Thursday, June 21, 2018

Hot Wheels Legends Tour searches for new Hot Wheels diecast in Nashville

Hot Wheels iconic diecast cars have been around since 1968. That means that most grownup car enthusiasts probably played with them as a kid. It makes sense that a Hot Wheels-sponsored car show would be a big success, and that’s just what happened when the Hot Wheels Legends Tour made a stop in Nashville. The tour is hitting 15 cities, bringing life-sized versions of some of their most famous toys. Local show cars make up the rest of the field. The folks at Hot Wheels then choose one car from each city to come be on display at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Then they’ll pick one of those cars and make a new Hot Wheels diecast, which will eventually be sold in stores.

One of the most famous Hot Wheels cars of all time is the Twin Mill. The 1:1-scale version definitely captures the wild nature of the 1:64-scale diecasts, complete with two big block Chevy engines. It’s finished in dazzling blue Spectraflame, and of course, it has red line tires. The Ira Gilford-designed Twin Mill toy was originally released in 1969, and has been available in one form or another right up to the present day. Getting a good picture of the Twin Mill wasn’t easy, because there was always a crowd standing around it.

Another life-sized Hot Wheels car on this tour was the Bone Shaker. This is a more modern casting, as it hit the market in 2006. You can’t consider it a rat rod, although the cut-down hot rod proportions and skull-and-crossbones theme were probably inspired by the rat rod phenomenon. This was created by prolific Hot Wheels designer Larry Wood, and has been rendered in countless paint schemes and themes over the past 12 years. They had one version of it on display in a big Lucite case right next to the show car.

When I was going through the show, I told my son that I thought this ’63 Rambler American station wagon should win, because I could most see it being turned into a Hot Wheels car. And guess what—I was right for a change. This actually is the car that they invited to SEMA to be a finalist. The little Rambler was modified for autocross duty, with extra-wide fenders covering extra-wide tires and a full roll cage, among other things. If this is the car they make into a Hot Wheels casting, I’ll definitely buy one. Then I can tell people I saw it before it was famous.

Here’s another one that I could see becoming a Hot Wheels car. Normally I wouldn’t feature a 1994 GEO Tracker on here, but look at this thing. It’s called “Never Enough,” although it’s probably approaching the point where it’s had enough. There’s a Chevy V8 in there, with blowers and scoops stacked higher than the roof. It has an eye-searing orange paint job covered in wild graphics. Humongous 20-inch wheels fill in every available space in the rear wheel wells. I’m not even sure if this would actually be drivable. With its short wheelbase and over-the-top modifications, it would have to be pretty scary if you tried to push it. But as a show car, it really stands out.

You would swear that this old bubbletop car was built by Ed Roth in the 1960s. You’d be wrong. The “Iron Lung” was just finished a few years ago, although it seems pure vintage. I can kind of see why it wasn’t chosen as a finalist, because it looks a lot like Roth’s Beatnik Bandit, which was already one of the original Hot Wheels cars. It is pretty neat, though. It was actually made out of a ’65 Thunderbird, and if you look really hard, you can still see a little essence of T-Bird left in the “fenders” and taillights. I do like it, although I think you’d fry like an ant under a magnifying glass inside that bubbletop!

There were several more crazy cars, and a few tame ones, on display at the Hot Wheels Legends Tour in Nashville. I took 129 pictures, and you can see them all by clicking this link.

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