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Hot Wheels Legends Tour Winner Is a Swedish, British-Built, Ten-Second U.S. Gasser
Hot Wheels may be preoccupied with building small cars, but that doesn’t mean only kids will enjoy its creations. Adults can also play the game, and even stand a chance for a place in the company’s Garage of Legends.

Hot Wheels Legends Tour Winner Is a Swedish, British-Built, Ten-Second U.S. Gasser

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It’s all thanks to Hot Wheels’ Legends Tour, a relatively new idea that first started gaining steam back in 2018. Since then, after initially celebrating the brand’s 50th anniversary, it has continuously risen in scope and people were mesmerized by the potential of having their car immortalized for die-cast eternity “as a 1:64 Hot Wheels toy sold around the world.”

This year, the Legends Tour roared back into action with an all-new “search for a custom vehicle worthy of becoming” a legend... with more contestants and more amazing builds. Initially, the contest was a local one, exclusive to the United States, but now it’s a truly international affair.

So, after the previous editions saw creations such as Spanish music producer Luis Rodriguez’ custom-built “2JetZ” or a 1957 Nash Metropolitan and 1970 Trans Am get the honors, this year everything started... way over in New Zealand, in spring. The next stop was in Australia and only afterward moved back to North America.

The last installment – the big global grand finale – was live-streamed from the cozy atmosphere of Jay Leno’s Garage, with the panel of judges consisting of Hot Wheels designers, automotive experts, and celebrity car fans. Eight finalists were included in the final draw of the competition, and the winner was a 1969 Volvo P1800 from the United Kingdom.

It might be a British creation, it might hail from Sweden, but it’s an entirely American drag racing affair. As such, the Volvo P1800 Gasser that’s rightfully nicknamed “Ain't No Saint” turned out a ten-second quarter-mile monster. It comes from Somerset, England, and after originally being registered as a new car in 1969 it somehow ended up as just a rolling shell.

The rust bucket was sold to Lee Johnstone, a 71-year-old mechanic who started to thoroughly restore, rebuild, modify, and transform the Volvo into a proud U.S.-raced quarter-mile gasser. The build sheet is impressive, to say the least. And it all starts with an engine swap, naturally.

So, the 1969 Volvo P1800 has an American heart now, a 454ci Big Block Chevy V8 engine that’s also adorned with a 671 GMC supercharger and dual four-barrel carburetors. The green paintjob is nothing to write home about, but it’s entirely fitting to let the huge engine assembly and chunky tires do all the “marketing talk” for this Volvo.

Almost even cooler than hitting the dragstrip with this “unholy” P1800 is the family affair story behind this “race it, break it, build it better” car. As such, Lee has been catering to the build while his three daughters - Eleanor, Sarah, and Victoria - are the drivers. Obviously, the matriarch (Sue) is also around to help with just about everything.

The Hot Wheels Legends Tour has truly become a global celebration of custom car creations,” explained Ted Wu, Vice President, Global Head of Design for Vehicles, Mattel. In 2021, the Hot Wheels Legends Tour competition involved eleven countries (five of them being new additions to the mix) across five continents.

And for seven months, some of the coolest custom builds fought for the right to impress the jury and become the next Hot Wheels die-cast toy. Speaking of the panel of jurors, there was a trio of Mattel head honchos, along with automotive design icon Henrik Fisker, Elana Scherr (a seasoned motoring journalist), as well as a couple of socialites (Mad Mike and Sara Choi).

As for the author of the Volvo gasser, he was naturally touched by the incredible win... but still remembered what made the build project such a wonderous marvel: “having my family here with me for this moment was so special.” Now, his family is going to become the entire world thanks to the 1:64 version of his Volvo P1800...




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