Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hot Wheels Designer's Challenge Review

Last May, I decided to collect the line of Hot Wheels® Designer’s ChallengeTM. My effort to find the series was not so difficult. I was able to collect 7 cars of the series after visited 15 mini marts in my city (Surabaya, Indonesia). I bought each of them for IDR 50.000 which equals to around US$ 4.25. The line itself was late in Indonesia since it launched in 2008 in US. The cars were made in Thailand. Almost all of the packages have some blisters, however I am glad the cars are mint.

About the line itself, the Designer's ChallengeTM was created as a way for Hot Wheels® to honor its automotive partners and have them actively participate in the die-cast brand's 40th anniversary celebration in 2008. The Hot Wheels’ ® producer, Mattel did something it's never done before. It asked outside designers to come up with designs for its die cast cars.

Automotive manufacturer participants in the Hot Wheels® Designer's Challenge™ - Dodge, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Lotus and Mitsubishi - were tasked with designing a car that captured the die-cast brand's core essence of speed, power, performance and attitude, while also encompassing the distinct attributes of each company's automotive brand values. In addition, each car had to be able to perform a loop on classic Hot Wheels® orange track.

From each manufacturer, Mattel selected three designs which were then judged by a panel that included Hot Wheels executives and designers as well as editors from the Los Angeles Times, Car and Driver magazine, and Men's Journal magazine.

The designs selected for the Hot Wheels® Designer's ChallengeTM line include:

1. Dodge XP-07 (Dodge, designed by Mark Reisen)

The Dodge XP-07 was designed by Marc Reisen, who says Hot Wheels® track sets spark fond memories for him (he still collects Hot Wheels® cars that catch his eye). In designing the Dodge XP-07, Reisen’s inspirations were the Chrysler Turbine showcar era, ‘80s muscle cars, and the Hot Wheels® Twin Mill. Twin XP-07 turbine engines, functional air intakes, and turret-style glass combine to give this Designer’s ChallengeTM winner an epic look made for breaking land-speed records.

2. Gangster GrinTM (Ford, designed by Steve Gilmore)

Ford’s Gangster GrinTM was designed by Steven Gilmore. After college, Gilmore drove cross-country from Ohio to California for an internship, which helped prepare him for his career in car design. In designing the Gangster GrinTM, Gilmore wanted to use some of the best design features from Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury to create a car befitting a “mob boss.” Published trim outlining the body, a ’49 Ford-inspired grille, and ghost flames make this Designer’s ChallengeTM winner look menacing yet elegant.

3. GM ChevroletorTM (General Motors, designed by Amaury Diaz-Serrano)

The ChevroletorTM was designed by Amaury Diaz-Serrano. The proud owner of 500 mint redline Hot Wheels® cars, Diaz-Serrano says his love for desing was definitely influenced by Hot Wheels cars. In designing the Chevroletor, Diaz Serrano made a car that combined row power with the styling of land speed record cars of the 1930s. Roof-mounted torpedoes, side fender loops, and a 1500 hp V16 engine give this Designer’s ChallengeTM winner the look of a gladiator ready for battle.

4. Honda Racer (Honda, designed by Guillermo Gonzalez)

The Honda Racer was designed by Guillermo Gonzalez. Growing up in East LA, Gonzalez remembers buying Hot Wheels® track from the second-hand stores and setting up elaborate courses with jumps built on stacks of books, which fueled his desire to become a car designer. Built in the shape of the Honda “H” emblem, Gonzalez combined iconic styling, power, and racing heritage into his design. A powerful V10 engine and twisted exhaust make this Designer’s ChallengeTM winner the ultimate Honda racer.

5. Lotus Concept (Lotus, designed by Steven Crijns)

The Lotus Concept was designed by Steven Crijns. Crijns grew up in Belgium, where they did not have Hot Wheels® cars at the time, but says he had a small obsession with Matchbox® cars, which heavily influenced his decision to become a car designer. In designing the Lotus Concept, Crijns wanted to make a car that looked fun to drive while showing off Lotus’s engineering philosophy. Pronounced wheel arches, a curvaceous body, and lightweight design give this Designer’s ChallengeTM winner the look of speed and performance.

6. Mitsubishi Double ShotzTM (Mitsubishi, designed by Gary Ragle)

The Mitsubishi Double ShotzTM was designed by Gary Ragle. As a child, Ragle custom-painted and even waxed his Hot Wheels® cars, saying they definitely influenced his decision to become a car designer. In designing the Mitsubishi Double ShotzTM, Ragle made a car that celebrates Mitsubishi’s rally-winning heritage. Two exposed engines, strong wheel arches, and a wrap-around windshield make this Designer’s ChallengeTM winner the ultimate rally weapon.

7. HW-40™ (Hot Wheels®, designed by Jun Imai)

The HW-40TM was designed by Jun Imai. As a child, Imai never imagined he would end up worked alongside Larry Wood, who designed Imai’s very first Hot Wheels car, the Dicie Challenger. In designing the HW-40TM, Imai made it fit for drag, drift, road course, or trips to the toy store. The jet turbine engine, seamless body, and one-piece “glass” hood and windshield make this Designer’s ChallengeTM winner look bold, aggressive, and muscular.

In my opinion the most beautiful from my collection is Lotus Concept. It has very smooth shapes and lines. However, if asked which one has the most unique design I would say that Honda Racer’s design is astonishing.

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