The original Hot Wheels were made by Elliot Handler. Hot Wheels were conceived to be more like “hot rod” (i. e. customized/modified or even caricaturized or fantasy cars, often with big rear tires, superchargers, flame paint-jobs, outlandish proportions, etc. ) cars, as compared to Matchbox cars which were generally small-scale models of production cars. “Sweet 16” There were sixteen castings released on May 18, 1968, eleven of them designed by Harry Bentley Bradley. The first one produced was a dark blue “Custom Camaro”. Bradley was from the car industry and had designed the body for the (full-sized) Dodge Deora concept car and the Custom Fleetside, (based on his own customized 1968 Chevrolet C-10 Fleetside).