460-hp mid-engine Corvair truck advances to Hot Wheels Legends Tour semi-finals

Hot Wheels

Each year, the Hot Wheels Legends Tour hosts events worldwide, bringing in cars and trucks of every year, make, and model. At each of the events, one vehicle moves forward and gets one step closer to being immortalized in 1:64 scale and becoming the next Hot Wheels Legend. Previous winners have included homebuilt restomods meant for the track, as well as wild one-off creations that embody the creative spirit of Hot Wheels.

Brandan Gillogly

At its latest event, held at Hot Wheels headquarters in El Segundo, California, one vehicle rose to the top. This 1962 Corvair Rampside pickup, built by  Wayne Dick and LT Industries of Alberta, Canada, has ditched its air-cooled flat-six powerplant in favor of a mid-mounted LS3 V-8. Its rear-mounted 4L65E transmission and rear axle were pulled from a C5 Corvette, as was the front suspension, giving “Rampy” a major upgrade in power and handling.

We happened to be among the judges for this leg of the Hot Wheels Legends Tour, which also included three Hot Wheels designers. While there were a handful of cars that several of the judges brought forth, all could agree that this radically reimagined pickup embodied the Authenticity, Creativity, and Garage Spirit required to be a Hot Wheels Legend.

It’s easy to imagine how this 460-hp pickup will look scaled down, with an engine clearly visible in the bed and its interior’s many details—like its octagonal steering wheel—rendered in plastic behind the windshield. That’s part of why many of the judges loved it so much. Hot Wheels has never built a Corvair pickup, so this would be a truly unique casting if it gets selected. Of course, we’re a bit biased, as we helped give Rampy the nod, but there will be other fantastic vehicles vying for the spot. To keep up on the race to become the next Hot Wheels Legend, watch the semifinal, streaming on November 2, and take a look at the gallery below to see some of our favorites from the show.

Another Hot Wheels Legends contender, at least for us, was this 1966 Impala owned by Jess Juarez from Canoga Park, California. The car’s paint speaks for itself and absolutely dazzled in the El Segundo sun. Its many body modifications included a five-inch chop, Cadillac Eldorado taillights, and suicide doors. Juarez took over the build from his father, who passed away, and has nearly completed the car, with just the interior left to go.

Peter Menotti loved Disney’s Autopia cars as a kid, so when he had the chance to buy an original fiberglass shell, he didn’t hesitate. Disney never wanted the cars to actually drive, so they were sold without an engine or chassis. An OHV Briggs and Stratton, combined with a home-built chain drive and gear reduction system, and a chassis derived from scale drawings of the original, allow the car to easily maintain Autopia speed—and then some!

Check out the rest of the fun-filled photo gallery below:

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