The finalists include a scrap car with a NASCAR engine and a raised classic Benz.
The finalists for the North American Hot Wheels Legends Tour have been announced.
These five vehicles from the USA and Canada will join the global semi-finalists to duke it out for the Global Grand Finale on November 13. This is the fourth year this competition is running.
In case you need a refresher on what this competition is all about, it's a global search for the next iconic 1:64 die-cast car to be sold around the world. Basically, if your modified car is cool enough, Hot Wheels will turn it into a toy for kids to play with. It's the ultimate full-circle childhood dream come true. You play with Hot Wheels as a kid, grow up and make enough money to buy and modify your car, after which it gets turned into an all-new model for the next generation of kids to play with. In case you were wondering, iconic Hot Wheels can go for as much as $150,000.
According to Hot Wheels, it's looking for authenticity, creativity, and garage spirit. In other words, something that looks like a Hot Wheels fantasy car that stands out from tens of thousands of other vehicles that were built, not bought.
Here are the 2021 USA and Canadian finalists, in no particular order.
1991 Porsche 911 Baja
This Porsche was chosen as the Mobil 1 Fan Favorite. It's a 100% ready-to-race, completely legal Baja 1000 truck. Essentially an insane Safari 911, it boasts a one-off custom suspension, a roll cage and race-ready fuel cell, lightweight body panels, and a naturally-aspirated 3.8-liter flat-six engine.
Lulu is another one-of-a-kind street-legal racecar. What's most impressive about Lulu is that she took just seven months to build, from sketch to fully operational. Lulu is an all-aluminum monocoque and a rear-mounted turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 325 horsepower. She was built by 70-year-old Paul Kalenian, who put his spin on Mickey Thompson's 1963 Harvey Aluminum race car. She currently has 5,000 miles on the clock.
Scraptona, the 1969 Daytona Charger Superbird
Scraptona lives up to its name, as it's basically a scrapyard on four wheels. But underneath, it's equipped with a Richard Petty Racing Nascar engine producing 740 horsepower at 8,300 rpm. It hails from Alabama.
We love the Mad Max meets Nascar vibe and the Mickey Thompson tires that give you some idea of the power beneath.
Exoskeleton, the 2003 Nissan 350Z
This particular 350Z was a complete write-off, overlooked by most people. Ashley Robinson brought it back to life, however. Looking beyond the damage, Robinson saw a one-of-a-kind 350Z. Most of its rear body panels have been removed, but the original design was mimicked using an exoskeleton. It looks superb, and it goes like stink thanks to custom forged internals and twin turbos. It won the California leg of the tour.
High Class, the 1968 Mercedes-Benz 250S
We're not supposed to have favorites, but, man, there is something extraordinary about a raised classic Mercedes-Benz. The owner, Kevin Clark, said that it started as another bad idea for him and his friend Coleby. Unfortunately, Coleby passed away a week after the purchase. Instead of ditching the idea, Clarke decided to complete the project in honor of his late friend.
Clarke used a 1973 Camaro as a donor car, stripping off all the usable plants and transplanting them into High Class.
High Class is equipped with a custom-built 395 SBC, 6-71 supercharger, a Ford 8.8 rear axle from a junkyard Explorer and 1994 S10 chassis. On the inside, it has custom gauges, seats, and floor mats. Clarke says this car is more than just a car. To him, it's therapy, a conversation starter, a learning experience, and a tribute.
We love the barrel up front, the mismatched wheels, and the fact that Clarke didn't do too much to the body. It has the patina of an old Benz, which makes it so much cooler.