Orange track over the years

redlinederby Monday, 10/19/2020
Site manager

I'm trying to do some organizing in the Redline Derby offices and that included going through all the track I've managed to amass over the past decade or so. It was a little more than I expected.

Sadly, I don't have any of the track I had from when I was a kid...although that's not surprising. I didn't have a ton anyway, and what I did have was well-loved and wouldn't have survived this long. Any track prior to probably 1978 I just wouldn't have had anyway and I'm not a vintage collector. So my "collecting" of track started around 2009 when I started racing and building tracks.

An evolution in plastic

Even though I've only been buying track for 11 years, the different styles of track sold over that time is pretty amazing. Seeing the evolution as Mattel no doubt tries to reduce costs and innovate is fascinating.

The photo above shows oldest to newest, or pretty close anyway. The far-left track are the 20" high wall segments you could get at Toys R Us for $1 each. They used the classic tongue connectors and thus often had a hard time staying together. Needless to say, I bought a few everytime I went to Toys R Us and, of course, I thought that well would never run dry...whoops...

The next stack is a little shorter at 18" and was the first time (I believe) they produced track that had the pegged connectors. They didn't have the button, just a little peg that would slide into the hole. The connectors were very short and hard to remove...but I guess the point was you'd put them in and never take them out.

The third group is my most hated: the arrow track. These were 12" segments sold in bag packs like you see now. They had the same one-peg connector as the 18" track, but the plastic was thinner and the walls a lot shorter. Plus, you had arrows cut out of the middle, which I don't think anyone liked. The only advantage these had was that they were rather flexible so they could bend to make great hills and valleys.

After that we have the "now" track with the button connectors. I still don't consider myself a fan of the button but I get it, and frankly, it's better than the one-peg connectors the generation prior. This the track we all probably have a ton of, sold on the pegs and packs just about everywhere.

The far right shows the latest track style which is really just super-long at 36", but it's the same style and build as all the other button track. This photo really shows you how much length you're getting per segement compared to the others. Longer segments means less buttons per run, which (should) mean fewer issues when rolling cars.

All the track in the photo totals up to about 175-feet, which surprised me. And that doesn't include the 100-feet of seamless rolled track in my drag strip. On one hand, I know I don't need anymore track (and probably never will) but on the other hand, when I see some, I usually buy it. Curse this hobby.

Share your track stash

What other types/styles of Hot Wheels orange track do you have? Share a photo and tell the story. I know I've seen red/white/blue versions, as well as black and a few other colors. 



It is interesting!

View member profile
MDG_Racing 10/20/20

Curious as to what issues Track Builder connectors cause? I've yet to see a casting that has a chassis that low as to actually rub the "button". Playing with Hot Wheels since 1968 I'd have to say that with the invention of the newest Track Builder style connectors, that track play has never been better or easier. No more tape because the purple connectors would slide apart. Talk about a pain. Constantly sliding the track back together. The ridged bumpy white connectors that would literally get stuck! Urgh. Short orange 2 dots are great( just before Track Builder) came out. But twisting the sides to pop them out wasn't easy. So bravo Mattel designers for the best track connections ever. Only took 50 years to figure it out. :)

  • I guess for me the button is part aesthetics and part just one more thing for a car to hit or scrape. But you're right though, I've had no issues with it to speak of...still waiting for that one car that doesn't have clearance. — redlinederby
to join the conversation or sign-up now