Ford Rolls Out Some Hot Wheels at SEMA – A Hot Wheels Transit Connect

Detroit maker sends a Kiss to car collecting rock ‘n roll fans.

by on Nov.07, 2013

Ford's life-size Hot Wheels concept began life as a 2014 Transit Connect van.

Ford has rolled out a set of hot wheels for SEMA.  Make that Hot Wheels, the maker becoming the latest to honor the popular Mattel toy line with a running, life-size model – this one based on the latest Ford Transit Connect van.

Dark blue with bright orange accents, a “Hot Wheels” logo and the sort of fins and fender details one might expect on a toy car, the concept vehicle is on display all week at the huge Las Vegas automotive aftermarket show known as the SEMA Show.  Ford is just the latest maker to honor the popular toy with a full-size concept.

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“The Hot Wheels design team jumped at the chance to hot rod a Transit Connect van. The idea was to create a race inspired support vehicle for the average guy to spend a weekend at the track testing his Hot Wheels race car,” said Felix Holst, vice president of creative for the Mattel Wheels Division.

Shannon Tweed and Kiss star Gene Simmons with the F100 truck they'll auction off for charity.

It’s perhaps no surprise Ford came up with the flashy version of its all-new 2014 Transit Connect.  The Hot Wheels series has been around since 1968 and kids – as well as many adult fans – have snapped up 4 billion of the line’s model cars since then.

(Click Here to check out the latest spy shots of the 2015 Ford Mustang.)

The Hot Wheels Transit Connect is more than just a van with a flashy paint job and decals.  The sliding side doors have been replaced by gullwing doors.  The rear wheels have been widened with the body panels flared out to accommodate the larger wheels.  There are three shark fins on the back of the roof and scoops on the hood. To complete the package, there are three widescreen TV sets inside.

“It has everything you need to spend a weekend at the track,” suggested Holst,” though he didn’t say whether that meant the race track or the little orange plastic tracks that Hot Wheels cars run on.

There’s no word on whether Ford plans to offer any of the modifications made for the Hot Wheels Transit Connect concept, though the use of gullwing doors in a production vehicle seems unlikely.

That said, Chevrolet recently sold a limited-edition Hot Wheels Camaro that first appeared at the SEMA Show a couple years back in concept form.

(Hot Wheels Camaro is no toy. Click Here for the story.)

Ford is one of many mainstream makers to come to the SEMA Show with a mix of practical and occasionally wild concept vehicles.  It also showed off the new EcoBoost Daytona Prototype race car it plans to take to the track next year.

But one of the biggest draws at the maker’s SEMA news conference was a classic 1956 Ford F-100 pickup modified with “hints” of legendary racer and car designer the late Carroll Shelby.  The restored truck was pulled together as part of a charity effort led by former Playboy model Shannon Tweed and her husband Gene Simmons – the lead singer of rock band Kiss.

The pickup will be sold off at the Barrett-Jackson Auction next January and proceeds will be used to fund a new children’s hospital in Tweed’s native home of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Grabbing the microphone to make a preliminary pitch, Simmons declared, “We’re looking for a million dollars,” adding that to get bids that high, “I’ll do anything you want. I’ll come over to your house and cook.”

He also offered to perform a few other services that got Ford officials joining him on the stand to blush.

ction next January and proceeds will be used to fund a new children’s hospital in Tweed’s native home of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

 

Grabbing the microphone to make a preliminary pitch, Simmons declared, “We’re looking for a million dollars,” adding that to get bids that high, “I’ll do anything you want. I’ll come over to your house and cook.”

He also offered to perform a few other services that got Ford officials joining him on the stand to blush.

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