1970 Firebird Trans-Am with front-mid-engine to be immortalized as a Hot Wheels car
Each year, the Wheels Legends Tour scours the nation to obtain the coolest real-life cars and chooses someone to be produced right into a $1 diecast toy. Earlier this month, looking came to an end when Riley Stair’s heavily modified 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am won the honors.
In an ordinary year, the Hot Wheels Legends Tour would visit multiple cities, holding an automobile show where judges would select one winner for that stop. At SEMA, each city’s winner would then compete for that top spot. However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, this season the contest occured virtually and globally. And also, since SEMA was canceled too, the finale occured around the “Jay Leno’s Garage” YouTube channel with Leno, Snoop Dogg, Gabriel Iglesias, and Hot Wheels designers as judges.
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What set the Firebird apart was, to begin with, its front-mid-engine layout. Its LSX V8 was pushed to date into the firewall that one bank of exhaust headers had to flow forward before curving round the front from the engine to some side-dump. Of course, all of this was custom fabricated, like the roll cage and front tube frame, with professional-grade welds. Your body seemed to be heavily modified, flared and channeled allow it a mean stance. But it’s the custom Ohlins suspension with independent rear that provide it its track-ready look.
Perhaps most impressively, this car, that could go toe-to-toe against (and frankly exceed many) six-figure pro builds at SEMA, was built-in along side it yard of Stair’s parents’ house. Apart from body and paint, this was a shadetree job. Stair says it took a few years, devoting nearly every night and weekend to transforming a rusty and dented Firebird into his dream machine.
Other finalists included a Street Freak-style 1969 Corvette from Florida, cartoony 1959 Chevy Ute nicknamed the “Hulk-amino”, Rocket Bunny-style Cayman, 1,000-horsepower Chevy Apache, V8-powered Mini Cooper, stanced Fiat 126 from Germany, chopped VW Brasilia from Mexico, along with a race-ready 1976 Hillman Imp from the U.K. Cars were judged on creativity, authenticity, and built-not-bought spirit. Look for the Trans-Am to appear in the 2021 Hot Wheels lineup.