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Hot Wheels Creator Remembered

Mattel co-founder Elliot Handler dead at 95 years old.

Elliot and Barbara Handler

Elliot Handler, who co-founded the Mattel toy company in 1945, passed away on July 21 at the age of 95. He leaves behind a corporation that grew to become the largest toymaker in the world today. Much of its success can be traced back to 1959 when Handler's wife, Barbara (seen next to him in this photo) created the Barbie doll, which went on to become one of the most successful toys of all time. Looking to create a product that would be as popular with boys, in 1967 Handler asked his head of design to develop a die-cast car that was faster than the others on the market - such as the ones sold by Matchbox.

A year later, Mattel introduced what has become known as the "Sweet Sixteen," its first line of Hot Wheels cars. They were based on both real models and the kind of fantasy hot rods popular in the 1960's. Since then the company has built over 800 different cars, sold more than 4 billion of them and even bought Matchbox in 1996.

Click through the slideshow for a trip down memory lane with the ones that started it all.

Mattel

Beatnik Bandit

Beatnik Bandit

Mattel

Custom Volkswagen

Custom Volkswagen

Mattel

Silhouette

Silhouette

Mattel

Custom Camaro

Custom Camaro

Mattel

Hot Heap

Hot Heap

Mattel

Custom Mustang

Custom Mustang

Mattel

Python

Python

Mattel

Custom Firebird

Custom Firebird

Mattel

Deora

Deora

Mattel

Ford J-Car

Ford J-Car

Mattel

Custom Corvette

Custom Corvette

Mattel

Custom T-Bird

Custom T-Bird

Mattel

Custom Fleetside

Custom Fleetside

Mattel

Custom Eldorado

Custom Eldorado

Mattel

Custom Cougar

Custom Cougar

Mattel

Custom Barracuda

Custom Barracuda

Mattel

Hot Wheels Creator Remembered

Mattel co-founder Elliot Handler dead at 95 years old.

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