What is a Gran Toros?
You would think this is an easy question but it is not. The original Gran Toros name was first used in North American and only for a new line of 1/43 scale Hot Wheels cars. These are the "true Hot Wheels Gran Toros." After 1972 so many Mebetoys cars were labeled as Gran Toros that defining a Gran Toros becomes to some "subject to interpretation."
What is not subject to interpretation is the difference between a true Hot Wheels Gran Toros and different lines of Mebetoys models that adopted the Gran Toros name after 1972. Nearly all of these Mebetoys models were also released in the Mebetoys Series, the Gran Super Series, and Series Europa. The only difference between the models in these lines is the packaging. Not the model number, nor any other feature, distinguishes the difference between Series Mebetoys, the Gran Super Series, Serie Europa, and post 1972 non-Sputafuoco Series Gran Toros.
Prior to 1972, the Hot Wheels Gran Toros that were packaged for the European market were called the Sputafuoco series in Italy and Heisse Räder Supergross in Germany. These names and the Hot Wheels Gran Toros were discontinued in North America and phased out in Europe starting in 1972. With a disappearing market for the Hot Wheels Gran Toros (Sputafuoco) in North America, Mattel S.p.A. (Mebetoys) applied the Gran Toros name to some of their Mebetoys Series models. In fact, the existing 1/43 scale Mebetoys series was divided into four new catagories; Series Mebetoys, Series Gran Super, Series Europa, and Series Gran Toros, based on the style of the models. When Mattel created the Hot Wheels Gran Toros some existing Mebetoys models were converted to become Gran Toros (Series Sputafuoco). Conversely, when the Hot Wheels Gran Toros / Series Sputafuoco was discontinued, three existing Hot Wheels Gran Toros models that were not part of the Mebetoys series models were converted to standard Mebetoys series models.
When identifying a Hot Wheels Gran Toros, many people argue about which models are the "true" Hot Wheels Gran Toros. Some people look for a simple "black and white" solution which there isn't. Many say that a "true" Gran Toros must have the "Hot Wheels" logo on the base. This isn't correct although I wish it was. I'm not here to argue what a Gran Toros is. I loved my first "redline" Hot Wheels and still have them all. I remember when Mattel first introduced the Gran Toros to the Hot Wheels family, collected them, and still own them today. I have a large Mebetoys collection as well. I collect both lines but only consider a model a "true" Hot Wheels Gran Toros if it is a 1/43 scale Mattel Hot Wheels.