In 1999, Hot Wheels released the “Sam Walton 1979 Ford ‘The Road to Success’” miniature. Years later, it was relaunched, renamed “1979 Ford F-150 Truck”. Exclusively sold by Walmart, the miniature was a reproduction of Walmart founder Sam Walton’s 1979 Ford F-150.
It all started in 1950, when he opened “Walton’s 5 & 10”. The company soon expanded to become one of the top retail stores in the United States. In 1979 Sam Walton, already a millionaire, bought a brand new 1979 Ford F-150 pickup. Many did not understand why he rode in a pickup, a vehicle so common in the United States while most owners and directors of large corporations showed off in expensive and luxurious vehicles.
What am I supposed to haul my dogs around in, a Rolls-Royce? – Sam Walton
And it was this truck that he continued to drive until his death in 1992. Over the years it had aged, getting riddled with small dents and scratches, a missing side trim, but he kept visiting his shops in it. And she ended up becoming a symbol for Walmart. Today it is on display at the Walmart Museum in Arkansas. And a replica was customized by the company to be used parades, community or company functions, or store openings. When not used in these events, the replica is displayed in front of the museum.
Sam Walton 1979 Ford "The Road to Success"
The first version of the Hot Wheels miniature released in 1999 was not a regular card edition. It came in a box and was very detailed. It had a toolbox and a dog case in its bed, had rubber tires with the inscription “general versa trac”, all the same as the original truck. And there was also a dog in the dog case!
Walton's 1979 Ford F-150 Truck
It was re-released in 2015 in a carded version. At the top of the card there was a picture of the Walmart museum with the truck parked in front. The rest of the card was similar to the Hot Wheels mainline cards. It also had rubber tires but with “Wal-Mart” inscripted on them. And, unlike the first version, the two boxes in the bed were gray without the dog. Another change from the 1999 version is that the defects acquired by the real pickup over the years were reproduced on it such as details in the paint and the lack of one of the side trims. The version re-released in 2017 was the same as in 2015.
In 2021 it was re-released, again, but with less details and plastic tires.
The first model released in 1999, with the dog detail in the case.
- The Walmart Digital Museum – https://www.walmartmuseum.com/content/walmartmuseum/en_us/timeline/decades/1970/artifact/2580.html
- Ford Truck Enthusiasts – https://www.ford-trucks.com/articles/walmart-founders-1979-ford-f-150-is-one-big-slice-of-americana/
- Hot Wheels Wiki – https://hotwheels.fandom.com/wiki/1979_Ford_Truck
- T-Hunted – https://t-hunted.blogspot.com/2021/11/a-nova-ford-f-150-do-walmart.html