Starting in 2008, Mattel began using base codes (also known as date codes) on Hot Wheels vehicles. The date code can be used to identify when an individual vehicle was manufactured in the Hot Wheels factory. Date codes are typically found on the base and cards of Hot Wheels vehicles manufactures since 2008. The code will be found either stamped into the base or printed with various colored inks.
Date codes consist of a letter followed by a two-digit number. The letter refers to the year of manufacture, while the number refers to the week-number (1-52) within that year.
For example, if the code is M36, the letter "M" indicates that the car was manufactured in 2019, and the number "36" indicates the car was manufactured on the 36th week of that year. This puts the production date around the 1st week (2nd to 8th) of September 2019.
|Letter||Year of Manufacture|
Significance of Date Codes
The significance of date codes comes into play when Mattel releases the next years' series during the 4th quarter. New models for the following year and color variations of castings can have the current years date code but be part of series designated for the following year. For example M is the year code for 2019. However, when new 2020 cars start hitting the shelves during October of 2019, they had an Mxx date code because they were made in 2019 (for the 2020 model year).
These date codes have no other significance except for the possibility of a recall indicator as it can identify when a particular casting was in production at the manufacturing plant.