1973 saw the end of the Spectraflame era and the introduction of the "Enamels" or fondly known as "House Paints".
Only three new castings were released but many older castings were reworked and renamed to fill out the line.
The cars were mostly painted in a series of enamel colors with a few metal flake colors. These opaque paints
masked the underlying metal well so that plating and polishing of the car bodies could be minimized. Due to a
slump in the toy industry as a whole, 1973 production runs were relatively small, hence the 1973 "enamels" are
relatively scarce. Since the enamel paint is very prone to chipping, they are especially difficult to find in
good condition. Concurrently, the familiar flame shaped blister pack was changed to a rectangular card.

In addition to enamel paints, 1973 saw the introduction of the third redline wheel design, the "Through Hole" style wheel.
To accommodate the straight axle and non removable wheel, the bases of the car had to be re-engineered. Almost all
castings were modified with "crush protectors" on the rear wheel and "anti rub nibs" were added at all four wheel positions.
All though the front wheels are generally the "Through Hole" style, most of the 1973 releases retained capped wheels in the<
rear until some time later in the production run when all four wheels might be converted to Through Holes.

In late 1973, the Shell Oil Company sponsored a promotion that featured ten castings in six colors each. These were
sold in baggies with a Shell header card, available only at the gas station. Surplus stock from the promotion was
later sold in "Two Pack Baggies" sealed with staples and a header card. A very few Shell promos have been found in
1973 blister packs. A few left over spectraflame era cars have also been found on 1973 cards.

Alive 55
Buzz Off
Double Header
Double Vision

Dune Daddy
Ferrari 312P
Hiway Robber
Ice T

Mercedes Benz 280 SL
Mercedes Benz C111
Mongoose Funny Car
Odd Job

Paddy Wagon
Police Cruiser
Porsche 917

Red Baron
Sand Witch
Show Off
Snake Funny Car

Street Snorter
Superfine Turbine
Sweet 16

1973 Shell Promotion

During 1973, the Shell Oil Company continued their tradition of using Hot Wheels as a promotional item.
The 10 castings used in the promo underwent minor changes to reduce the cost of each car.
Six colors were commonly used.

Ferrari 512S
Jet Threat
Peeping Bomb

Rocket Bye Baby
Splittin' Image
Short Order
Strip Teaser

Swingin' Wing


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