Ten Hot Wheels Models So Cool They Inspired Real, Full-Sized Cars

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

We recently looked at some great Hot Wheels cars that were inspired by actual cars that were umm… not that great. Today, we’re turning the tables on that.

On several occasions, Hot Wheels has produced models that were so over-the-top awesome that they inspired someone to make a real-sized running version of that car. Let’s clarify that a bit… We’re talking about miniature vehicles made by Hot Wheels (which may have been inspired by an actual running production car or even a scale model kit from another company) that served as the template for someone to create a functioning full-size car based on that crazy model.

Got all that? Good. Here they are, including the most authentic reproductions as well as ones requiring a bit of squinting and maybe a little suspension of disbelief to make them work.

Twin Mill

hot wheels twin mill redline

Possibly the most quintessentially perfect Hot Wheels design ever, the original Twin Mill has been reproduced in several scales from standard 1:64 to a 16-inch-long remote control car. But the most majestic Twin Mill is the real, running, full-size version produced by Mattel in the late 1990s. The car is faithfully scaled up from the original, but also features amazing new details like the flame-treaded tires and the twin hood-mounted tachs perfectly angled for the driver.

Deora II

deora ii 2

The original Redline Deora was based on a Dodge concept pickup truck built from the cab-forward, mid engine A-100, so it doesn’t qualify for this list. But in the early 1990s, Chip Foose and company designed the Deora II, a modern take on that truck. The toy was popular enough that Mattel later commissioned a big version of this truck. While the design looks kind of dated a quarter century on, who wouldn’t find garage space for it?

Rip Rod

hot wheels rip rod

Flash forward to to the 21st century, when Hot Wheels introduced the Rip Rod, a fenderless 1930s baja coupe representing no specific brand of car… that is, until the folks at Ford decided a full size version of it would be a nice showcase for their latest EcoBoost engine technology. You’d drive the snot out of that thing, right?

Bone Shaker

hot wheels bone shaker

The Bone Shaker was another miniature design inspired by the rat rod movement, but not representing any particular prototype. Yet here we have a real version of the chopped, channeled pickup, complete with the skull-shaped grill shroud. As with the previous cars, Mattel authorized this jumbo version to trot out at trade shows.

Bump Around

hot wheels bump around

For many of us, bumper cars were the first time we got to really cut loose behind the wheel of a self-powered car, and one that was designed to crash into things at that! So, of course we love the Hot Wheels version. This street rod may or may have not been inspired by the miniature, but can we all agree it looks like it would be fun to drive into stuff?

Darth Vader car

hot wheels darth vader

In honor of the latest “Star Wars” film, the folks at Hot Wheels created a series of model cars that captured the look and feel of several characters from that galaxy far, far away. The baddest one has to be the Darth Vader ride, which looks like the result if the Twin Mill mated with Vader’s helmet. So, yeah, of course they built a real one. And it is extremely bad. You can watch a video of it with Jay Leno, because, yeah, he’s Jay Leno.

Scrape Modified

hot wheels 1939 lincoln zephyr

What, you don’t have this one in the blister? Well, the Custom ’39 Lincoln was first introduced as a 1:18 Hot Wheels model when the company dabbled in that scale. Even though it’s originally based on a production car, the real version considered here is a faithful reproduction of the model, including the slammed, bumperless body and the dazzling purple paint. The model was available in other schemes as well.

Whatta Drag

hot wheels bmw isetta whatta drag

This car made our previous list, becaue it’s a ridiculous scale model hot rod based on a puny micro car. But that ridiculous model became the inspiration for an accurately detailed, 1:1 ride by microcar collector Bruce Wiener from a spare Isetta shell that was sitting around his garage. It supposedly cranks at over 700 horsepower, which is about 695 more than the original bubble car. Whatta hoot!

Express Lane

hot wheels express lane

At some point in life (probably around age two, but for some of us, well into adulthood), we’ve all pretended that our shopping cart was a race car. So when Hot Wheels made a model of such a thing, it resonated deeply with a lot of people. Apparently deeply enough with a few grocery store chains (Schnucks, H-E-B, Save-Mart) who made their own giant show drag shopping carts, because we only live once, and we need to shop fast.

Hot Wheels Edition Camaro

hot wheels camaro 2013

Lastly, we have the latest generation of the Chevy Camaro. When Hot Wheels released a variant of this car in their proprietary shade of metallic blue, complete with flaming logos on the fenders, it was only natural that GM would copy the look for a 2013 special edition of their production car right down to the redlines and 5-spokes. As customs go, this one was pretty easy to execute. But of all the cars on the list, this is the only one you could actually buy if you weren’t Jay Leno. Now if we only had some giant orange track to run on!

Can you think of any others to add to this list? Add them to the comments below! Remember, the Hot Wheels model had to come before the real car, not the other way around.

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Tony Hammons
8 years ago

The Red Baron would a awesome car to replicate!

todd young
8 years ago
Reply to  Tony Hammons

https://youtu.be/ghbspW67nrA. The Red Baron, Silhouette, Boot Hill Express, Deora, Engine 13, Sand Crab, Raiders Rader to name a few were all real. A couple years ago All the original Show Cars were at Autorama in Detroit Mi.

William Boyden
William Boyden
8 years ago

I’ve seen video of the Rip Rod in the original red & black racing around on the dirt that looked a little different than the Ford version pictured. There is a winged Frog-type dune buggy and maybe more on the Hot Wheels web site or there abouts.

8 years ago

I would love to have all of them, or at least take each of them for a spin! Great to see what a custom car builder can do.

hobbyDB Team
7 years ago

Great models, great cars!

I love the Isetta!

Doctor Danno
5 years ago

The Splittin Image!!

Bone boy
Bone boy
3 years ago

Gimme gimme I want twin mill and bone shaker only

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