“MG B-east” wins 2023’s UK Hot Wheels Legends Tour
Michael Wallhead is an inveterate re-inventor. He put himself through university by breaking cars, so when it came to building his project MGB, he was always going to repurpose existing parts in eccentric ways.
“I like recycling things, reusing things,” he says. “For me, it’s not about throwing money at something, it’s about throwing time and using what you’ve got available. I had a lot of random parts and it was just a case of going to the workbench and finding what fits like or looks like it might work.”
Wallhead’s 1979 MGB is a mighty mash-up, with a three-liter Jaguar V-6 at its heart. Getting the engine to work in the B’s body involved a Range Rover prop shaft, the rear axle from a Reliant Scimitar, throttle bodies from a Triumph motorcycle, and brakes from a Nissan Silvia. The exhaust system exits behind the nearside front wheel into a hand-made side pipe.
The car is not just a mechanical masterpiece; it’s the most aesthetically unusual and individual MGB you’ll ever see. Wallhead’s father had several Bs when Michael was growing up, which inspired his choice.
“It’s one of those cars that you don’t really see modified. But you see a lot of Datsuns, which are similar sort of shape,” he says. “So I just started cutting and hopefully didn’t make a mess of it!” He added wide arches and lowered the car’s stance, but it’s the details that make Wallhead’s wonderful car stand out.
Open the bonnet and you’ll see ornate flowers painted on the rocker covers and on assorted plates. Wallhead created them using lace curtains and temporary tattoos as templates. He even used a Dremel tool to engrave more floral finery onto the rear lights.
He gutted the interior and installed the most minimalist, personal touches. He took apart a set of racing seats, left their frames exposed, and then trimmed them in denim from old jeans. “When you work on old cars you tend to tear through a lot of jeans,” he jokes. The glove box, meanwhile, he fashioned from an old number plate.
“For all my builds, I always look to find ways to reuse parts; everything has a second or a third life and I try not to throw things away that can be reused.”
“I don’t think it will ever actually be finished,” he confesses.
Wallhead’s brilliant build, known as the MG B-east, will head to the Hot Wheels Legends Tour Semi-Final in November. If it makes it through to the Global Finale, his car could soon be immortalized as a 1:64-scale stunner.
“I’m so humbled to have been chosen as the UK winner from a stellar lineup with no two cars the same,” he adds. “Growing up, I played with Hot Wheels, and you always had your favorites—the one that went fastest or the one that looked the coolest—and those memories inspired me when it came to designing the B-east.”