Casting : Ford J

Ford J-Cars in white enamel

Spectraflame purple

The Ford J-Car was one of the original 16 Hot Wheels cars that debuted in 1968. It was originally packaged on the regular blister cards, but later came out in Grand Prix Series blister packs.

The real Ford J-Cars were the predecessors of the Ford GT40 Mk IV. Completed in March of 1966, the first J-Car (J-1) weighed just over 2,600 pounds and was powered by a 500 HP427 c.i. engine.

Although J-1 had the fastest times at the 1966 Le Mans trials, it was sidelined so that the Ford team could focus on their team of GT40 Mk II cars. This decision paid off with a 1-2-3 finish by Mk IIs at the 1966 Le Mans.

A second J-Car (J-2), built to CanAm specifications, crashed at Riverside in August 1966, tragically killing driver Ken Miles.

After extensive re-working of the chassis and development of a new body style, the J-Car officially became known as the GT40 Mk IV.

J-1 on the track at Riverside

In the pits at the '66 Le Mans trials

The Hot Wheels version of the Ford J-Car featured an opening rear hatch, racing numbers (#1) and rocker panel stripes, and were painted in various Spectraflame colors,as wellas white enamel like the real car.  J-Cars were manufactured at both the US and Hong Kong plants.

There are a number of casting variations for the US cars, characterized most notably by the addition of a stop peg on later production run cars. This peg, and a corresponding block where the transmission used to be, kept the rear hatch from opening completely. Presumably, this change was made in mid-1969 since most of the '69 Grand Prix cars also were first produced without the stop peg.

US J-Cars showing early (L) and later (R) rear hatch types.

Most US cars have black interiors but can be found with brown or tan interiors. Two prototype J-Cars with white interiors have been discovered.  One of these appears to be a transitional car of some type.

All US cars have clear windows and unpainted metal bases.

A green US Ford J-Car with brown interior.

There are two variations for HK J-Cars. The first of these is a rare early run version with vents (or “louvers”) on the top of the rear hatch (similar to theUS version) and a "hidden hinge" mechanism for the rear hatch.

Apparently, the first iteration of the hatch mechanism was too fragile so the casting was redesigned with a sturdier hinge, and the rear vents were omitted.

An early-production "hidden hinge" HK Ford J-Car in white enamel.

Unlike the US casting, HK J-Cars have top and bottom halves so that the “base” is painted the same color as the rest of the car. Most HK J-Cars are found with white enamel paint, although they also were produced in Spectraflame red, green and light blue.

A red HK Ford J-Car.

All HK cars have blue windows and black interiors.  Most HK J-Cars have four medium-size bearing wheels. The rare exceptions to this are small front wheels on early cars, and cap wheels on late-run cars. Note that there are two interior types: one (early) features a large steering wheel, and the other (late) has a small steering wheel.

The HK J-Car on the left has an early interior with a large steering wheel.

There are a few rare and very interesting versions of the Ford J-Car. HK J-Cars in anything but white enamel are rare. Of these, red is the most common but it too is relatively scarce. Only a handful of green and light blue HK J-Cars have been found, and most of these seem to have come from Europe. The early run "hiddenhinge" cars are most often found in Canada.

A very rare light blue HK Ford J-Car!

US-made Ford J-Cars can be found in most of the Spectraflame colors, although since they were not produced after 1969, are either very rare or non-existent in the second generation colors (e.g. hot pink, magenta, yellow, light green).

A "blue enamel" version of the J-Car was produced in limited quantity and is often rumored to have been a promotional car for the 1969 Indianapolis 500 (although no promotional material to support this has ever been documented). The car is actually painted in blue Spectraflame over a white enamel base coat. It is not known how many "blue enamel" J-Cars were produced but they are scarce, especially in good condition, and a clean example typically commands a price of several hundred dollars.

A "blue enamel" US Ford J-Car.

A hot pink US Ford J-Car.

A pair of antifreeze Ford J-Cars.

Ford J-Car Color chart

lime common
purple common
brown common
rose uncommon
blue uncommon
white enamel
light blue
aqua uncommon
olive uncommon
gold hard to find
hard to find
blue enamel very hard to find (many are in poor condition; may have been a promotional issue)
hot pink rare
creamy pink rare

white enamel common; regular hinge
hard to find
white enamel
rare; "hidden hinge" casting
very rare; Italian "Brucia Pista" BP only
light blue very rare; "blue fog"

A red HK Ford J-Car still in the blister pack!

A stunning spectraflame blue US Ford J-Car!

A rare green HK Ford J-Car in an Italian blister pack!

A complete HK Ford J-Car rainbow.  Only four colors, but very rare indeed!

A rare early-run antifreeze US Ford J-Car in a "Cheetah card" blister pack.

A US Ford J-Car rainbow!

Photos and comments by Rick Wilson.

Visit Rick Wilson's Redline Gran Prix site for more information.


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