The other day, on the forums over at HotWheelsCollectors.com, a fellow collector was asking about this strange orange car they found in a Hot Wheels 9-car Gift Pack. That orange car in question was the Fast Fuse which has been a #Multi-Pack Exclusive for most of 2016, but has only had four releases in 12 years and hasn’t appeared on its own blister since its #First Edition as part of the #2004 First Editions (shown below).
As an #Unlicensed Hot Wheels casting, original inspiration may have been pulled from multiple sources. However, while many collectors think this casting is based off of the 1955 Lincoln Futura Concept, a more likely source of design and inspiration came from the GM Firebird III Concept Car. Since the Hot Wheels Fast Fuse was unlicensed, it obviously could have elements from either design or parts from another, so there is no perfect answer past talking to Hot Wheels designer Harald Belker about where he pulled his original inspiration. But if you had to narrow it down and assume, like most collectors tend to do, judging by solely the fin placement and unique body markings, the GM Firebird III Concept Car was a huge source of inspiration in the design of the Fast Fuse.
We do know that some “Hot Wheels touches” were applied in the design process based on a few things. Clearly, that #Blown Engine is a creative freedom taken by Harald as Hot Wheels designs have featured these since 1968. Next to the Hot Wheels rake, the blown engine has to be one of the more signature moves by the Hot Wheels design staff over the years. Also, since this was part of the infamous Hot 100 (as part of the 2004 First Editions), a good amount of cars in this series featured design guidelines to place them into one of several segments — ‘Tooned, Fatbax, Hardnoze, Blings and Crooze. As part of the #Crooze segment, the Fast Fuse had to have a back-end that was long, and flattened out towards the ground. Ultimately, this gave the casting a very missile-shaped design.
As one of the more underrated and underutilized Hot Wheels designs, the Fast Fuse deserves some love as its a pretty cool design. It was a casting that I had thought to collect several times but lack of releases prompted me not to do so. This #2004 First Edition is clearly the best of the four releases its had but given the right graphics treatment and some detail, this casting could be so much more. If you’re a fan, or if I managed to somehow make you a fan now, be sure to look out for the black wheel variation on the 2004 First Edition release. I had hoped to have mine (to show along side the standard released) in time for this article, but I have misplaced it in one of my many boxes of cars.