LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Hot Wheels are nostalgic toys that have been part of people’s childhoods for over five decades.

From the start, toy cars were often based on real custom cars, and now Hot Wheels is thriving in the hands of new generations of car-crazed kids. The team that creates it travels the country in search of new ideas for new models.

“We’ve made over 25,000 cars in the last 50 years, so it has to be unique and stand out from what we’ve done before,” said Hot Wheels Chief Design Officer Bryan Benedict.

Years ago, only relatively famous customizers saw their creations honored in the form of miniature versions, but the company wants to discover and highlight lesser-known car manufacturers. Mainly where the Hot Wheels Legends Tour stops.

“We do these shows all over the country and around the world. And we invite people to take out the cars that they’ve built, you know, the custom cars that they’ve built. It’s a huge honor for people who shed their blood sweat and tears into their car build, to be immortalized as a Hot Wheels car,” Benedict said.

At each location on the tour, one winner will be selected from the custom cars that have been entered. The finalists are then judged against each other.

One winner will be chosen each year, and that year’s winner, their custom, will be made into Hot Wheels for the toy line.

When custom cars are judged, there’s a certain look and style that the sharp-eyed designers at Mattel watch out for. There are certain criteria that make a design worthy of being a Hot Wheels legend, as they call it.

“There are actually three criteria we look for. It’s authenticity, creativity and ‘garage spirit’,” Benedict said.

Don’t miss the Hot Wheels Tour and check out all the car customizers that are on offer for this opportunity.

Who knows, one day you might see the life-size custom that caught your eye and it might be selected to become a Hot Wheels headed to store shelves.

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