Becoming Legend: 15 Real Life Hot Wheels Legends Finalist
Celebrating their 50th anniversary, the Hot Wheels Legends Tour has travelled around the country seeking to immortalize a single enthusiast-built car into a 1:64-scale die-cast as part of the exclusive Hot Wheels Garage of Legends. Finalist cars from each of the 15 cities joined together at the SEMA Show 2018 where the winning entry was announced. Out of over 3,600 entrants, it is Luis Rodriguez’ “2JetZ” custom-built car that’s won the 2018 Hot Wheels Legends title.
"All our Legends finalists on display at SEMA are winners — each custom build embodies originality, authenticity and the garage spirit," said Chris Down, SVP & General Manager, Hot Wheels. "The 2JetZ looks like it performs and everything about it was built from the ground up. Its forward design aesthetic will add variety to the Hot Wheels line and is a car that both adult fans and kids will love."
See each of the 15 Hot Wheels Legends Tour finalists and learn more about these unique builds below:
Winner & New York/New Jersey Finalist – 2JetZ Custom-Built Car
Inspired by a fighter plane in honor of American veterens, the 2JetZ is a single-seat cockpit pushing out more than 600hp.
"Hot Wheels has crowned me as a winner, and I get the chance to represent some of the most creative and beautiful designs that I've seen," said Luis Rodriguez. "With my car, I wanted to create something from scratch that tested my ability as a builder and I am happy that the 2JetZ has taken me on this journey."
Seattle Finalist – 1973 Datsun 240Z
Built by father and son duo Bill & Dylan Brinkworth, the “Saisei DB240Z” has been Dylan’s first full build, which he began at age nine. Now 11, Dylan collaborated with his dad for everything from design ideas to learning fiberglass bodywork on their custom fender flares.
Under the hood is a L28 engine that’s been bored, stroked, cammed and covered in a custom chrome red valve cover—one of a ton of custom touches that makes this car feel like a Hot Wheels model already.
Miami Finalist – Custom-Built “Medieval1”
With enough whimsy to remind us of crazy ‘60s builds, the Medieval1 isn’t the first thematic build made by the hands of AJ Bohatta but it’s been something he’s dreamt of for 25 years. Each inch of the car reveals details tying into the theme from the intricately fabricated header pipes to the knight’s helmet exterior. Made to be driven, this small block Chevy is topped with a Weiand Supercharger and nitrous for a whooping 1,000hp.
Nashville Finalist – 1963 AMC Rambler American Wagon “Flare Witch Project”
Designed and built by husband/wife team Suzy Bauter and Rodney Prouty, the Flare Witch Project is mostly original on the outside, save for massive 8.5-inch fender flares that begin to tell the story of what’s underneath.
A Camaro front subframe and independent rear-end are paired with fully electronic Viking Performance shocks and a LS engine that’s been shifted back 10 inches for weight balance. This all leads to a Rambler wagon that handles and corners far differently than originally intended and provides a witching good time to Suzy and Rodney.
Charlotte Finalist – 1994 Chevrolet Geo Tracker “Never Enough”
We can truly say we’ve never seen anything quite like this creation from the hands of Delton Hubbard. Seeking to turn an orphan car into a show-stopping wonder, Hubbard began with a steel tube chassis and built up from there… all the way to the 671 Weiand blower and dual Holley carbs.
Atlanta Finalist – Custom-Built “Surfin’ Rod”
It may not be fitting to find a surf-themed car coming out of Atlanta, but this is no ordinary surfmobile. Dreamt-up by 9-year-old Landon Graham who loved woody hot rods and the West Coast surf scene, he went on to save up his allowance and build the design from scratch with plenty of help from his grandfather Robert Graham. Based on the ’31 Chevrolet Woodie Wagon, the car is entirely built from scratch from the twin Pro/Mod cage and fire system to its 383 stroker small block. Looking into the interior we were surprised to find two seats there rather than one, but we imagine both grandfather and grandson need a place to ride until Landon has his driver’s license!
