Fiero Toy Box – Part 4 by Ray Paulk
In part four of this series, we will discuss the Hot Wheels "Sting Rod" Fiero GT:
Released in 1988, the Hot Wheels "Sting Rod" (or "Ammo" as it was called in the “Tattoo Machines” series) is based on the Fiero GT fastback, highly modified to represent an Army off-road attack vehicle with a high lift suspension and over-sized, construction-type, black tires. In the front, 3 machine guns poke through the hood with additional single guns protruding from the rocker panels on both sides. Standing up in the engine bay is a rack with 2 rocket launchers (where's the engine?).
There have been two basic hub styles for the wheels on the Sting Rods. One hub has a raised ring around the center with 8-dots (holes) in the ring - this is called the 8-dot wheel. The second hub has slightly raised inner and outer rings. There are 4 truncated "spokes" on each ring alternately radiating inside-to-out then outside-to-in - this is called the 4-spoke wheel.
In the first couple of years after its release, only a few models showed up in the marketplace, which resulted in values escalating into the $35 and $45 range. In 1991, Toys "R" Us released hundreds of cases of Hot Wheels across the country, each case containing six Sting Rods, which crashed the value down to a more realistic value.
The initial release was in a camouflage green color followed by a short run in the "desert" camouflage tan capitalizing on the Desert Storm conflict. This camouflage tan version is very scarce and commands a premium in the collector’s market.
In 1993, the Sting Rod was released as one of a set of twelve vehicles called the "Tattoo Machines". Each model had a theme and was decorated with appropriate decals. The Sting Rod was called "AMMO" which was appropriate with its guns and rockets. Each model was blister-packed with a sheet of fake tattoos, which could be applied and washed off with soap and water. As these fake tattoos were popular with the kids, it is exceptional to find a mint blister-card with everything intact.
The “Sting Rod” Fiero GT is known to exist with the following variations:
1) Olive-green body and undercarriage with camouflage effects in light green, tan and brown, black machine guns and rocket launcher. Baseplate text: "© MI 1988" "MALAYSIA". This version comes with 8-dot wheels.
2) As #1 except 4-spoke wheels.
3) As #1 except a desert tan body with camouflage effects in light green, brown and white.
4) As #3 except 4-spoke wheels.
5) "AMMO" of the 1993 “Tattoo Machines” series: Metal-flake silver body and undercarriage, blue metal-flake windshield, yellow headlight doors, black machine guns and rocket launcher. Body covered with gun oriented decals: machine gun w/ammo belt on sides, ammo belts "feeding" hood machine guns and fake bullet holes. Baseplate text: "© MATTEL INC." "1988" "CHINA". 4-spoke wheels.
6) Metal-flake gray body, fluorescent orange undercarriage, machine-guns and rockets. Baseplate text: "© MATTEL INC." "1988" "CHINA". 4-spoke wheels with chrome highlighted hub rings and spokes.
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