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Whizzwheels Hotter Than Hot Wheels, Study Suggests
Results of a recent study obtained by CJ3B.info, indicate that Corgi Toys may have beaten Mattel's Hot Wheels at their own game, with the release of Whizzwheels nearly thirty years ago. The news has fueled speculation that the hotter-than-hot Whizzwheels were the reason behind Mattel's corporate takeover of the Corgi name some years later.

Husky and Corgi Jr. CJ-5The Willys CJ-5 Jeep marketed by Corgi, before and after it received the Whizzwheels treatment.

When Mattel introduced their Hot Wheels line of small diecast vehicles in 1969, their competitors scrambled to produce similar wheels. Matchbox answered with "Superfast Wheels", Dinky Toys (although not in direct competition size-wise) introduced "Speedwheels", and Corgi created "Whizzwheels".

All of the new types of wheels introduced following Hot Wheels' 1969 debut sound much faster than the "regular" or "standard" wheels of old, and the new study was undertaken to determine whether they actually measure up to their names. In the test conducted by researcher Jarek Skonieczny, the vehicles were released from the top of a ramp (13 3/4 inches long, and elevated 1 1/2 inches at one end) and allowed to travel unrestricted, on a level, smooth surface. The total distance travelled from the top of the ramp was then measured. This test was performed at least six times for each car and the results were very repeatable.

Test Results (Average Distance Travelled):

  Mattel Matchbox Corgi
Old wheels

 
Original Series
10 inches
Husky
25 inches
New wheels
Hot Wheels
37 inches
Superfast
38 inches
Whizz wheels
45 inches

Skonieczny's results are claimed to be accurate for one set of vehicles only. CJ3B.info has confirmed that for a true assessment, a larger pool of each type of vehicle should indeed be used. An independent test conducted by our staff, using a different set of vehicles, showed significantly different results: all three brands of new wheels travelled almost exactly the same distance. (See the Diecast Toy Wheels Test Video showing a Hot Wheels MB, Matchbox Superfast Pink Hot Rod, and Corgi Whizzwheels Red CJ-5 being tested.)

This lack of independent confirmation is what may be preventing Skonieczny's study from receiving exposure in the major media such as "60 Minutes".

Corgi Toys' marketing plan had always been to "outdo the competition, not just equal it," since 1956 when Mettoy Playcraft Ltd. introduced Corgi Toys to compete with Dinky Toys (see the Corgi Jeeps page). If and when Skonieczny's study is scientifically confirmed, his results may indicate that, with Jeeps at least, Whizzwheels fulfilled the Corgi strategy.

Photo below (courtesy Jarek Skonieczny) shows the test facility, and the lineup of test vehicles (left to right): Matchbox original and Superfast CJ-5, Corgi original and Whizzwheels CJ-5, and Hot Wheels CJ-7.

Wheel test ramp

Thanks to Jarek for permitting us to publish his findings. -- Derek Redmond


See also Jeeps From Corgi Toys, the Matchbox Jeep Story and Classic Hot Wheels Jeeps.

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Last updated 19 August 1998 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
http://cj3b.info/Toys/CorgiWheels.html
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond