Bob Rosas Engineer/Designer for Hot Wheels 1969 - 1989
It was 1968 and Hot Wheels were the hottest new toys for boys. Mattel used all its resources for design, engineering, and tooling and was looking every where especially in the southern California are for vendors and contract people to help them. Why vendors and contract engineers, designer’s etc? Because they just did not have the facility for all the help they needed.
At the time I was doing contract engineering on tooling, the company I was working for was one of several that got a contract from Mattel to design the molds for toys especially Hot wheels. I didn’t think much of it at the time but here I was designing a multi-cavity tool for Classic 32 Ford Vicky toy number 6250. This was the first of about 24 different ones that I worked on. I was working in Fullerton and would go into Mattel once a week to get approval on the drawings. I would visit with the engineers and designers that worked the product line and met some great people there.
It was not too long after that I was working at Mattel in Hawthorne. I started out working on Barbie accessories, hot wheel track accessories. Major Matt Mason then preschool toys. I worked on the design of my first Hot Wheel car in 1973 and it was the Baja Bruiser whose concept was by Larry Wood. The chassis was later used on the 56 Hi Tail Hauler. I continued working on the designs for many cars, and eventually managed the engineering group for Hot Wheels and directed many people on cars and sets until I left Mattel in 1988.
I worked on or was involved on almost all the cars and sets up until I left, but was especially instrumental on tampo printing, the carrying cases, Thundershift 500, Machine Paks, Thrill Drivers Corkscrew, Mean Machines (motorcycles), The collectors patch series, The Heroes, Scene Machines, Spiderman’s “Web of Terror”, Scorchers, The collector books from 1981 and 1982, Steering rigs, Steering rig cabs, Sto and Go’s, Mega Force, Truck Company, Shift Kickers, Power Devils, Ultra Hots. Real Riders, Metal flake paints, Crack-Ups, Zap ‘N Go, XV Racers and many others. Because our group was part of Boy Toys, we also did Masters of the Universe, and Wheeled Warriors.
Larry and I worked together for many years and one of our pet projects was to promote the idea that we should make cars that appealed to an ever-growing collector market. We became aware of the interest in collecting Hot Wheels by adult men and women probably as far back as the middle 70’s. Real Riders was our first achievement for the collector market and there were many more innovations to come.
as of 2013 I have ben retired for 10 years and enjoy attending Hot Wheels conventions and answering questions the Hot Wheels collectors may have on how we made Hot Wheels in the old days. I also enjoy working on my real classic cars. I have a 62 Thunderbird Roadster, 56 Ford Fairlane, 57 Chevy truck and a 70 VW beetle.
Thanks Bob for that great story and info. Bob has a designer page here also.