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1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Is New ‘Hot Wheels Legends’ Car

  • A Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am was totally reimagined into something far cooler, and the judges of the Hot Wheels Legends Tour were convinced it was the winner.
  • Builder Riley Stair worked on it for almost two years.
  • Now that the 1970 Firebird is the third Legends Car winner, it will be built in 1:64 scale and sold worldwide.

    Riley Stair spent 20 months in a lean-to in his parents’ side yard building what is now generally acknowledged as the greatest Pontiac Firebird ever made. And now Hot Wheels and the judges of the Hot Wheels Legends Tour have agreed with that general assessment, naming it the third car to gain status as a 1:64-scale Hot Wheels Legends car, meaning it will be manufactured into a little toy car and sold around the world. Your own kid might be playing with it on your kitchen floor come 2021.

    “Yeah, so, it’s a bit wider than stock,” Stair told Hoonigan last year. “It’s a single layer of Pontiac, the rest is all tube chassis.”

    Indeed, the car is seven feet wide, a stat that seems to have fascinated almost everyone who has seen it and fully everyone who has written about it in the two years since its debut. The flares are 18-gauge steel sheet he made himself. It has inboard pushrod suspension. The 400-cubic-inch LSV8 revs to 10,000 rpm. The exhaust oozes forward of the engine block like Play-Doh extruded from a Play-Doh press.

    “Everything but the paint and powder was done in the side yard of the house,” Stair said.

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    Clearly, Stair is an artist. Let’s hope he is still working on cars. If there’s ever another SEMA show, let’s hope he is there with his next build.

    As for the Hot Wheels Legends Tour, the Tour started as an actual worldwide multi-city tour that included stops in Europe, Latin America, Asia and North America. More than 110,000 people stopped in on the tour to see the cars. There were almost 5000 cars entered. The last winner was a Nash, a car you might have a hard time seeing as cool, but check it out.

    This year, with the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tour went virtual. Our Road & Track brethren teamed with the iconic company and became a virtual stop on the tour. The final stop was live-streamed from Jay Leno’s Garage, co-hosted by auto media personality Jarod DeAnda and Leno himself on Leno’s YouTube page and the Hot Wheels Facebook page. The judges included Leno, Snoop Dogg, Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, and Brionna Lynch. Special guests included 007 driver Ben Collins, Paxton Booth, and Tony Stewart. That panel then whittled down the choices from thousands of cars to one. So far only two other cars have made it to miniaturization; Stair’s is the third.

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    “By going virtual, the third year of the Hot Wheels Legends Tour demonstrated tremendous growth, engaging over 10 million fans from around the world,” said Ted Wu, vice president, global head of design for vehicles at Mattel. “With more vehicle entries this year than ever before, we know we found a special build that embodies the Hot Wheels challenger spirit with the ’70 Pontiac Trans Am. You see the vehicle and instantly know it is meant to be a Hot Wheels with the unique frame, engine, and purpose-driven build.”

    “To have my car immortalized as a Hot Wheels die-cast for car lovers of all ages to enjoy means the world to me,” said Legends Tour Winner Riley Stair. “To think that my car in a 1:64 scale could make a lasting impression for a young kid who loves cars, as Hot Wheels have for so many of us, is a dream come true. I can’t wait to see my nephew Noah pushing my car around the living room!”

    Looking forward to having one for the desk.

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