'Starman' Aboard: Hot Wheels Toy Features SpaceX Spacesuited Driver

hot wheels tesla roadster starman
A Hot Wheels Tesla Roadster toy car outfitted with a custom Starman driver (at right) was mounted to the dashboard of the Roadster that launched on SpaceX's first Falcon Heavy rocket in February 2018. Mattel has now released a toy modeled after the one in space. (Image credit: collectSPACE.com/SpaceX)

There's a Starman waiting in the sky, and now in stores, too.

Mattel has released a new Hot Wheels toy model of Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster that launched atop SpaceX's first Falcon Heavy rocket nearly one year ago. The 1:64 scale toy features a miniature "Starman" driver, distinguishing it from Mattel's earlier versions of the same electric sports car and more closely matching it to both the Roadster that is now out beyond the orbit of Mars and the Hot Wheels toy of the same that is mounted to the space vehicle's dashboard.

The 2019 Hot Wheels "Tesla Roadster with Starman" follows an October 2018 release that was packaged on a blister card featuring a photograph of the "1st car to orbit the sun" on a postcard-style "Greetings from Space" backer card. The new version adds the black-and-white plastic figurine ("Starman") to the die-cast toy presented on a "short card" that includes an illustration of the orbiting car on which it is modeled. [Watch Starman's Entire Deep-Space Ride on Elon Musk's Roadster in Just 80 Seconds]

The new Roadster toy is otherwise the same as the prior model, with a metallic red finish, black interior and spoked wheels that are similar in style to the tires on the Roadster in heliocentric orbit.

SpaceX launched Musk's personal midnight cherry Tesla Roadster atop the test flight of its Falcon Heavy heavy-lift rocket on Feb. 6, 2018. The car substituted for a mass simulator, standing in for the booster's future satellite payloads.

After the Roadster entered orbit, SpaceX streamed live video from cameras it mounted on the car, providing the surreal scene of a spacesuited mannequin — dubbed "Starman" in honor of the late musician David Bowie — behind the wheel of the convertible with Earth as the backdrop. The spacesuit was the same style that astronauts will wear when launching on SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station on flights targeted to begin later this year.

The Falcon Heavy video also showed that a Hot Wheels Tesla Roadster toy, with a custom-made "Starman" figure seated inside, had made it into space, too.

"On the dashboard, there's a tiny Roadster with a tiny spaceman," said Musk at the time. "Hot Wheels made a Hot Wheels Roadster and a friend of mine suggested why don't you put that Hot Wheels Roadster with a tiny spaceman on it in the car, too."

Mattel has released a Hot Wheels toy model of the Tesla Roadster that SpaceX launched on its first flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket in February 2018. The new 1:64 scale diecast car includes a plastic miniature of the Starman spacesuited mannequin. (Image credit: collectSPACE.com)

"It's kind of silly and fun, but silly and fun things are important," he said. "I think the imagery of it is something that is going to get people excited around the world," he said.

Musk's prediction came true, as was evident by people rushing to eBay to buy the Hot Wheels Roadster toys, bidding up the normally $1 toy to upwards of $100 in the days and weeks following the Falcon Heavy maiden launch.

Other fans took to social media to ask Mattel to release a "Starman" version of the Hot Wheels Roadster, as the toy company has now done.

The "Tesla Roadster with Starman" is part of the Hot Wheels 2019 "HW Space" collection, which also includes cars with names such as "RocketFire" and "Dune-A-Soar" that are Mattel original designs loosely inspired by space themes.

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Robert Z. Pearlman
collectSPACE.com Editor, Space.com Contributor

Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of collectSPACE.com, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for Space.com and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.