Ferrari 312P

The Ferrari 312P was one of only two Grand Prix cars to be produced as part of the 1973 Hot Wheels line up (the Porsche 917 was the other).  As early as 1971, all Hot Wheels cars were produced in Hong Kong.  For 1973, to further reduce production costs, the cars were painted in a series of solid enamel colors.  These paints masked the underlying metal so that plating and polishing of the car bodies was minimized.  Due to poor sales during the previous two years, 1973 production runs were smaller.  Hence, the 1973 models are quite scarce.  Since the enamel paint is very prone to chipping, these cars are especially difficult to find in good condition.

Click here to go to the 1970 Ferrari 312P page...

The 1973 release of the Ferrari 312P differs from the 1970-71 version in several ways.  Since the '73 cars are quite scarce and thus command a higher price, it is important to know how to tell them apart.  First, the '73 and later versions of the 312P do not have a small plastic windscreen.  This is usually the most obvious difference.  In addition, the rear tail light panel is unpainted on '73 cars, and the wheels are different.  All of these differences are summarized here.

All '73 Ferrari 312Ps came from the factory with three round #60 stickers.  These are similar but not identical to the stickers that were used on 1970-71 HK cars.

1973 enamel Ferrari 312Ps in red, yellow, fluorescent lime green, dark blue, light blue and fluorescent pink.

In 1973, Mattel was transitioning all Hot Wheels cars to permanently fixed wheels for child safety reasons.  The new "open hub" redline wheels could not be removed (and replaced!) like the earlier bearing and cap wheels.  Most '73 Ferrari 312Ps have open hub wheels on the front axle and large cap wheels in the rear.

Interestingly, the least common HK casting variation of the '70 Ferrari 312P - the version with raised feature lines - is relatively common among '73 cars.  The fluorescent pink enamel car below has raised lines and shows the two wheel types that were standard on a '73 Ferrari 312P.

A rare and stunning fluorescent pink enamel Ferrari 312P!

In 1974, the Ferrari 312P was included in the new Flying Colors line up.  The car was produced in red enamel with blue and white racing stripes, #30 numbers and Ferrari logos on the sides of the car.  The 1974 version of the Ferrari 312P has a metal base.  '74 cars also were typically painted over a white base coat, resulting in a brighter overall appearance.  The base coat was later omitted, probably to reduce production costs.  Most '74 cars had open hub wheels on both axles, but they also can be found with rear cap style wheels like the '73 cars.

The Flying Colors Ferrari 312P: '74 issue with white base coat (L) and '76 issue (R).

From the first issue in 1970 to the 1973 enamel cars to the '74 and '76 Flying Colors versions, the base of the Ferrari 312P evolved incrementally.  For 1973, the standard HK base was modified by the addition of a half circle of metal just inboard of the rear wheels (see the photo below).  The 1974 base differs in that a small hole was added just above the text box.  For 1976 production, a black plastic version of the '73 base was used.

HK Ferrari 312P bases (left to right): 1970, 1973, 1974, and 1976.

The Flying Colors Ferrari 312P was produced through at least 1977.  In 1976, the metal base was replaced with a black plastic base.  A version of the car was later produced with "blackwall" wheels.  These cars appeared in boxes in Japan and - curiously! - in 2-packs that were sold around 1982.

A Flying Colors 312P with rear cap wheels in the blister!

Ferrari 312P Color chart
dark blue
very hard to find
fluorescent lime green
very hard to find
lemon yellow
very hard to find
light blue
very hard to find
red very hard to find
fluorescent pink
very hard to find

red w/blue & white tampos ('74 metal base)
red w/blue & white tampos ('76 plastic base) hard to find

A rare find: a '73 red enamel Ferrari 312P in the blister!

Unfortunately, most '73 cars look a bit like this lemon yellow 312P, thanks
to the use of fragile enamel paint!


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