It’s a dream come true for car enthusiasts. Hot Wheels has selected the custom-built car it will scale down into a toy and sell in stores all around the world.
The firm began looking for a custom-made car to join its toy lineup in early 2018. The project was part of its 50th birthday celebrations. On its official website, the company explains it looked for “that Hot Wheels-ness that nails amazing performance and outrageous design.” If you’ve ever seen a hot rod in traffic and thought “that looks like a Hot Wheels,” you’re on the right track. In other words, simply lowing the suspension and adding a set of 20-inch alloy wheels doesn’t cut it.
The originality aspect was extremely important because Hot Wheels has made over 25,000 unique cars during the past 50 years. It takes a seriously outlandish design to impress the brand’s creators. That’s why the company didn’t settle for receiving submissions via email. It sent jurors on a 15-city tour of the United States to find the best designs and brought the 15 finalists to the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada, to choose the winner.
New Jersey resident Luis Rodriguez won the contest with a jet-inspired machine he calls 2JetZ (pictured above). It’s made around a tubular aluminum chassis onto which Rodriguez added a subframe from a Nissan 300ZX and a body made with aluminum sheets riveted together. Website Super Street Online reports power comes from a 2JZ six-cylinder engine — hence the name. It’s sourced from the Toyota parts bin and tuned to generate 627 horsepower when burning 93-octane fuel. That figure is even more impressive when you consider the 2JetZ weighs just 1,650 pounds. The six-cylinder sends its output to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission sourced from a 2010 Subaru WRX STi.
The single-seater interior is accessed by flipping up a glass panel. Once inside, the driver faces an instrument panel that looks like it belongs in an F-16. Rodriguez built the 2JetZ himself; he took the project from dream to driving in a year and a half.
Hot Wheels hasn’t revealed when the 2JetZ will begin arriving in stores. It embodied the concept of Hot Wheels-ness better than the other finalists but they were nothing to sneeze at, either. The roster included a hot rod with a cabin shaped like a knight helmet and 1947 Crosley turned into a dragster.
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