by Jarek Skonieczny and Derek Redmond
Mattel Toys produced three Universal Jeep models in their "Hot Wheels" series during the 1970's and 80's. The stylized Grass Hopper was followed in the early 1980's by very nice models of the CJ-7 and the CJ-8 Scrambler, both of which were released in several variations. The toys are approximately 1/64 scale.
The 1971 Grass Hopper hot rod may have been based on the Willys MB or CJ-3B. The first casting (left) had dual V8 engines front and rear, and was painted a variety of colors. In 1974 the number of engines was reduced to one, a lime green paint scheme became standard, and the tools on the sides disappeared. In 1975, the engine disappeared under the hood, and the front grille was changed, perhaps to make it look more like a military jeep.
The Grass Hopper evolved into the 1975 "Gunslinger." As a model of the World War II jeep, it paled in comparison to the Matchbox MB with recoilless rifle (background.) The Hot Wheels version has a case of shells behind the front seats, molded into the plastic floor (30K JPEG). It has an inaccurate grille, which extends sideways under the headlights. The inappropriate "Redline" tires were standard on the early Hot Wheels vehicles.
The Hot Wheels CJ-7, first released in 1981, has a plastic roll bar and a one-piece clear plastic windshield and frame. A fishing rod is molded into the rear floor. It is the only diecast toy of this scale to have realistic metal bumperettes on the rear end (25K JPEG). These are molded as part of the base.
A number of paint variations exist, including:
There are at least four variations on the markings on the underside:
The Hot Wheels CJ-8 (seen unloading apples at the Redmond cider mill in the photo) first appeared in 1982, just a year after the AMC prototype. Like the CJ-7, it came with either the plastic tires or the rubber tires (which are probably the most realistic wheels ever put on a small diecast toy.)
The Scrambler has a halfcab hard top, and an axe, toolbox and some firewood molded into the rear floor.
Color combinations include:
Thanks to Jarek Skonieczny, Mike Albright and Paul Provencher for information and photos for this page. -- Derek Redmond
A Hot Wheels vehicle known as the Roll Patrol (30K JPEG) and available in many variations, appears to be based on a Toyota prototype rather than a Jeep.
See More Hot Wheels Jeeps -- oddities and recent releases on The CJ3B Page.
See also Whizzwheels Hotter Than Hot Wheels, and the Hot Wheels Grass Hopper.
Elsewhere on the web, see Toshimi Ohashi's Diecast Models Collection which has a large photo-reference of Hot Wheels Jeeps.
Return to the Toy Jeeps Pages.
CJ3B Home | Site Map | Search | Movies | Bulletin Board