Date On Bottom Of Hot Wheels – What Does It Mean?

What year is my hot wheel from?

I’m sure we are part of many of the same social media groups and forums dedicated to our hobby. Lately, it seems that there has been a rather LARGE increase in misinformation regarding the date on the bottom of Hot Wheels. Some think that it’s the year the casting was produced. Others believe that it’s the year the copyright for the design was awarded. Let’s take a quick look and assign a proper answer to this often asked question.

Hot Wheels Heavyweights Base

Is it the manufacturing date?

The short and sweet answer is no. It is not the manufacturing date. If it were the manufacturing date, Hot Wheels would have to modify the tool every year that the casting was released and this does not happen.

How do I know when my car was made?

From 2008 on, Hot Wheels has introduced a system that we refer to as the ‘Base Code’. This is a 3 digit code that is found on the base of your car. The first character is a letter that represents the year of manufacture. The second and third characters are numbers which represent which week of the year the car was manufactured.

A List Of Base Codes

  • A = 2008
  • B = 2009
  • C = 2010
  • D = 2011
  • E = 2012
  • F = 2013
  • G = 2014
  • H = 2015
  • J = 2016
  • K = 2017
  • L = 2018
  • M = 2019
  • N = 2020
  • P = 2021

For example, if you have a base code that reads ‘D35’, that is a casting that was made the 35th week of 2011.  A base code reading ‘G42’ is a casting that was made the 42nd week of 2014. Pretty easy to remember.

So what does the year mean then?

This date is actually the copyright date. It is the year that the design was registered. 9 times out of 10, the first release of the design is 1 year after the copyright date. Again, please don’t interpret the date as the date of manufacture – that’s not what it is. For example, look at the base of this Volkswagen T1 Panel Bus:

Hot Wheels T`1 Panel Bus Base

The copyright date of the design is 2011 while the base code reads ‘F28’ – the 28th week of 2013. Castings released after 2008 are much easier to identify as compared to earlier releases.

Here’s another example of 2 recent releases. Both of these ’16 Dodge Charger SRTs show 2015 as the copyright date but the red one has a base code of ‘H42’ while the blue release shows ‘J32’.



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