Launch of the Hot Wheels Legends Tour, 2022 Edition

Hot Wheels has been around since 1968, when it released its first series of 1:64 scale vehicles, and in the 54 years since it has become the world’s best-selling toy, popular all over the world. world, in Brazil and Mexico as well as in Japan (where there is a community of passionate collectors). It helps that you can still buy the cars for $1. More than eight billion have been sold and they are available in 150 countries.

Mattel, which owns both Hot Wheels and Matchbox, was in New York on April 6 to kick off the Legends Tour 2022, which will tour the United States through October, stopping primarily at Walmarts (a sponsor with Mobil 1). Yes, there are exhibits of toy cars, including the now very valuable 1968 “Original Sixteen” range, but they’ll be side-by-side with Legends cars – full-size versions of the little people-powered racers. . The Legends Tour was launched in 2018 as a way to engage the automaker community, the company said.

Jim Motavalli

Lee Johnstone, 71, of Bridgwater in Somerset, England, was in New York with his daughter Victoria Upham to represent the family’s 1969 Volvo 1800S Gasser, an unlikely dragster built on a shoestring budget of $16,000 and powered by a big block Chevrolet engine. Not only does it do 10 quarter mile seconds, it was also the winner of the 2021 tour, which means it’s now available in a Hot Wheels blister pack.

Johnstone said Volvo’s fame wouldn’t keep her in the garage or the showroom. “I will continue to ride it, because that’s what it was built for,” he said.

The Volvo, dubbed “Ain’t No Saint” in a nod to the TV show featuring 1800, was back in England. But many other Legends cars were on the ground at the Classic Car Club Manhattan. Hot Wheels decided early on to offer custom cars, and that tradition continues. In each case, the car’s display also featured the Hot Wheels interpretation.

Gas Monkey Garage Corvette

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The Gas Monkey Garage Corvette is also known as the “Midas Monkey” due to its gold metallic flake paint job.

Jim Motavalli

Also known as the “Midas Monkey,” the Gas Monkey Garage Corvette was built in 2016 as a flake vision of shiny gold metal, powered by a blown big-block Chevy 427 engine with twin Holley carburetors and a four-speed manual transmission. speeds. Quad exhaust pipes exit from a port on the left front fender. Surprisingly, this is the stock engine. The interior, trimmed in white leather, was relatively plain. The construction was detailed on the fast and strong TV show.

Deora II

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Deora II is a tribute to one of the original “Sweet Sixteen”.

Jim Motavalli

Deora II was designed by Nathan Proch and built by the legendary Chip Foose in 2003, costing $750,000. It’s in the ballpark of a 2050 El Camino, and echoes the original Dodge Deora concept that Hot Wheels introduced in 1968. Both iterations have twin surfboards mounted on the rear cowl, and on the more streamlined II , it lifts up for storage. Power comes from a 400 horsepower Cadillac Northstar V8. As with all Legends cars, it’s a racer and capable of 150 mph.

twin mill

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The Corvette Twin-Mill has not one but two big-block engines, and nearly 1400 horsepower.

Jim Motavalli

The nearly 1,400 horsepower Twin-Mill Corvette was ordered for Hot Wheels’ 30th anniversary in 1998 and debuted at the SEMA show in 2001. Front-mounted motors sit side-by-side in front of the driver, and they would present a visibility challenge if it was anything other than a show car. Ira Gilford designed it, and Carron Custom Industries and Action Vehicle Engineering built it.

bone shaker

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The Bone Shaker was a die-cast toy before it was made 1:1.

Jim Motavalli

The hot rod pickup was a 2011 build based on Hot Wheels chief designer Larry Wood’s 2006 die-cast toy. It has a Chevy 350 of 402 horsepower and a top speed of 160 mph. The skull and crossbones “grid” would appeal to any schoolboy.

Mattel dodged a question about the percentage of toys sold to women, saying it didn’t have a breakdown. But according to Ted Wu, Vice President and Global Head of Vehicle Design at Mattel, “We welcome both men and women. We’re simply a car brand, appealing to anyone who loves cars – we would never do a ‘pink wash’ just to attract more female buyers. Hot Wheels has built Barbie cars though.

Wu led a tour through Hot Wheels history. “We were born out of California’s custom car culture,” he said. “We have always sought to advance design.” The original version included the Beatnik Bandit, the original Deora Concept, the Ford J-Car, Hot Heap and Silhouette. Undamaged sets from this first band’s 2018 reissue are now rising in value, with listing on eBay for $7,500. By 1991, the first billion Hot Wheels cars had been sold.

“We were born out of California’s custom car culture. We’ve always sought to push design forward.

Today, Hot Wheels has branched out, with premium Redline Club cars required for membership, larger $400-$500 limited edition radio-controlled cars, icons such as a modern Batmobile and the Tesla Cybertruck (sold out in minutes) and even NFTs. There are co-branding opportunities such as Gucci Cadillac Sevilles (with special cover and box!), a chronograph edition of the Schaffhausen pilot’s watch, X Super73 electric motorcycles, and more.

The company estimates that 25% of its production is bought by collectors. One such adult, with 7,000 rare Hot Wheels toys, including prototypes, secured his collection for $1.5 million. Does your child play with a prototype rear-loading beach bomb from 1969? Look out, it’s worth $150,000.

Hot Wheels seems like a fun place to work. Playing with toys is encouraged and it is possible to turn your hobby into a paid job. Brendon Vetuskey is a staff designer at Mattel, and like many in the company, he’s a real gearhead. The cars he built in real life became Hot Wheels cars, including a custom 1967 Pontiac Firebird and his 1955 Chevy Bel Air gasser with big-block power, aka “Triassic-Five,” intended for look like “a weathered survivor.”

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Mattel Design Director Bryan Benedict explains how Hot Wheels cars are built.

Hot Wheels

Ex-Honda Bryan Benedict, Mattel design director and 17-year Hot Wheels veteran, showed how cars are styled and built, starting with computer sketches and working through counter-drawings to the digital “sculpture” stage. The four-piece cars (body, glass, chassis and interior) are then 3D printed for evaluation. The final steps are to make the steel cut to bare metal, put on color and graphics, make sure the packaging is perfect, then load the factory (in Malaysia, as well as some work in Thailand and China) for mass production.

Hot Wheels cars can be launched by hand, spring-loaded launch or battery-powered booster. Building the snap tracks with loops, tight curves and other obstacles in great layouts is the fun part. But it’s all about the fun with Hot Wheels, right?

Check out all of the stops on this year’s Hot Wheels Legends Tour schedule here. In the meantime, tell us about your favorite Hot Wheels model or share your fondest memory of playing with the 1:64 scale toys in the comments below.

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