The first ever fan designed and created custom car gets immortalized as a die-cast Hot Wheel.
Story by Joseph Gonzalez. Photos by Joseph Gonzales and courtesy of Mattel.
Hot Wheels, the gateway drug to automotive addiction! As kids we scoured the toy stores in search for those cars that we desired the most, anxiously waiting to get home to open them! As adult Hot Wheels collectors, myself included, we scour the our local big box store anxiously waiting to get them home and not open them so they stay in mint condition!
What: 2019 Hot Wheels Legends Tour
Where: Various Cities
More info: Hot Wheels Legends Tour Website
Ahhh, the joys of adulthood! Personally, I still really enjoy “openers”, what Hot Wheels collectors call those cars we still “open” and play with. A large part of the hobby is still the exhilaration of attaining what is usually unattainable. Unfortunately I cannot afford to buy a real $1,000,00 McLaren Senna, but 1:64 scale die-cast version for a buck? That’s a bargain! How else can you live a dream for a buck? That’s what’s made Hot Wheels, first introduced in 1968, such a strong brand all these years. For decades, Hot Wheels has made scale representations of real cars as well as cars conjured up by their own talented design team. However, never has a fan’s customized car been made into a Hot Wheel.
Hot Wheels makes history at the 2019 Hot Wheels Legends Tour
Here, for the first time ever, a die-cast toy car based on a fan-made custom car was unveiled. Not only that, it will also be inducted into the Hot Wheels Garage Of Legends! Last year, Luis Rodriguez’s 2JETZ was singled out as the car to forever be immortalized in 1:64 scale. The 2JETZ distinguished itself among 3,600 other custom cars at the 2018 Hot Wheels Legends Tour, a multi-city national tour which invited fans and their customized cars to vie for the coveted spot. These cars were under the scrutiny of select judges including Jay Leno, host of Jay Leno’s Garage, Hot Wheels car designer Larry Wood, and car enthusiast Magnus Walker.
The 2JETZ embodies the design and performance sought after by the Hot Wheels judges. It took Luis Rodriguez 1.5 years to build and fabricate. The 2JAYZ started out as a 300ZX with the famed 2JZ-GTE, aka the Supra engine, as its power plant. As you may have guessed, the 2JAYZ name is derived from that engine. In fact, this isn’t the first time Rodriguez built a custom car from this combination. He cut his teeth on at least one 300ZX with a 2JZ engine in the past. However, Rodriguez is not a mechanic by trade, but learned everything from wrenching to fabricating through YouTube videos!
After completing his previous build, Rodriguez wanted to make something that people would really notice. Hence the 2JAYZ idea was born. The jet-fighter-street-rod hybrid pays tribute to armed forces veterans. It not only gets a lot of attention for its aviation inspired design elements, but for the fact that it is a street legal brute. At a scant 1,650 lbs. and a monstrous 627hp, it’s a rocket!
The search continues.
Luis’ 2JETZ is the first, but won’t be the last fan-made custom car to be a part of the Hot Wheels legacy. The Hot Wheels Design Center parking lot was absolutely packed with everything from Swedish Supercars to elaborate Japanese Bosozokus. Wide-eyed young and adult fans alike were admiring these works of automotive art. Many were eager to have a go at the Hot Wheel Venting Machine for a free Hot Wheels die-cast car. Celebrity judges Jay Leno and Adam Carolla wandered around as they inspect all the entries and help select a winner for this stop of the tour. As it was done last year, the finalists from each stop in the tour will be on display at the 2019 SEMA show where the winner, who’s custom car will be immortalized as a Hot Wheel, will be announced.
It’s not too late to submit your customized car. The Hot Wheels 2019 Legends Tour is still currently in the middle of its 18 city tour. Check the Hot Wheels Legends Tour official website for dates and locations. Who knows, maybe that crazy car your significant other thinks you’re spending too much time in the garage with will someday become a Legend!