Lightweight Aluminum ‘Lulu’ Race Car Reaches Hot Wheels Legends Finals

  • A garage-built, street-legal aluminum car will be one of 10 finalists in the ongoing Hot Wheels Legends Tour this year.
  • Lulu was handcrafted by retired engineer Paul Kalenian of Santa Fe, New Mexico. With a crate engine from GM, the low racer has already covered 5000 miles.
  • The winner of the tour will be announced in November, then turned into a Hot Wheels toy that anyone can buy.

    The shape of the circle of finalists for the Hot Wheels Legends Tour 2021 is becoming clearer. This week, Mattel announced the latest winner of one of the tour’s stages: a fully street-legal aluminum racer called the Lulu. The low, shiny ride has secured its place among the 10 finalists who will compete in November, with the winner being inducted into Hot Wheels’ Garage of Legends and then transformed into a 1:64 scale Hot Wheels die-cast toy.

    A hand-built vehicle loosely based on Mickey Thompson’s 1963 Harvey Aluminum Special Indy race car that set 35 national and eight international speed records in its time. Lulu was created by Paul Kalenian, 70, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, a retired engineer.
    Kalenian built Lulu in his garage in seven months, spending at least 1,500 hours and $35,000 on the project. General Motors’ turbocharged four-cylinder LTG crate engine was initially rated at 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, but Kalenian and his team upped that to 325 horsepower in the 1,530-pound Lulu, which uses a gearbox six-speed manual gear. . The engine is structurally mounted behind the driver.

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    Lulu is impossible to miss on a sunny day thanks to its shiny aluminum exterior, and the lightweight vehicle also uses an aluminum frame and coil-over suspension. While Kalenian has already driven 5,000 miles on his home-built car, he knows that Lulu’s street-legal appearance isn’t exactly an indicator that the car is particularly special. He told Autoblog last fall that it’s easier to save Lulu where he lives in New Mexico because it’s “the Wild West, where a donkey with a motor can be dumped.” According to FF newspaperKalenian is working on another custom design called “Lu2”, which will use a BMW K1600B MC engine and is expected to weigh around 850 pounds.

    Kalenian has also entered Lulu in other competitions, including a virtual car show to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network of New Mexico last fall that named a 1969 El Camino Super Sport the winner.

    Other competitors on the leg of the Hot Wheels Legends Tour that crowned Lulu the winner include modified versions of a 1962 Ford Falcon, a 1966 Novetta and a 2007 Jaguar XK.

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