For more than 50 years Hot Wheels® has captured the imaginations of kids and adults worldwide with incredible, boundless automotive design possibilities. MotorTrend is bringing the kid in all of us inside the remarkable world of Hot Wheels in the original short-form series LIFE SIZE, streaming now on the MotorTrend App, the only subscription streaming service dedicated entirely to the motoring world.
In every episode of LIFE SIZE, professional race car driver and builder Nicole Lyons explores the real-world, full-scale versions of vehicles from the Hot Wheels Garage of Legends, an elite collection of Hot Wheels cars. These automotive creations are rarely seen. Lyons not only details the unique designs and interesting facts of each vehicle but gets to do something many people only dream of doing – taking the life size version for a test drive.
The first episode, “Bone Shaker”, streaming now on the MotorTrend App, shines the spotlight on what quickly became one of the most beloved, collectable Hot Wheels after debuting in 2006. Bone Shaker was created by the legendary “Mr. Hot Wheels” – Larry Wood. It’s an open roof, skull-grilled, spinal-column shifted hot rod that epitomizes what people love about both Hot Wheels and homemade cars. Lyons meets up with Larry Wood at the 2019 Grand National Roadster Show where they discuss Wood’s more than 50 years at Hot Wheels, the influences on Bone Shaker’s design and the subtle difference between the diecast hot rod and the life size version. Finally, Lyons takes the Bone Shaker for a drive, really opening it up so audiences get a sense for what 425 horsepower can do in a 1932 Ford style hot rod.
Upcoming episodes of LIFE SIZE premiere Mondays on the MotorTrend App including:
Monday, March 30
The Twin Mill is largely thought of as the car that defined Hot Wheels and is so iconic that it was the first car Hot Wheels commissioned to make life size. Twin Mill has two engines, two superchargers and zero visibility. Lyons visits Action Vehicle Engineering (where these cars are maintained) and talks to Hot Wheels’ Sr. Design Manager for Die-Cast Vehicles, Bryan Benedict. Bryan lends insight into the monumental influence that the Twin Mill has had within Hot Wheels, his personal career and the car world at large. After Nicole and Bryan highlight all the full-size Twin Mill attributes, Lyons takes the temperamental, dual engine behemoth on a test drive through the desert where things get smoky.
“Hot Wheels Stunt Cars”
Monday, April 6
As kids, everyone loved sending Hot Wheels cars through a loop or off a jump – imagining what it would be like to do that with real cars. Hot Wheels decided to make that dream reality in 2012 when they sent two cars through a six-story loop and had another perform a record-breaking corkscrew jump. On this episode, Lyons meets with Alton Takeyasu, the man in charge of the stunt cars and Tanner Foust, one of the daring men to get behind the wheel. Lyons learns what it takes to make it through these crazy stunts and what modifications had to go into the cars. Afterwards, Lyons and Foust hop in the stunt cars –
the Loop Coupe and the Corkscrew Buggy – for a drive around Willow Springs Raceway, learning that these stripped-down powerhouses were not built for comfort.
“Brendan Vetusky Firebird”
Monday, April 13
Every car in LIFE SIZE was a car designed in 1:64th scale first and then built full scale. Brendon Vetusky, a Hot Wheels designer, did the opposite by making a full-sized 1967 Firebird first then turning it into a Hot Wheels die-cast vehicle. In this episode, Lyons meets Brendon in California where he built the Firebird in his driveway. Brendan takes viewers through all the modifications he made to the Pontiac as he built it into a stripped down, racecourse ready monster. Also, he talks about how he became a designer at Hot Wheels, his history with die-cast cars, and the overlap between making full sized cars and working for Mattel. Because the car was built for the track, Lyons hops in the passenger seat as Brendon crushes a rallycross course at Famoso Raceway.
Monday, April 20
The Deora was one of the original Hot Wheels cars to come off the line in 1968. It was a weird looking take on a Dodge pickup concept with two surfboards that people loved. It has long been the illustration of how Hot Wheels captured the hearts and minds of young, American car lovers. In 2000, Hot Wheels issued the Deora II, and for their 35th anniversary in 2003, they commissioned the full-sized version. Lyons gives viewers the low down on the Chip Foose designed, full-size Deora II – from its bubble shaped cockpit to its supercharged rear engine powerhouse. Lyons then has fun taking Deora II on a cruise up the Pacific Coast Highway, where it turns heads.
