop-motion animator and an award-winning abstract artist. Meagan holds a BA in English Literature and a MA in Communication. She is also an animal advocate and a fledging toy and game designer.
Meagan is a contributing editor to Kidskintha writing on Toys, Games, Entertainment, and other topics that are happy and fun!