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Top 5 Hot Wheels McLaren Cars

Do you remember that video of Elon Musk taking delivery of his new McLaren F1 in 1999? He was under 30 then, which must have been a happy moment. If you want another inspiring story about McLaren's iconic machine, Jay Leno has one you'll like.
Top 5 Hot Wheels McLaren Cars 45 photos
Photo: Dragos Chitulescu
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I can't remember when I fell in love with the McLaren F1. But it's never vanished from my bucket list. Even if I may never afford one, I'd still be happy to take one for a drive around the block or, better yet, around the racetrack. That explains why some of the only Hot Wheels I'd never let go of are replicas of this '90s supercar.

As I was admiring them earlier today, I'm looking into the topic of Hot Wheels McLarens and sharing the knowledge with you, too. It all started in 1969 with the M6A racer that Ira Gilford designed. It was only available that year, but Mattel released multiple variations, most featuring Spectraflame paint jobs. These days, you'll have to pay hundreds of dollars to get just one iteration, so buying them all will be tricky at best.

In the past 50+ years, the diecast manufacturer has only developed 12 McLaren castings, but one never made it into stores. I chose the best five for a more detailed analysis, so here they come.

McLaren Mercedes MP4-13

Top 5 Hot Wheels McLaren Cars
Photo: eBay/user fluxmr2spyder
The McLaren Mercedes MP4-13 is truly a forgotten gem. Michael Kollins designed this casting for its 1998 Pro Racing World Champions debut. Only two iterations are available, one for each of the team's drivers that season: Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. They finished P1 and P3 in 1998, with Michael Schumacher getting second place with Ferrari.

The two collectibles were sold as part of the same package, and Mattel reportedly only made less than 10,000 units. I'd dare to say that these are two of the best Hot Wheels F1 cars ever, and it's almost shocking to see you can buy them for $30 to $60 today. The diecast manufacturer recreated the MP4-14 casting next, but then there was a long hiatus with no new McLaren castings.

McLaren F1 GTR

Top 5 Hot Wheels McLaren Cars
Photo: Dragos Chitulescu
Over a decade had gone by since the tiny Formula One car replicas, so fans of the British brand must have been excited to see the F1 GTR in 2010. Fraser Campbell designed the model, and it's certainly on my Top 10 favorite Hot Wheels castings of all time. That's because the only way to make an F1 better is to turn it into a race car. This model was off to a great start as part of the Speed Machines series, featuring a Metallic Silver and Orange color combo and CM6 wheels.

Three more similar iterations followed, and I'm a massive fan of the red and yellow design. In 2011, Mattel ditched the Co-Molded wheels in favor of something more basic for a Walmart-exclusive release. After two more less-than-exciting Speed Machines variations, the F1 GTR entered the Mainline series in 2017. I still have this and the following two models in my collection, as seen in the photo gallery. One of the best variations of this casting came out in 2019 as part of the Car Culture: Gulf series.

The blue and white livery looked sublime with the orange Real Riders Exotics wheels. Mattel copied this recipe for the 2021 Car Culture: British Horsepower series but used a lighter shade of the Gulf livery this time. In 2022, the F1 GTR took a stroll through the iD series, but some fans would rather have the NFT Garage iteration instead. There are 18 different releases of this car for a complete collection, and the most expensive ones will cost anywhere between $200 to $700.

McLaren P1

Top 5 Hot Wheels McLaren Cars
Photo: eBay/user martin_3877
Mattel's P1 came out five years after the F1 GTR. Ryu Asada designed this replica of the iconic hypercar, which debuted in the HW Workshop: HW Garage. Ten-spoke wheels were the go-to option for the first four variations before briefly changing to a five-spoke design in 2017. In all these years, Mattel has released only one Premium iteration of the P1.

I'm talking about the 2017 Car Culture: Cars & Donuts model in orange. It was disappointing, and if it weren't for the Real Riders wheels, it was less exciting than most Mainline designs. Currently, there are 19 variations of the P1, all of which are relatively inexpensive. But I don't think we've heard the last of it, and I wonder what a Super Treasure Hunt iteration would be like.

McLaren Senna

Top 5 Hot Wheels McLaren Cars
Photo: Dragos Chitulescu
Mattel credits Ryu Asada and Alvin Chan for designing the McLaren Senna casting, which debuted in the 2019 HW Exotics series. The second iteration arrived soon after, featuring an exciting McLaren Orange finish and PR5 wheels. If you're a big fan of Hot Wheels Zamacs, you're probably aware of the 2020 Nightburnerz iteration, which is slightly more expensive than the average Mainline model.

The Senna looked great in Spectraflame Burton Blue for the iD series, so you might need to pay as much as $90 for one this year. The only version of this casting I've held on to is the 2021 1/4 Mile Finals model in Volcano Yellow. It would have been the perfect color for the Premium Exotic Envy release, which looked rather dull in Dove Grey.

The 2022 McLaren Car Culture 2-Pack Senna had the same problem with its Abyss Black paint job. But Mattel finally got it right with the Hot Wheels: Rift Rally Collectors Edition earlier this year. Spectraflame Volcano Orange is the color I'd like to have on an exclusive supercar. Naturally, this is the most expensive Hot Wheels Senna, as prices can go as high as $275.

McLaren F1

Top 5 Hot Wheels McLaren Cars
Photo: Dragos Chitulescu
Mattel first attempted to release a replica of the F1 in 1995 but, for some reason, failed to do so. It took the company almost 26 years to get back on track, and I'm sure most Hot Wheels collectors were ecstatic about the 2021 HW Exotics of this vehicle. Even with a color like Metalflake Magnesium Silver, it was great to look at, but the best was yet to come.

There are six variations on the market, four of which are Mainline items. I like the orange one the most, and I've been thinking about the 2022 Car Culture: Jay Leno's Garage recently. The wildest version of the F1 so far has got to be the 2023 NFT Garage model in Spectraflame Silverstone Green, rolling around on 10-Spoke Modern Real Riders wheels.

It should be rarer than the other iterations, but prices can increase to over $200 in some cases. A new Premium release is coming soon, and we might have another Mainline F1 in 2024, so keep an eye out for that.
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About the author: Dragos Chitulescu
Dragos Chitulescu profile photo

The things Dragos enjoys the most in life are, in no particular order: cars, motorcycles, diecast cars, and drifting. He's seen (and driven) many vehicles since he started his writing career back in 2009, but his garage currently houses a 1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Turbo II and a 1999 Suzuki SV650-S.
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