Hot Wheels is looking for a hot prospect in the Phoenix metro this weekend

Two things in the Phoenix metro will drop with the temperatures in the coming months: vehicles at car shows and Hot Wheels toys in discount bins to make room for new models.

On Saturday, September 10, auto customizers from across the Valley and Hot Wheels collectors will collide to face off in the parking lot of the Walmart Supercenter at 2501 South Market Street in Gilbert from 8 a.m. to noon.

Enter the Hot Wheels Legends Tour, a global competition that offers automotive customizers the chance to have their vehicles customized – from jacked-up trucks and slammed imports to raked hot rods and nine-second quarter-mile Teslas – immortalized in Hot Wheels toys at the Mattel manufacturing plant in Asia.

Matt Jackson, owner and operator of Mesa-based Biff’s Automotive Detailing, attends the Saturday show with his 2013 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van, also known as “The VanDeLorean.”

But first there is a process to be considered a Hot Wheels prospect.

“There was an online form and an area to submit photos and vehicle information,” he said in a recent Phoenix New Times interview. “I got a text when I was approved.”

That of the van Back to the future theme complements his car detailing business and affinity for the 1985 film. “I bought the van bone stock three months ago,” he continued. Next, Jackson added custom wheels, undercarriage neon lights, a flux capacitor-like doohickey, an 88 mph prop, and custom graphics. “And now I can’t wait to show it off at the Hot Wheels Legends Tour.”

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Ron Howe (driver) won the 2019 Hot Wheels Legends Tour in Phoenix with his 1971 Volkswagen Squareback.

Ashes Sarkis

The judges, including members of the Hot Wheels design team, Walmart store managers and automotive influencers, will scour the Gilbert parking lot to find the hottest rides, then cast their votes. They will be looking for constructions that exude garage spirit, creativity and authenticity.

Ron Howe, a Phoenix subway car builder, won the 2019 Hot Wheels Legends Tour in Phoenix with his 1971 Volkswagen Squareback. “I wanted something that potentially nobody had done before,” he said. in a 2019 interview of his heavily modified red-colored VW, which has batteries protruding through its hood and the two 2332 cubic-inch VW engines grumbling below.

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Eric Han, Chief Product Designer at Hot Wheels.

Michael Madriaga

I interviewed Howe in 2019 at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas. At the same show, I spoke with Eric Han, the lead product designer at Hot Wheels. Many Hot Wheels Legends Tour finalists from each city gathered in Las Vegas for the final judging.

“Keep in mind that we have to do this in 1:64 scale,” Han continued. “So if we shrink it, will the silhouette be recognizable to collectors? Or for a child: is it fun enough? »

Unfortunately, Howe and his VW didn’t win at SEMA.

Han added, “I think the biggest challenge for a designer is that when you shrink it down (to about three inches) you have to make it proportional so it looks good on an orange race track. used in Hot Wheels toy sets. We try to account for all the little details, the colors of the tampo and the wheels.”

Tampo refers to how the graphics stick to Hot Wheels toys. Howe’s VW had a “Too Cool” sticker on its door.

At previous Hot Wheels events, also referred to as “The World’s Largest Traveling International Car Show”, they have installed a larger than life Hot Wheels backdrop resembling the packaging of 1-scale die-cast toys: 64. With the gigantic Hot Wheels display, vehicle owners can pull up, take photos and visualize what their vehicles would look like as a toy.

The Hot Wheels Legends Tour launched in 2018 to celebrate the toy brand’s 50th anniversary. It humbly started as a series of 15 auto shows held at Walmarts across the United States. Over the past four years, with the help of social media, the competition has exploded and expanded internationally, now attracting the coolest vehicles in 13 countries and spanning five continents.

This year’s tour kicked off in April in New Zealand. After 13 more encounters, the World Grand Finals on November 12 will take place at an undisclosed site, where the winning vehicle will be announced as the next Hot Wheels model.

Over the past 50 years, Hot Wheels has manufactured over 25,000 vehicle models – and it’s possible a Phoenix Subway automobile could be next!

The September 10 roll-in is at 8:00 a.m. and the show is free for spectators and competitors, but the vehicle must be registered online and approved beforehand. The event lasts until noon.

Walmart supercenter
2501 Market Street South, Gilbert