It’s good to have a hobby during downtime. Theodore “Ted” Gray’s hobby is documenting the early and often obscure history of Hot Wheels products. And his latest book, published in 2020, is just the thing Redline Hot Wheels enthusiasts needed last year. For that, and all of his other endeavors to preserve history in miniature, Ted Gray is an Inductee in the Model Car Hall of Fame for 2020.
Gray is probably best known for his Online Redline Guide, perhaps the most authoritative catalog of the first generation of Hot Wheels vehicles, track, and accessories. His was one of the first sites to document the earliest models through 1977, when the Blackwall era began.
Gray also has an affinity for turbine-powered cars, so he has a special section devoted to such models, including all lf them up to modern times. The Superfine Turbine is one of the rarest cars of all time, produced only for the 1973 line. Gray owns the original blueprints for the model as well as the larger scale wood prototype from which the 1/64 molds were derived.
There are numerous books documenting the first decade of Hot Wheels cars, but no one had tackled the CIPSA line of toys in that form. Gray’s knowledge of CIPSA cars, which were Hot Wheels castings licensed for production in Mexico, is unsurpassed. So this past year he published Los Autenticos, a definitive guide to Hot Wheels from South of the Border. (CIPSA produced several other Mattel toy lines until their factory was destroyed in a fire in the mid-1970s.) In fact, he wrote two editions of the book, in English and in Spanish, so collect them all!
With the earliest Hot Wheels now over a half-century old, collectors should be grateful to the work historians like Ted Gray have put in over the years. For his part in preserving this history, he gets to be immortalized in the Model Car Hall of Fame.