Hot Wheels is zig-zagging across America in search of the nation’s wildest custom-built cars. The 2021 edition of its Legends Tour is largely digital due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic, but the new format hasn’t quelled the enthusiast community’s creativity. The toymaker released images of some of the cars that could become a Hot Wheels model.
Judges selected 10 cars from hundreds of submissions received in May 2021, though only five are pictured in our gallery because Hot Wheels wants to maintain an element of suspense. One is a 1962 Ford Falcon with a wide-body kit, gray paint with contrasting black stripes, and a side-mounted exhaust outlet that hints at something powerful under the hood. Another is a 1964 Chevrolet Nova station wagon that’s far less subtle than the Falcon; a supercharger the size of a carry-on suitcase pokes right through the hood, and its roof panel has been chopped.
Wilder yet is a 1965 Ford Econoline nicknamed Grass Hopper. It also receives a mammoth supercharger, but its V8 engine has been moved to the cargo box. It exhales through a pair of long, chromed exhaust tips. Horsepower and torque figures haven’t been released, but the mid-mounted engine makes enough of both to warrant fitting a dragster-like parachute to the rear end. Chromed wheels and flames add a finishing touch to the design.
The next build Hot Wheels selected is a 1966 Novetta, a home-built low-slung coupe with a fiberglass body shaped as a tribute to cars like the Alfa Romeo TZ2 and the Ferrari 250 GTO. Nearly every part of it is custom, including the radiator, the suspension system, the frame, and the dashboard. Even the shift knob was made by hand.
Finally, the judges were smitten by the Lulu, another home-brewed build that took 1,500 hours and around $35,000 to create. It’s built largely with aluminum, and it’s powered by a General Motors-sourced four-cylinder crate engine tuned to develop 325 horsepower, which is a healthy amount in a two-seater roadster that weighs just 1,530 pounds.
Fans will get the opportunity to vote for their favorite build during an event that will be streamed live on social media on May 20, 2021. It starts at 5 p.m. in California, which is 8 p.m. in New York City. The winning car will compete for the opportunity to become a roughly 1/64-scale Hot Wheels model that will be sold globally. Last year’s winner, which joined the Hot Wheels line-up for 2021, was a heavily modified 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.