It would not be an understatement to suggest that a large percentage of American children in the past 45 years grew up playing with Hot Wheels. Made by Mattel, these die-cast carriages debuted in 1968 during the height of the muscle car era. And on Sunday, October 27, 2013, the Automotive Driving Museum in metropolitan Los Angeles will be hosting a family-friendly Hot Wheels event featuring life-size Hot Wheels cars, Hot Wheels tracks, Team Hot Wheels characters, a special video presentation, Hot Wheels designers, and more.
The first sixteen Hot Wheels captured the zeitgeist of the car scene in 1968, with 10 being like customized contemporaries in the show circuit and six others being true custom hot rods including Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s Beatnik Bandit. All featured exotic “Spectrafame” metallic paint, red line wheels and bearings, and working suspension. Contrast those with the popular Matchbox and Corgi brands from the United Kingdom, which tended to be stock replicas of automobiles from around the world. With the “Custom Camaro” as the first release, Hot Wheels changed the rules of what kinds of cars a young boy wanted.
Times have changed (and so have the cars) but the popularity of Hot Wheels has yet to wane. Its ubiquity is such that one can even find Hot Wheels in supermarkets, but all you and your family have to do is stop by the Automotive Driving Museum in El Segundo, CA to see three 1:1 versions of Hot Wheels models:
- Deora II: The original Deora was a customized 1965 Dodge A100 pickup truck that made its debut at the 1967 Detroit Autorama, winning the prestigious Ridler Award. As one of the Original 16 Hot Wheels, it served as inspiration for the 2000 Deora II, a modern take of the original. It was soon to become one of the first Hot Wheels to be made into a full-size version courtesy of Chip Foose.
- Volkswagen Beach Bomb 2: Originally part of Hot Wheels’ second series in 1969, the Beach Bomb is saddled in folklore as a limited number were built with surf boards sticking out the back window before being redesigned with the boards on the side. In 2002, Hot Wheels reintroduced a new mold of the VW Bus and christened it the Beach Bomb 2. The first series had the surfboard sticking out the back window – just like the original – while all subsequent series had the boards on the sides. At the Automotive Driving Museum, you’ll find a full-size version of Beach Bomb 2.
- Bone Shaker: Of the three full-size Hot Wheels at the ADM, this one is an exclusive Hot Wheels design. Larry Wood created this hot rod for 2006 and it has been extremely popular ever since, with almost 60 versions made through 2013 in both open- and closed-roof variants. Looking like a modern take on a T-bucket hot rod, its presence in 1:1 form will make it a museum favorite.
Fun for kids and the kid at heart, plan ahead for Automotive Driving Museum’s Hot Wheels event on Sunday, October 27 from 12 – 4 pm. If the above is not enough, there will be a Hot Wheels raffle to benefit the PS I Love You Foundation, an enrichment program inspiring at-risk kids, as well as a trick or treat candy and (gasp!) a haunted car!
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