Sign up for the Design News Daily newsletter.
June 16, 2023
Anyone who’s ever wanted to engineer a real-life Hot Wheels car can do so vicariously Tuesday nights on NBC by watching Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge.
It is one of those competition shows, but instead of cooking or sewing, the contestants are remodeling their cars to turn them into life-size Hot Wheels toys.
The show is hosted by car aficionado Rutledge Wood (from Top Gear US), and competitors have the aid of the show’s technicians, who are called “The Car Pool.”
The winner of each episode will take home $25,000. The final grand prize is $50,000 and in a case of art imitating life imitating art, their car design will be made into an official Hot Wheels die-cast toy car.
Players turn a nostalgic car from their past into the life-sized Hot Wheels of their dreams. It has the makings of solid entertainment, but car enthusiasts will surely wince at the sight of these very well-preserved examples of older cars being butchered into the kind of parodies that appeal to children.
The roster of victims, er, subjects of redesign is:
1969 Dodge Charger
2009 Chevrolet Camaro
1990 Chevrolet K5 Blazer
1980 Chevrolet C15
1970’s Volkswagen Beetle
1977 Ford Thunderbird
1990 Maruti Suzuki
1990 Nissan Sentra
2005 Hyundai Elantra
1996 Toyota Camry
1997 Dodge Caravan
1982 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
1994 Dodge Neon
1991 Ford Crown Victoria
Each week, Wood is joined by a rotating panel of celebrity guest judges who join resident experts Hertrech (“Hert”) Eugene Jr., an influencer in car culture and the drift scene, and Dalal Elsheikh, designer for the Ford Motor Company and Hot Wheels Brand Ambassador. Together, they review the transformations and crown a winner.
Elsheikh said that she was impressed by the technical prowess demonstrated by the conversions, with special props for the “Buckaroo” car build. “Every build on the show went through a tremendous transformation inside and out,” she said. “In episode 2, Kevin's “Buckaroo” uses hydraulic mechanisms connected to each wheel independently to make his Hot Wheels buck like a stallion. It was incredible to see, just knowing how difficult it is to keep hydros functioning and to have them move so in sync. By reveal day, his build was movin' and groovin'!”
She added that, without spoiling the surprise, she did have a clear favorite among the creations.
“It was vibrant, full of life, and just one of those things that puts a smile on your face as soon as you see it,” Elsheikh said. “It had moving elements, told a story of a familial relationship, and taught us all something about another culture. While it wasn't the most engineered build we've seen, in my opinion, it was the most fun.”
We’ll have to tune in to see which car this is.
You May Also Like
Clarios Incorporates Energy-Dense Altris Sodium-Ion TechFeb 21, 2024|3 Min Read
Chiplets Make Case for More AppsFeb 21, 2024|2 Min Read
4 Ways Virtual Prototyping Fuels Cooperation in Automotive DesignFeb 21, 2024|5 Min Read
How 3D Printing Is Transforming Headphone PersonalizationFeb 21, 2024|5 Min Read