The Steering Rigs range of diecast model trucks released by Hot Wheels

09 August 2011
imports_CCGB_steering-rigs-large_68493.jpg The Steering Rigs range of diecast model trucks released by Hot Wheels
Mike Pigott takes a look at a little-known range of articulated diecast model trucks, Steering Rigs, produced by Hot Wheels in the early 1980s. ...
The Steering Rigs range of diecast model trucks released by Hot Wheels Images

You've got yourself a convoy...


Trucks were beginning to play a large part in the Hot Wheels’ line in the late 1970s. Trucks – especially big, shiny American rigs – were starting to become really trendy, due in no small part to the CB radio craze and films such as ‘Convoy’ and ‘Smokey and the Bandit’.

This popularity was reflected in the number of toy and model trucks produced around this time. In the 1980 Hot Wheels’ line-up, eight of the 17 new releases were trucks and commercial vehicles. Of course, in the regular series, trucks had to fit the normal blister packs so they had to be short wheelbase models such as cement mixers, tippers and so on. But, it was the big semi-trailers that were really popular. So, in 1981, Hot Wheels introduced a new range called ‘Steering Rigs’.

Steering Rigs were very similar in size to the Matchbox ‘Convoy’ series, although they pre-dated Convoys. However, as the name suggests, they had a special working feature… they could be steered! Each of the trailers had a transparent ‘steering wheel’ plugged into the rear, which could steer the truck when turned.

The mechanism for this was simple but very clever. The wheel was attached to a bent wire rod that emerged from a semi-circular slot next to the trailer’s fifth-wheel coupling. The truck had a hole cast next to the fifth-wheel and, when the trailer was coupled up, the wire pin has to be set into this hole. Then, when you turned the steering wheel, the truck would turn in that direction. It actually works quite convincingly, and you could use them to practice your reverse parking!

The trucks were very realistic, and also very solid. The base, grille and exhaust stacks were metal, and each model had a detailed plastic interior. The trailers were plastic with a metal base. All the trailers had tampo printing on them, but none of the trucks did, which made them look rather plain; they had no company logos on the doors and none of the coachlining typical of American trucks...

Content continues after advertisements

*This is an excerpt of the article 'You've got yourself a convoy...' first published in Diecast Collector's September issue. To see which issues of Diecast Collector are available to buy online, click here

*Diecast Collector is a monthly magazine which focuses on all types of diecast models from Dinky Toys to Oxford Diecast