Hot Wheels has announced the winner of the 2021 Legends Tour: it’s a 1969 Volvo P1800 gasser owned by England-based Lee Johnstone. Built from a bare shell, the V8-powered hot rod will join the toy manufacturer’s catalog of 1/64-scale model by the end of 2022.
Designers and key figures from the automotive industry chose the P1800 after looking at contestants from 11 countries on five continents. The list of finalists also included a 1991 Porsche 911 turned into a Baja race car, a 1969 Dodge Charger fitted with extra-wide tires and powered by a Richard Petty V8 engine tuned to 740 horsepower, and a 1968 Mercedes-Benz 250S called High Class that rides on a frame sourced from a 1984 Chevrolet S-10. Substantial skill and originality went into each build, but Johnstone’s hot rod stood out above the rest.
“The Volvo Gasser is a wonderful expression of authenticity, creativity, and most importantly garage spirit,” said Ted Wu, the vice president and global head of design for vehicles at Mattel. Wu was one of the panelists that picked the P1800.
Johnstone explained his P1800 was little more than a rusty shell that was too far gone to restore when he acquired it. Instead of scrapping it, he decided to build it into a gasser powered by a 454-cubic-inch V8 plucked from the Chevrolet parts bin and supercharged to develop around 600 horsepower. Fitted with dual four-barrel carburetors, and nicknamed “Ain’t no Saint,” it reportedly runs a 10.01-second quarter mile at 133 mph. Johnstone regularly races the P1800 in the United Kingdom with help from his three daughter and his wife, Sue.
Hot Wheels is scheduled to release the P1800 in late 2022, Autoblog learned from a spokesperson. Turning a car into a toy is a surprisingly lengthy and meticulous process that involves collecting numerous photos, converting them into sketches (and, if needed, tweaking some of the proportions to better fit the 1/64 scale), making a 3D digital model using a software called Freeform, and printing test cars.