Get to Know – Hot Wheels Designer Brendon Vetuskey

As car fans, we explicitly know what drives our fandom.

But what about those who help fuel that fanaticism? What are their favorite castings, real-life cars and more?

We decided to find out via our new series where we ask icons and veterans from the world of model cars about the automobiles that helped shape their lives.

Today we’re chatting with Hot Wheels designer Brendon Vetuskey. Brendon got his start as a product designer for Jakks Pacific, before joining Mattel in 2007 and working particularly with vehicle-based track sets. Some of his most notable designs include work for Trick Tracks, Mighty Minis and the Then & Now series. Oh, Brendon is of course also one of our Shareholders, so while he works for us we here at hobbyDB also work for him!

Stay tuned for more chats with renowned designers, influencers and more arriving in the near future!


Now meet Brendon Vetuskey!

1. What are 3 of your own favorite castings?

2. What are 3 of your all-time favorite castings by other designers of your brand?

3. What are 3 of your favorite models by any brand other than your own?

Hot Wheels

4. What are your 3 favorite 1:1 cars of all-time?

5. What are 3 favorite cars that you’ve owned?

This one?  Many HW Collectors are glad that you own this!


6. What are 3 favorite cars that you’ve driven?

I haven’t driven enough of them yet to give a good answer, lol.


7. What are 3 cars you’d like to drive?


8. What are 3 of your favorite car races?

I don’t have specific races to cite, but I would have loved to have been around in the 60’s to have seen guys like Ken Miles in action or in Detroit to see some fabled street racing on Woodward Ave (especially with the rumored factory experimental cars out at night) or some old school gassers running at long gone drag strips like Lions, etc.

Ken Miles


9. What are 3 of your favorite car events, e.g. toy fairs, swap meets or Concours d’Elegance, etc.?

SEMA is always fun


10. Who are 3 of your favorite car people?

  • Carroll Shelby – without him we wouldn’t have a Cobra.
  • John De Lorean – without him we might not have had muscle cars as we know them (with Pontiac leading the genre).
  • Virgil Exner – without him we wouldn’t have had the most beautiful looking cars ever made (forward look MOPARs).


11. What are 3 of your favorite car scenes from movies or television?

  • Opening scene in Two Lane Black Top
  • Bullitt car chase
  • A specific moment in the movie Christine where Arnie starts up Christine (the car) in the rain- you hear the sound of the (Golden Commando 350 V8) engine, the wipers turn on, the lights slowly turn come on and the song “I Wonder Why” by Dion and the Belmonts starts to play. It’s that moment in the movie with that song that I can credit to liking doo wop music…

YouTube player


What’s an unknown fact about your brand that makes you want to work there forever?

I can’t say this is unknown, but one great thing about what we do is we have the opportunity to apply our passion of cars by creating 1:64 scale cars, and these in turn fuel the passion or inspire others out in the world for cars, whether by playing with, collecting, or both, for the next generation.


What is your most funny car fail?

In college, I had a 1972 Buick Skylark, and one year when back from summer break I noticed there were some large empty washer/dryer boxes by the street out in front of the dorms. As I had a few fraternity brothers in the car I thought it would be fun to hop over the curb and take out said boxes. We were in a tank, after all. Only at the last moment did one of my brothers speak up and inform me that they were not empty boxes, at which point I swerved and only bumped the edge with the side of my car. He was right, those boxes weren’t empty, but they were moved a few feet and the passenger side of my car was pushed in a bit. I never did go back to see if I had caused any damage to them or not.


What’s a design fail of yours that you can look back and laugh about now?

Hmmm. Drawing a blank here : )


What’s the one car you’d remove from Earth and erase its memory?

Not a fan of hybrids.


What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!




Join more than 1,100 fellow collectors (including Brendon!) in owning a part of hobbyDB via our latest round of Crowdfunding. Investing with hobbyDB is easy and can be done for as little as $100. Full detail available here!

hobbyDB Crowdfunding

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

Great top three lists!!! I clicked though to see what they were on the ones I did not know, which were many! It would have taken me weeks to decide those listed for myself!

Isaac Nelson
2 years ago
Reply to  Karl

Right? I learned a lot, too! I didn’t know that Matchbox Willys existed, and now I have one on order 😅

2 years ago

Woohoohoo! More of these please!

2 years ago

Very cool idea! Brendon, you have some great taste and do some awesome work!

2 years ago

I have to say that my passion for Hot Wheels started back when they first came out. I was unable to start kindergarden beacause my birth month is December and the school year started in August, I had to wait another year thus I spent my summers at my Grandparents house in Lodi CA. I spent many an evening building the HO scale train track with my grandfather and he took me to the pomona speedway on may occassions, which only fueled my passion for cars.He was a mechanic and I came to a point I could tell you what type and brand a car was just by the Sillhouette (A Hot Wheel I have several of). One particular race I went to in Pomona sparked a need for more realistic looking cars, race cars to be exact because anyone who knows HO scale, or any scale for that matter, the cars were cheap plastic and not authentic in any way.

So we went looking for some sort of race cars to add to the train track and couldnot find anything, nascar and racing were not that popular in the diecast aisles and what was there, Matchbox, Johnny Lightning, and Corgi just did not fit the style as realistic looking cars (at the time). I did know that Hot Wheels were coming out as I watched many commercials (cartoon shorts since the were as long as 15 minutes) about the new Hot Wheels coming out. Back then I watched speed racer insessantly and wanted to have a mach5 of my own to race one day. I had one or two toy mach 5’s back then but what really kicked my passion in high gear was when Mattel produced the Custom Corvette, which quickly became my favorite. I still have the first one I picked up to this day displayed in a shadow box with the button along with the other 11 Harry Bradley created. I have copy 5 of a print he drew depicting those first 12 of the Original 16 in that same shadow box.

So for me my number one favorite is the Custom Corvette. I currently own and have mostly restored a 1:1 1976 Corvette so in a sense I have and drive the closest thing to the Mach 5 as the sope and curves are very similar.

Of course my next favorite is Jeep. I have onwed several Jeep Cherokee Laredo’s and won a couple trophy’s at Dumont Sand dunes where the Las Vegas 4-Wheeler club would descend upon for a week of sand drag racing and hill climbing on Presidents Day weekend in February.

My thid favorite is the Chevy Nova. I high school I first drove my dads 68 impala station wagon and broke the heart of many people thinking they had a fast car. This was an excelent sleeper wagon as it has the 327 with a power glide transmission and came stock with a four barrel carb. If only my dad knew what I put that car through, but the time came to get my own car and the first was a 73 Ford Gran Torino, not quite the Starsky and Hutch version but that thing could get and go. Eventually I ran across a 74 that a put a crate engine 350 in and the fun only continued at that point. Cant even count how many times I had that thing sideways coming around corners and the street racing down Fremont street was nothing but a rush.

I am now closing in on the completion of my museum floor layout that is housing my Hot Wheels collection and encompasses more than just Hot Wheels Cars. Once I am complete later this summer I am going to post pictures here to showcase my lifetime collection of Hot Wheels, Ho Scale trains and Models. Those who have witnessed the contruction and collection have been in awe.

John Kuvakas
John Kuvakas
2 years ago

Love all the fascinating background here.

Tom Stone
Tom Stone
2 years ago

That scene from Two Lane Black Top is just awesome (it is one of my top 3 movies). I reall y like a lot of your recent blog posts but this one is the best so far! Keep it up!

Two Lane Black Top.jpeg
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x