In Hot Wheels first full-length movie, the Hot Wheels World Race (2003), 35 drivers competed for the title “World’s Best Driver”. In this animated film, the fictional drivers were from all walks of life. From various professional racers to 16-year-old kids with “talent”, these drivers had to taken on an alien realm full of tracks built by the Accelerons (a fictional ancient race of aliens that preceded human existence).
The main character, Vert Wheeler, a 16-year-old boy from California was a self-proclaimed “Surf-Rat” that longed for the day he would get his own car to accompany his newly acquired driver’s license. After returning home from the DMV with his license, he finds the Wave Rippers Deora II parked in his parents driveway. He hops in and receives a message from the mysterious Dr. Tezla about a secret race.
The whole movie Vert rivals Taro Kitano, lead driver of the Scorchers team, in his ’70 Plymouth Roadrunner. Vert learns that teamwork is more important than individual accolades as he helps protect this hidden realm from evil. Vert, being the protagonist, ultimately wins the World Race and donates his $5 Million in winnings to a fellow racer that has many troubles in his village in Africa. Through this, 16-year-old Vert earns the greater respect of his peers, past winning the race, and even makes his dad proud of him in the process.
Vert, the driver of the Deora II you see below, really gave this casting a persona. The Deora II was already a cult-favorite and this design was something special. If you read the Scorchers ’70 Plymouth Roadrunner article, you would know the appreciation I have, along with many other collectors, for the fusion graphics and co-mold wheels combo that are exclusive to the Hot Wheels Highway 35 World Race line.