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NBC is launching a primetime TV show where teams compete to build the best full-size Hot Wheels-esque car, with the winner destined to be cast as a real Hot Wheels model.
The show will premiere on NBC TV on Tuesday, May 30 at 10 p.m. ET and will be available to stream on Peacock the next day.
We don’t have full details on the creations host Rutledge Wood and guest stars will be judging, but it’s certain that plenty of wild ideas will be brought to life.
Fans of the crazy and wild in automobilia have a reason to celebrate. If you’ve been staring desperately at the Mitsubishi Mirage in your driveway, complaining about the lack of an aquarium, or thinking your Ferrari 308 would be better if it could make spaghetti, we’ve got some good news for you. There’s a new show on the horizon that shares a love of silliness and ingenious fabrications with those old classics like Pimp my ride And Monster garage but adds more game show elements and prizes. Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge enters prime time on NBC with a new car customization show that promises wacky themes and scintillating grinding along with some real car enthusiasts.
Rutledge wood (Top Gear USA, Floor Is Lava, NBC NASCAR reporter) is the main presenter, accompanied by a panel of judges and celebrity guests. Entrants will have the chance to turn a car that matters to them into a cartoonish, full-size Hot Wheels car, and at the end of the season, the winning car will go into production as an official Hot Wheels die- cast. The public can follow the design, manufacture and presentation of each participant’s wild ride.
Wood is joined by Ford designer Dalal Elsheikh and Hoonigan drifter Hertrech “Deer” Eugene Jr. Guest stars include Jay Leno – who you probably expected – and actor Terry Crews – who you may not have. We chatted with Wood and Elsheikh while filming the first season about the show, their own dream cars, and what manufacturing skills impressed them the most on set.
Wood began teary-eyed at the memory of his first car, an ’81 Volkswagen Rabbit pickup. “I always dreamed of making that thing cool. An engine change or the European wheels. That never happened. But it’s still one I dream about. So on this show we reunite people with a vehicle from their past and give them the chance to recreate the car they always wanted.For example, we filmed an episode where this guy does a Charger – that was his first car, a primer black ’70s Charger – and now he can drive the Hemi put it in, make it do wheelies. We’re giving people the chance to be kids again.”
Watch Fabricators at work
Each episode features two teams building on opposite sides of the Hot Wheels garage set, which in teasers looks like a mix between a toy box and the inside of a pinball machine. Participants receive professional help from welders, fiberglass artists and painters as they try to make their monster truck and wheelie dreams come true. There are twists, says Wood, challenges and interruptions that the teams have to work into their designs before being judged at the end of their episode.
“It’s so hard,” says Wood. “Sometimes you look at these incredibly finite details and you think, man, the difference between a car going through to the final or not can be something like, Did they take the time to get rid of the bumpers? Did they look at how these body line would change if they took the roof off? If they said, “I’m going to make it look like a monster coming to life,” what if it doesn’t? People have put their blood, sweat, and tears into this thing and it is so much more intense than I thought it would be to pick a winner.”
Fire trucks and a Cadillac Skatepark?
For Elsheikh, seeing the professional manufacturers work with the participants has inspired her to learn some amazing skills as well. “There’s an interior guy named Slick on the show, and he lives up to that name. Some great fiberglass sculptors, but in design school I had a lot of experience carving things out of high-density foam, so if I if you have any of the skills on the team I’d probably go for welding. We have some incredible welders.”
Wood and Elsheikh couldn’t drop too many hints about the cars we’d see on the show, so as not to ruin the surprise, but can we expect fire trucks, Cadillac skate parks and possibly a car that looks like a piano? “I think the variety of cars at this show will keep car enthusiasts enthralled, and people who don’t know anything about cars will be able to follow along and really enjoy it,” says Wood. “We want to get people into this hobby and lifestyle that we love, and Hot Wheels is a great way to do that.”
Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge premieres Tuesday, May 30 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, and episodes will be available to stream on Peacock the following day.
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