Hot Wheels Q&A

Question & Answer with Hot Wheels Designer, Eric Han

Hey Eric! Thanks for agreeing to do Orange Track Diecast’s FIRST #Hot Wheels Q&A! I’ve known you for a few years now, and its great to see how far you’ve come. You’re the guy behind the Hot Wheels Display Case and now — I think — three castings: ’15 Ford Mustang GT Convertible, Yondu and Gruppo x24. You also work on the track & playsets team, so…

Brad: Let’s get the obvious out of the way. What is your job title at Hot Wheels?
Eric: I am a Sr. Designer – Track & Playsets.

Orange Track Diecast

Hot Wheels Designer Eric Han signing autographs at the 31st Annual Hot Wheels Collectors Convention in Los Angeles (October 2017)

Brad: How long have you been at Mattel?
Eric: Little over 5 years. 2 years at Fisher-Price in NY and little over 3 years with Hot Wheels.

Brad: What are some of the playsets you’ve designed, or have had a hand in designing?
Eric: I’ve had my hands in pretty much everything the track & playsets team created (Track builder, Hot Wheels City, Action Motorized sets, ECL which are exclusive products made for outside of US, and some exclusive items). A few recent products are Ultimate Garages and HW City Sets that have a nemesis (shark, octopus, spiders, etc).

Brad: What is your favorite all-time Hot Wheels playset?
Eric: I remember having a Sto & Go set when I was very little. I don’t remember which one it was but to me it was the most awesomest thing ever to me as I could drive my little collection of cars around in it. I probably threw a massive tantrum at a toystore and got it, maybe that’s why I kept it for so long, haha.

Brad: Any chance of adult collectible playsets or dioramas? Perhaps a modular parking garage?
Eric: I love the idea, and now that I’ve talked and met with many collectors, I know there are interests. I am always looking for the right time and opportunity to pitch/design sets for collectors and do have a few concepts in the works. Going to production is TBD as it takes a bit more strategy planning and defining markets at the moment, but if we do I’ll personally tell you first!

Brad: I’ve noticed Yondu and Gruppo x24 both have an “aero roof strake”. Could this be an Eric Han signature design element? Can we expect to see it on any of your designs in the future?
Eric:  “aero roof strake” I’ve always been a fan of it since first time seeing it on Le Mans cars, but I don’t think it will live on as a personal signature element because I’m all over the place when I sketch, lol. I’d love to bring it back on other designs definitely but only if it adds to styling or functional aspects to it.

Orange Track Diecast

Two Hot Wheels castings designed by Hot Wheels Designer Eric Han: Yondu (character car and 2019 New Model Gruppo x24

Brad: What was the inspiration behind the Gruppo x24?
Eric: The Gruppo was mix of bunch- I wanted to create a car that works awesome with boosters on tracksets and look fast sitting pretty. Design inspiration came from Le Mans and classic IMSA race cars. I kept side surfaces mostly flat and wide like the Rothmans Porsche 962 (to work best with side boosters) and the aero roof strake like Audi R11 (for overhead boosters), also because it looks awesome, haha.

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Side-by-side comparison of the Hot Wheels Porsche 962 (Car Culture / Race Day) and the Gruppo x24 (Mainline / X-Raycers)

Brad: What requirements do you have for a car that is to be a “track star”?
Eric: There are several tests Hot Wheels completes in order to categorize new diecast designs. A few test examples for cars to be a track star are it needs to clear 360˚ loops without dragging front or rear, has to turn on bends/curves without disruption of any kind (like rubbing, etc), works best with boosters and manual launchers. 

Brad: What was your favorite Hot Wheels car as a kid?
Eric: I didn’t have a lot of cars, or one favorite car, but I had a few muscle or square body cars I played with, a lot. I think it was because I used to draw my own cars and square cars were the easiest to copy, lol.

Brad: Will we see the Hot Wheels Display Case for 2019? If so, will it come with a different car and/or in a different color?
Eric: YES — possibly 2020 as well if the momentum is still strong — new color on display case is TBD, but you can expect a different car instead of the Silverado and in just as good of quality :]

Orange Track Diecast

Three of the pieces designed by Hot Wheels Designer Eric Han: Yondu (character car), Gruppo x24 and the Hot Wheels Display Case

Brad: Speaking of the Hot Wheels Display Case, I noticed on the prototype design they shelves were originally suppose to extend out, but on the final product they became fixed. Why was this change made?
Eric: Originally I wanted the shelves removable because if someone had taller/larger custom builds or wanted to keep cars in blister I wanted the case to accommodate them. Also, during development we found shelves can potentially bend/sag over time with extra wiggle room on rails where the shelves rest on, and could have bullet-proofed this possibility with other materials or sizes but that was becoming very challenging to keep at target cost. For durability and longevity we decided to fix them in place at the last minute.

Brad: Lastly, since I know you’re a foodie. Whats one place another “foodie” collector has to try the next time they are in Los Angeles?”
Eric: Oh man there are so many…but I would recommend KBBQ at Quarters in Korea Town, after that walk yourself over to Bumsan Milk Bar for some ice cream with custom made cones.  

Thats it! Thank you to Hot Wheels Senior Designer, Eric Han for his awesome insight into the world of Hot Wheels design — not just cars, but on playsets and the display case as well! Eric’s latest design, Gruppo x24 will be featured in a #Showcase soon, so make sure you look out for that! If you are looking for that Hot Wheels Display Case that Eric designed, you can get them now on Amazon!

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Categories: Hot Wheels Q&A

4 replies »

  1. Great insight Brad and Eric! Really enjoyed reading this especially the part about the inspiration of the cars! Would love to see more!

    • I wonder of Eric worked at Fisher Price in East Aurora, New York….If so I wonder if he was there the same time I worked there!

  2. So cool! I normally might not give the 2 cars much consideration but knowing a little history now, would love to have them rolling around on my desk! Thanks for this guys!

  3. What’s up with the 50th cases, I just got 2 from Amazon last week, and now the shelves are a solid light gray color. So the shelf lip now cuts off part of the side view of each wheel. The orginal translucent shelf allow some the wheel to somewhat shown through.

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