Phoenix Finalist – 1966 C10 “The Redneck Racing Truck”
Built to race, Dan Robertson planned and plotted this project after retiring and was helped along in the build by son, Will Robertson and friends. The 530-inch Rodeck engine with MooneyHam blower is good for 2,000hp, and the “Redneck Racing Team” projects to garner 200 mph and high-6s on the dragstrip. Having plenty of fun along the way, we know this crew will get down to business.
Los Angeles Finalist – ‘30s Graham Custom
As the only art deco custom in the finalist mix, this unique build by Steve Howard brings a little-known ‘30s car manufacturer, the Graham Company, to the scene. While it’s sloping hood and streamlined fenders shout ‘30s elegance, the custom work brings a modern interpretation—including its convertible phaeton configuration, suicide doors, custom chassis and Ford running gear.
Dallas Finalist – Hakotora Truck
Upon seeing a “Hakotora” truck, owner and builder Nestor Mendoza knew he had to have one. The truck’s design comes from Michi Ogura in Japan, who spliced together his own Nissan Sunny truck and Skyline GT-R. The design garnered so much praise, Michi now sells kits the world over to other enthusiasts executing the vehicle mash-up. Mendoza’s truck was built alongside his daughter and is powered by a 4AGE 16-valve engine.
Kansas City Finalist – 1938 Bus “Class C RV”
Bought from a wooded field of decaying vehicles, Randy Roeber saw potential in this old school bus and took it home as a night, weekend and holiday project in dreams of having a fun and functional camping RV. Using a 2011 Ram 3500 chassis and 6.7L Cummins engine, the bus is planked in marine plywood with 12 coats of shiny finish. Inside you’ll find all the amenities you need for a weekend in the woods—we guess you could say this build started and ended in the trees.
El Segundo Finalist – ’49 Ford F5
Mitch Allread was caught by surprise when his creation won the finalist title at the Hot Wheels Legends Tour’s first stop held at their headquarters earlier this year, saying, “I’ve been driving this truck for 9 years and I forget that people are seeing it for the first time.” Not much is left of the ’49 Ford dump truck, as this build sits on a custom chassis inspired by a ’35 Miller Indy car and is powered by a 7.3L Power Stroke diesel.
Detroit Finalist – ’47 Crosley “The Blue Goose”
Created for ’59 NHRA racing, The Blue Goose is testament that good design never ages. Designed and built by Elwood Peterson, Bruce Boyce and Gordie McNutt, this de-stroked 327 Chevy powered car sitting on a 100-inch wheelbase has won numerous awards and trophies over the years, including runner-up at ‘62/’63 Indy nationals and Best Engineered Car at the ’66 Toledo Autorama.
Washington D.C. Finalist – Custom-Built “Cab Over Evolved”
Coming full circle as a build inspired from a Hot Wheels toy, Aaron Buck began with a ’36 Ford truck cab and front fenders then proceeded to custom build the chassis and the rest of the body. Under the hood a 5.9L 12-valve Cummins turbo diesel powers it down the road to be a real-life toy-turned-car.
Chicago Finalist – ’87 Porsche 944 custom “Widerstandsfahig 001”
Designed and built by Brian Bergeron to go fast and win at SCCA AutoX competitions, not much of the stock ’87 Porsche remains. Branding the wide-body car a “Porsche Outlaw,” Bergeron dreamt it up with one thing in mind, weight savings—001 weighs in at 2,168 lbs and is powered by an LS6.
Bentonville Finalist – Custom-Built “Rat Rod Hooker”
“It’s just how my mind works,” said builder Vin Erwin of his creation which started life as a ’54 Ford two-ton truck. While the 256 Mercury engine is original to the truck, not much else is. Chopped, Z’d and narrowed, this life-size toy-like creation took Erwin over two years to create.
Our favorite thing about the Hot Wheels Legends Tour is seeing the ingenuity and creativeness of so many home-built cars all over the country. It sounds like a tour for next year is in the works, so start dreaming up and hammering down in the garage now!