Saturday, March 21, 2020

Hot Wheels Probe Funny Car

A heavy car with good wheels and a pop up body so you can even see what's under the hood.  You need one of these racers in your collection!  

There have been quite a few different Hot Wheels funny cars put out by Mattel, and most of them are pretty good racers.  At least those before 2000.  By about the mid 2000’s it’s kind of hit or miss.  In this issue we are going to review the Probe Funny Car. In particular the 1999 Mega Graphics Probe Funny Car.  While the 1999 version is structurally no different than other years, many experienced racers maintain that the 1999 car is the one to get.  Perhaps that year there was just a good batch of wheels or something.  My son has a 1998 Hershey version that is also very fast.

The Probe Funny Car debuted in 1990 and has been very successful on the track.  Its success can be mostly attributed to its weight.  The 1999 Mega Graphics version that we are reviewing in this issue comes in at 72 grams.  Definitely one of the heavier cars that Mattel makes.  All that weight at the top of the track means lots of potential energy.  As the funny car makes its way to the bottom of the drop, all that potential energy is converted to kinetic energy and kinetic energy is the energy of speed.  The more kinetic energy you have, the faster you go. All that weight also increases its momentum which helps the car overcome any factors that may try to slow it down like irregularities in the track to mention one.

Another thing that aids in the Probe Funny Car’s success on the track is it’s length.  It measures 3.5 inches.  We’ve mentioned before in other reviews how a long wheel base on a car helps it run straighter, and straighter means faster.  But in the case of the Probe Funny Car, that extra length gives it another advantage.  Because of its shape and length.  It’s center of gravity is further back than a lot of cars.  Further back means further up when sitting at the starting line at the top of a ramp.  Potential energy is based on two things.  Weight and Height. So the center of gravity being higher on the ramp means more potential energy and remember, potential energy turns into speed.

While these Probe Funny cars don’t have FTE axles, the wheels do run pretty smooth.  Generally, wheels from the 90’s and earlier tend to be a little better quality than wheels you find on cars today. They are better balanced, closer to perfectly round, and usually spin with much less wobble.  A good 5 spoke wheel from the 90’s can be pretty fast.

The Probe Funny Car isn’t perfect.  In fact, when you race them you will notice they are pretty noisy.  That’s due to the fact that the front of the car body is not attached to the chassis so it can raise up in true funny car fashion.  While this is pretty cool from a playing with and display perspective, it’s not the best for racing.  It takes energy to make noise, so that’s wasted energy that’s being used for something other than getting the car down the track. But overall, these funny cars can be very fast and have enjoyed many a trip to the top of the podium!


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