By the time the set up was complete, you almost needed a machete to cut through the jungle vine-like mess of flimsy yellow plastic. Like the vibrant skin of a tree frog, the blue and red striping on the track should have been a sign that this wasn't a safe place for cars. The daredevil jumps. The near-vertical starting points. The multi-entry intersections with spinning speed boosters. They all meant inevitable steel-crunching crashes. And they were all trademarks of the childhood toy brand that any car enthusiast came to know and love: Hot Wheels. 

The brand was launched in 1968, when Mattel manufactured the first cars as direct competitors to Matchbox cars. Today, Mattel owns Tyco, the brand that created Matchbox cars. Guess we know who won that race, huh? Let's a trip down the yellow loop-de-loop road, where kids learned way before high school physics the lessons of kinetic energy, and count down The 50 Best Hot Wheels of All Time.

Related: The 50 Coolest Matchbox Cars

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