The Sizzlers cars came on the toy market in 1970 and had a built-in motor with a small, rechargeable battery. They were a Hot Wheels spin off and instantly became a hit. The cars can run on regular Hot Wheels tracks, but Mattel also created special race sets with multi-level spirals, loops and U-Turns to fully make use of the electric motor.
With the California/8 race set you could race side-by-side because it had two lanes. Later, Mattel introduced the black 'Fat Track', with three lanes and steep, banked curves. These wide lanes were designed to allow Sizzlers to run free. The Fat Track race sets included the 'Super Circuit', 'California 500', and 'Big O' sets, and accessories such as 'Lap Computer' (four car lap counter), the 'Scramble Start' (four-car starting gate), and the 'Race-Timer' (stop watch).
In 1970, they introduced six cars: Angelino M-70, Firebird Trans-Am, Ford Mark IV, Hot Head, Mustang Boss 302, Revvin' Heaven, 12 cars were made in 1971: Anteater, Backfire, Camaro Trans-Am, Cuda Trans-Am, Ferrari 512S, Hot Wings, Indy Eagle, Live Wire, March Formula 1, Sideburn, Spoil Sport, Straight Scoop, and 4 cars were made in 1972 (Co-Motion, Double Boiler, Flatout, Up Roar). In 1974, The 'Fat Daddy' Sizzlers were introduced. These had oversized bodies with big tires. Mattel paused production of the Sizzlers in 1974, and in 1976 the company developed Sizzlers II. In 1977 they introduced the 'Night Ridin' Sizzlers'. These cars had advanced headlights which could be turned on or off. Because of faded popularity (probably because of poor marketing), Mattel permanently stopped the production of Sizzlers cars in 1978.
Sizzlers are charged with the Juice Machine and Goose Pump, quad or twin battery chargers. Later, they introduced the the Power Pit, a plug-in charger which looked like a pitlane on a race track. Charging a Sizzler for 90 seconds gave it up to five minutes of running time.
It has been said that the 90-second charge time was 'the longest minute and a half in a kid's life' as they waited impatiently for the car to charge sufficiently to get back into the race.
The technology used in the Sizzlers spun off into the Hotline Trains, which ran on tracks similar to the regular Hot Wheels, and the Earthshakers construction vehicles. Both lines used the Sizzler Juice Machine or Power Pit to charge the vehicles.
See also: toycarcollector.com
What's your 'Hot Wheels Sizzlers' worth? Here are some recently sold items (USA).
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