The third annual Hot Wheels Legends tour will kick off next month in Miami, with the tour hitting 18 cities throughout the US. At the aftermarket SEMA show in November the grand prize winner will be chosen, with that car being turned into a real-life Hot Wheels diecast that will be sold in stores.
First up is Miami on March 7, while the last stop on the tour will be Phoenix on Oct. 17. The tour will hit all corners of the US, from Boston to Detroit to Portland to Denver and lots of places in between. Parking lots in Walmart stores will make up 17 stops on the tour, with a special event being held at Hot Wheels' headquarters in El Segundo, California. Last year's tour saw 5,000 cars entered with over 90,000 people attending.
A winner will be picked at each show, with all 18 finalists getting flown to Las Vegas for SEMA. New for this year will be a fan-favorite contest run by Mobil 1, which will provide an additional vehicle spot at the finals. The Hot Wheels team look for creativity, authenticity, and garage spirit when picking the winner, as well as something that was built and not bought.
I was at the SEMA show last October to view the final judging for the 2019 tour, and it was like being a kid in a candy store. The builds was insane, ranging from a drift-ready Honda S2000 to a VR6-swapped Renault Dauphine, an Opel Manta on a Nissan chassis, and a V12-powered FJ40 Toyota Land Cruiser. I've never been to a car event with that much variety in one place, especially not one where each individual owner and builder was poring over -- and complimenting -- all the other cars in attendance.
Last year's winner was The Nash, an epic hot rod based on a 1957 Nash Metropolitan. Built by Greg Salzillo and Dave Ford, it's powered by a Chevy 305 making around 300 horsepower -- a far cry from the 40 horses put out by the original four-cylinder. The Nash looks like a cartoonized version of a Metropolitan, with a chopped roof, bias-ply tires pushed out from the bodywork, and custom headers shaped like a pair of dice.
Salzillo says the build costed under $10,000, including the purchase price of the car. "Being a rat rodder, you get creative with what you use, you use parts you have. It doesn't have to be a high-dollar build to get attention, to show off your creativity." The Nash was built before the tour was a thing, but Salzillo actually designed it with the hope of it becoming a Hot Wheels one day. And now it will be, hitting stores in 1:64 scale later in 2020.
"Something that I built, my children now get to go play with. Not only do children around the world get to play with it, but my kids get to see that car dad built in the garage be in their Hot Wheels collection. How incredible is that?"