The annual Hot Wheels Legends Tour kicked off in Miami, Florida, on May 13, and the judges have selected 2023’s first semifinalist. Finished in a head-turning shade of blue, this heavily-modified 1989 Volkswagen Cabriolet could get scaled-down and added to the Hot Wheels catalog.
Pembroke Pines, Florida, resident Giraldo Penton bought this drop-top in 2016 as a “run-down” project car. Instead of keeping it stock, he set out to build a one-of-a-kind Cabriolet that turns heads everywhere it goes. Hot Wheels notes that the list of modifications includes a Berg Cup body kit, a Clipper body kit and15-inch BBS Flip Face wheels. Lambo Blue paint adds a finishing touch to the design.
Suspension modifications significantly lower the ride height — Penton’s Cabriolet sits just a few inches off the ground. Inside, there’s a three-spoke Nardi steering wheel, white upholstery, a Pioneer head unit and numerous small modifications like bright window cranks.
Hot Wheels hasn’t released photos of the Volkswagen’s engine bay, and that’s likely because it sounds like there isn’t much to see under the hood. The brand notes that Penton stopped short of making mechanical modifications, meaning power comes from a fuel-injected, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 90 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque. It spins the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission.
By winning the Miami round, this Cabriolet will move on to one of the two semifinal rounds scheduled to take place in late 2023. We don’t know which cars it will need to compete against to win, but this year’s Legends Tour promises to be highly competitive: Hot Wheels plans to visit eight American cities and a total of 17 countries, including France and Italy, to find the next car it will add to its range of 1/64-scale cars.
The contest is open to just about anything with wheels and an engine as long as it has been modified. For context, the judges selected a 1992 Autozam Scrum — a tiny pickup built to Japan’s kei car specifications — turned into a V8-powered monster truck as the winner.