KIDNEY, ANYONE? Hot Wheels Datsun Z prototype for $4,295

Hot Wheels Z-Whiz prototype 01

This is could be the earliest Hot Wheels Japanese car ever made. The Hot Wheels Datsun “Z-Whiz” 240Z of 1977 is certainly the first Japanese casting, but this is a pre-production prototype of that casting, making it one of the earliest Z-Whizes known to exist, and it’s currently on eBay with a BuyItNow price of $4,295. Yes, that is a dollar figure that is utterly ridiculous and exceeds some actual Zs, but there is probably some crazy collector out there that will shell out for it because it is an extremely rare piece. 

Hot Wheels Z-Whiz prototype 04

Before the 1990s boom of special editions and short run rarities, the most sought after unicorns in the Hot Wheels universe were prototypes. Like the name says, these were test runs produced by the design team before being shipped off to the factory in Hong Kong (now in Malaysia) for mass production. As such, these are “zamac,” or unpainted metal and have no country of origin, number, or Mattel markings on the chassis.

Hot Wheels Z-Whiz prototype 02

This prototype also comes at the tail end of what originalists fondly call the Redline Era, denoted by the red circles on the wheels. Redline-wheeled cars are highly desired by collectors as well, and in fact mattel produced a tribute car to the Z-Whiz offered to Red Line Club members using the updated Datsun 240Z casting.

Hot Wheels Z-Whiz prototype 03

According to the seller, it came from the collection of Mark Keller, a former Mattel employee that worked on the He Man lineup. Is it worth nearly $4,300? Maybe to the ultimate Z fanatic. Surprisingly, it’s still not the most expensive Z toy ever made. That honor goes to the platinum Nissan Fairlady Z432 built for Tomica’s 40th anniversary by Ginza Tanaka worth $80,000. You can find the auction on eBay.

Full Disclosure: JNC is now an eBay affiliate; when you click on an eBay link from JNC, the magazine gets a cut of the proceeds from whatever you buy.

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10 Responses to KIDNEY, ANYONE? Hot Wheels Datsun Z prototype for $4,295

  1. mister k says:

    knowing a few hotawheelsa otaku, i’d say the answer is yes

  2. JimmieB says:

    I’m certain I had the production version, in silver w/multi-colored graphics if memory serves
    me correctly. If only I still had it, what a treasure it would be! Oh well…

  3. Nigel says:

    Got one of these, without Redlines.

  4. Sarge says:

    A straight six with dual exhausts? Pffft.

  5. Jim says:

    Technically, the first Hot Wheels Japanese car would be the Toyota 2000GT released around 1970 in the Gran Toros line. Some people (rightfully) question if these are “real” Hot Wheels, though…

  6. cesariojpn says:

    Rick Harrison would only offer like $500.

  7. Steve says:

    It’s been discounted to a bargain $3436!

  8. John says:

    I have the white version with red lines. Love this casting.
    If I had the extra money I would have bought thisjohnj

  9. Barbara says:

    We have a hot wheels z whiz, dated 1976. When were these first made?

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