In 1968 Hot Wheels launched a series of die-cast cars that became known as the “Sweet 16.” These toys are ubiquitous in American culture and I think every kid has memories of racing them or crashing them. Or both. Over time the Hot Wheels collection grew to over 25,000 unique cars. Fifty years after the initial release, Hot Wheels decided to launch a tour, Hot Wheels Legends Tour – to find the best vehicle builds across the country to immortalize as a die-cast. The goal for them was to stop at 15 locations and hold a show. At each show judges would pick a winner based on the ideals of authenticity, originality, and garage spirit. Those 15 winners would attend SEMA with Hot Wheels and the best of the best would win the opportunity to have their exact vehicle turned into a Hot Wheels die-cast car for children (and let’s not lie… a lot of adults) to enjoy for years to come.
I only found out about this show a week and a half ago. I hopped on the computer to do some internet research only to find out that not only were a lot of the builds of the highest quality, but also that Hot Wheels was bringing out the stable of life-sized versions of previous die-cast cars. I was immediately hooked on going. It was a short window since the show was only slated for 3 hours and they had 350 registered vehicles. There are many sponsors of the tour but Wal-Mart opened their parking lots up for each show across the country.
I showed up about 25 minutes before the proposed start and it was already PACKED. I’m talking hundreds of people, dozens of strollers, and everybody packed around the best rides. It made for a difficult day in regard to photography but I harnessed all the patience I could and waded in. There really were some interesting builds mixed in with the more mundane late-model Camaros, Challengers, and Chargers (I will write an entire article on that subject sometime this season). Off-road rigs, mall crawlers, rat rods, hot rods, imports, and classics were all in attendance. Owners came from as far as Colorado and New Mexico to show their builds. I saw a few familiar faces from Forbidden Fantasy (I’m looking at you Big Brown, Slammmd, and Switch Suspension). Gary Corns brought his 1939 Plymouth that sports a radial engine out of a Cessna.
It was a great showing of rides and the mood of the show was great. Spectators and owners alike were willing to engage in open conversation. My favorite was actually not eligible to win because it was one of the life-sized Hot Wheels. The Twin Mill was one of the coolest Hot Wheels ever created and I got to see the life-sized version IN PERSON. It was unreal to stand next to it and I had to save the memory by snapping a photo! The winner here in Avondale was Dan Robertson and his 1966 Chevy Pickup dragster. He fired it up for the crowd and I was front and center for it. Let me tell you, that truck deserved to win. It espouses everything Hot Wheels was looking for and I’d like to congratulate Dan on his win! Check out the photos and if you’re in Washington DC or Los Angeles you should definitely go check out their final two stops on the tour.
Hot Wheels Legends Tour Photos
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