The winner of the 2022 Hot Wheels™ Legends Tour was crowned during the virtual Global Grand Finale event held at Jay Leno’s Garage on November 12. Nicknamed “Texas Toot,” the ultra-custom 1992 Autozam Scrum micro truck, built by Craig Meaux of Beaumont, Texas, will be immortalized as a 1:64 Hot Wheels die-cast vehicle and inducted into the Hot Wheels Garage of Legends™. The UK winner, The Misfit, a 1963 Ford Anglia, was the only European entrant to reach the final ten in the Global Grand Finale.
Customized in Meaux’s garage and built entirely for fun, “Texas Toot” started life as a stock Japanese import in 2020, before becoming this year’s Hot Wheels Legends Tour champion. This custom Kei truck features a fabricated five-foot hydraulic lift, Chevrolet 454 big-block, TH400 transmission, 12-inch drop reverse rotation FTI transfer case, 250 shot nitrous kit, train horns and massive custom welded 30″x15″ wheels. Following this bucket list win, and in true challenger spirit, Meaux intends to use his passion project in burnout competitions, which he is sure to dominate in what Jay Leno calls his “superhero” truck.
“The competition was strong in 2022, but turning a Japanese mini truck into a monster truck was hard to beat,” said Ted Wu, Vice President, Global Head of Design for Vehicles, Mattel. “As the first truck to be crowned since the inception of the Hot Wheels Legends Tour, we hope Craig’s passion project inspires builders and fans from around the world to set big goals and follow their dreams. I cannot wait to see what this super-sized mini truck looks like in 1:64-scale.”
“I wasn’t expecting to win, so this is a dream come true,” said Meaux. “I wanted to create something that no one else had. I didn’t have previous experience with this sort of fabrication, so it’s awesome that it came out the way it did and to have everybody enjoy the truck.”
Co-hosted by celebrity car enthusiast Jay Leno and motorsports ambassador Jarod DeAnda, the fifth annual Hot Wheels Legends Tour Global Grand Finale featured 10 incredible builds around the world and an array of judges who were tasked with choosing the entry that best represents authenticity, creativity and garage spirit.
Joining Jay and Jarod on stage were Ted Wu, Global Head of Design for Vehicles, Mattel; Bryan Benedict, Design Director of Hot Wheels and Matchbox Die-Cast Vehicles, Mattel; Brendon Vetuskey, Lead Designer for Monster Trucks Die-Cast and Redline Club Vehicles, Mattel; Dalal Elsheikh, Advance Autonomous Design Director at Ford and Hot Wheels Brand Ambassador; Magnus Walker, television presenter, fashion designer and prolific car collector; Misha Mansoor, founding member of progressive metal band Periphery and Hot Wheels Brand Ambassador; and Jon Chase, former Art Director at Hoonigan and Founder of the DSTROYR lifestyle brand.
Originally built by Rob Rashbrook and now taken to the next level by Michael Charalambous, the UK’s Misfit won praise from the judges for its design and distinctive features such as classic cross-ply tyres on BBS wheels, flat green paint, craftsmanship and exquisite detailing such as the exhaust collector.
As part of this exciting finale event, Hot Wheels announced the brand’s first-ever adult-facing campaign, “Where Legends are Made.” Designed to further engage the global car enthusiast community, this campaign serves as an umbrella for the adult-facing activities Hot Wheels will launch in the future, expanding beyond traditional automotive into pop culture. This includes segments such as fashion, film, gaming, NFTs and luxury, while remaining true to the brand’s car culture heritage with builder activities such as the Hot Wheels Legends Tour – the world’s largest travelling custom car show.
To kick off this adult campaign, Hot Wheels shared a video featuring culturally relevant influencers from around the world who champion different categories of car fandom – exotics, muscle/hot rods, modified/drift, EV/future, motorsports, trucks/off-road and retro/classic.
“’Where Legends are Made’ was created to expand our reach to more adult auto enthusiasts with an affinity for Hot Wheels and encourage them to celebrate their passion and become collectors,” said Wu. “Membership in our exclusive Red Line Club tripled in 2021, which proves that there is a strong demand for premium limited-edition die-cast cars and a desire for an adult members-only collector community for Hot Wheels die-cast vehicles.”
For more information about the ‘Where Legends are Made’ campaign please visit https://creations.mattel.com/en-gb/pages/hot-wheels-where-legends-are-made
To learn more about the Hot Wheels Legends Tour, visit www.HotWheels.com/Legends
Main Image Caption: 2022 Hot Wheels Legends Tour Houston Winner Craig Meanx with Traetha Truth