In 1974, Mattel spiced up the Hot Wheels line up by using for the first time a new technique for painting multi-color designs on the cars.  The technique was called "tampo" painting, and it basically consisted of using a soft roller to apply the paint to the car.  Most of the Flying Colors cars were produced in a single enamel color, although several cars appeared in second alternate color, all of which are fairly rare.

Four of the cars that appeared in the 1969-70 Grand Prix Series were reprised in 1974 as Flying Colors cars.  They were the Ferrari 312P, Porsche 917, Chaparral 2G and the Brabham Repco F1.  The Chaparral and Brabham Repco were renamed the Winnipeg and RASH 1, respectively.

The Winnipeg is a nice re-issue of the Chaparral.  It was painted in yellow enamel with blue and orange tampos.  The plastic spoiler was re-created in orange to match the color scheme of the car.  Original Winnipeg spoilers are scarce and reproductions abound.  As with most Flying Colors cars, the Winnipeg usually has non-removable open hub wheels.  However, a few Winnipegs have been found with cap style wheels.

A pair of 1974 Flying Colors Winnipegs with original orange spoiler.

The RASH 1 is the Flying Colors version of the Brabham Repco F1.  The RASH 1 was produced in three different colors: green, light green and dark blue.  Green is the most common color for the RASH 1, and light green is a bit harder to find.  Dark blue is the rare alternate color.  A few very rare white interior RASH 1s have been found.

The RASH 1 in light green, green and dark blue.

The Flying Colors Ferrari 312P 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 has a metal base; later versions have a black plastic base.  Most of these cars had open hub wheels all around, but they also can be found with rear cap style wheels.  A blackwall version of the Flying Colors 312P has been seen.  These cars appeared in boxes in Japan and - curiously! - in 2-packs that were sold around 1982.

Flying Colors Ferrari 312P

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

A blackwall Ferrari 312P and Japanese box.

There were several versions of the Flying Colors Porsche 917 produced between 1974 and 1977.  In it's first iteration, the 917 was painted in orange enamel with yellow, red and magenta tampos.  This car had a metal base, and the word "Porsche" is included in the painted stripes.  Later versions (c. 1976) had a black plastic base.  At some point during 1975, Mattel changed the name of this car to "P-917", presumably to circumvent a licensing issue.  Most plastic base cars have "P-917" in the tampos, rather than "Porsche".  Metal base cars with "P-917" in the tampos are rare, as are plastic base cars with "Porsche".  An alternative color Porsche 917 was painted in red enamel with yellow, orange and magenta tampos.  In 1976, a chrome P-917 was issued as part of the Super Chromes series.  This car is quite hard to find.  A blackwall version of the P-917 appeared in 1977-78 and can be found both in Italian Mebetoys boxes and on Flying Colors cards.  Of course, the Porsche 917 was one of the cars featured on the original Flying Colors blister cards and carrying cases.

Orange and red Porsche 917s on the left, orange and chrome P-917s on the right.

Rare birds: alternate red Porsche 917 (L) and P-917 (R).

The Super Chromes P-917

An Italian Mebetoys boxed P-917 with blackwall tires.

Fans of the Ferrari 312P and the Porsche 917 also love the 1974 Double Dare track set.  A simple downhill race set with a finish gate, the Double Dare set featured the Flying Colors 312P and 917.  The set is quite hard to find, especially with the original cars.  As an added bonus, the side of the box features photos of all the 1974 Flying Colors cars, including a few prototypes.

The Double Dare track set.

Several other race cars that debuted in the Flying Colors line up are popular among Grand Prix collectors.  These cars include the following:

El Rey Special (1974)
This car was produced in four different colors; blue and light blue are rare.

Steam Roller (1974)
This car was later issued in two Super Chromes and several blackwall versions.

Mercedes C-111 (1974)
Originally issued in 1972, this car featured working gull-wing doors.

American Victory (1975)
Based on a McLaren M8B, this was one of the first Hot Wheels cars to feature a chrome plastic base.

Formula 5000 (1976)
This car was also a Super Chromes casting in 1976.

Formula P.A.C.K. (1976)
The Formula P.A.C.K. is a slightly modified re-issue of the El Rey Special.  It was produced through 1977 with blackwall wheels on the late-production cars.  Consequently, the redline version of this car is easier to find than the blackwall version!

Second Wind (1977)
Fashioned after the "Mach 5" car of 1970s cartoon character "Speed Racer", this car debuted in the last year that Mattel used redline tires.  As a result, it can be found with both redlines and blackwalls.  The redline version is much more difficult to find.


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