Last year during our annual pilgrimage to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas we got a dose of the Hot Wheels Legends Tour; the car-search campaign wrapped up in Sin City at the trade show, where tour organizers selected Luis Rodriguez's 2JetZ build from over a dozen finalists to become the newest 1:64th die-cast addition to the Hot Wheels Garage lineup (look for our BTS article about how Rodriguez's 2JZ-powered one-off build got scaled down for public consumption). Our visit to the LA stop of the 2019 tour—set just around the corner from Mattel's headquarters', and a stone's throw away from our home base oddly enough—was officially our first, and the two experiences were not wholly dissimilar. Life-sized toy cars? Check. Iconic orange plastic tracks set up for extreme small-scale fun? Check. Car lovin' parents and their kids enjoying their asses off? Double check.
Don't get us wrong, there were lots of different types of enthusiasts at the Saturday morning meet-n-mingle, just like there were builds from all walks of enthusiast life—tuner cars, Euros, lowriders, lifted trucks, classics, etc. But this was one of the few events we've been to where there was a section for the kids—not a huge stretch for a toy company, but then a toy company putting on a car meet is pretty unusual in and of itself. Hot Wheels secured a warehouse parking lot for the Legends Tour stop, and on the loading dock they set up several stations for the tykes, where they could take a die-cast and send it down a chute, or over a set of whoops, or through a series of loops.
For the adults, Hot Wheels invited some of the best—and most popular—project vehicles in the area, in addition to displaying a handful of its own 1:1 scale versions of their toys. In the Honda camp (the Big H even had an official booth there), Bisimoto posted up its Wagovan v2.0, while off in some remote corner of the show we found the Rod Emory 356 RSR Outlaw fresh off its Luftgekuhlt 6 outing. Leon Casino's timeless NSX was also in the mix, and we brought out our projects Corolla and 10th-gen. Civic Si.
The whip that left the deepest impression in our minds, though, was the "overland" Lexus LS sedan we stumbled across—complete with fender flares, roof rack, rally lights, and lift to house some knobby oversized BFG ATs at the corners; to the owner: sir (or madam), we don't know who you are, but we love your buff, '90s-era luxury sedan. Dive into the gallery to see what else turned up for the Los Angeles leg of the 2019 Hot Wheels Legends Tour, and to see a list of future stops head over to HWLT microsite.