Monday, April 27
Over the years Hot Wheels has created cars based upon fan favorite characters from the worlds of film and television. In the finale episode of LIFE SIZE, Lyons explores the challenges to designing a car based upon a fictional character, as well as the ability to stay faithful to the original when creating a life size version.
About LIFE SIZE Host Nicole Lyons
Nicole Lyons followed in her father’s footsteps as a race car driver and engine builder, eventually starting in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Super Street class in 2005 before moving on to Super Gas and Super Comp the next season. Lyons is the first African American woman to compete in the NHRA Top Sportsman and American Drag Racing League Top Sportsman classes. She also made her mark in Outlaw Pro Mod, winning several events. In 2013, she started racing in the NASCAR Whelen Series, a points championship for short track racing. Not only is she the first African American woman to finish a Whelen race, she is the first woman to compete in NASCAR and NHRA in the same season. In addition to racing, Lyons owns the automotive restoration shop Cole Muscle Cars. She was also featured as an engine specialist in TV series “Car Warriors”.
The MotorTrend App offers nearly 8,000 episodes and roughly 4,000 hours of world-leading automotive series and specials including the most complete collection of classic TOP GEAR (200+ episodes and specials spanning seasons one thru 25), the upcoming all-new TOP GEAR AMERICA and every season of ROADKILL, WHEELER DEALERS, FAST N’ LOUD, OVERHAULIN’, BITCHIN’ RIDES, TEXAS METAL, IRON RESURRECTION and many more. The MotorTrend App is available for Prime Video customers in the U.S. on Prime Video Channels and on Amazon FireTV in addition to other media players and streaming devices including Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast and on the web, as well as across iPhone, iPad, and Android mobile devices.
LIFE SIZE is produced for the MotorTrend App by MotorTrend Studios. Levi Rugg is executive producer for MotorTrend Studios. For MotorTrend Group, Mike Suggett is head of programming and development and Alex Wellen is global president and general manager.
Mattel is a leading global children’s entertainment company that specializes in design and production of quality toys and consumer products. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain and develop children through play. We engage consumers through our portfolio of iconic franchises, including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, American Girl®, Fisher-Price®, Thomas & Friends® and Mega®, as well as other popular brands that we own or license in partnership with global entertainment companies. Our offerings include film and television content, gaming, music and live events. We operate in 40 locations and sell products in more than 150 countries in collaboration with the world’s leading retail and technology companies. Since its founding in 1945, Mattel is proud to be a trusted partner in exploring the wonder of childhood and empowering kids to reach their full potential. Visit us online at www.mattel.com.
About MotorTrend Group
MotorTrend Group is the largest automotive media company in the world, bringing together Discovery’s fast-growing MotorTrend TV, formerly Velocity, and a vast automotive digital, direct-to-consumer, social, and live event portfolio, including MOTORTREND, HOT ROD, ROADKILL, AUTOMOBILE, and more than 20 other industry-leading brands. With a monthly audience of 26 million across web, TV, and print, and 110 million social followers, culminating in 2 billion monthly content views across all platforms, the company encompasses television’s #1 network for automotive superfans, a leading automotive YouTube Channel, and the MotorTrend App, the only auto-dedicated subscription video-on-demand service. MotorTrend serves to embrace, entertain, and empower the motoring world.
Discovery, Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is a global leader in real life entertainment, serving a passionate audience of superfans around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains. Discovery delivers over 8,000 hours of original programming each year and has category leadership across deeply loved content genres around the world. Available in 220 countries and territories and nearly 50 languages, Discovery is a platform innovator, reaching viewers on all screens, including TV Everywhere products such as the GO portfolio of apps; direct-to-consumer streaming services such as Eurosport Player, Food Network Kitchen and MotorTrend OnDemand; digital-first and social content from Group Nine Media; a landmark natural history and factual content partnership with the BBC; and a strategic alliance with PGA TOUR to create the international home of golf. Discovery’s portfolio of premium brands includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and the forthcoming multi-platform JV with Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe. For more information, please visit corporate.discovery.com and follow @DiscoveryIncTV across social platforms.
*Photo credit: Povi Pullinen