What started off as a project by Ford to build a Direct Injection, 1.0L Ecoboost Engine, turned into what we know of today as the Rip Rod. Taking designers from the United Kingdom and the United States, Ford developed this off-road race car around the aforementioned engine and the fact that it can fit into a suitcase. Seen in the video below, the Rip Rod is somewhat of an engineering marvel.
While the real car started appearing in 2013 as part of a promotional Hot Wheels Test Facility (HWTF) video, and later followed by a Hot Wheels release in the 2014 mainline, the Rip Rod is one in a small group of Hot Wheels castings that has a real 1:1 counterpart.
A budding relationship between Mattel and Ford brought us Ford’s new Transit Connect decked out in Hot Wheels flair at the 2013 SEMA Show. In tow, was the Rip Rod showcased in the video below. Early pictures from the convention had collectors eagerly awaiting a promotional Hot Wheels piece to show up at SEMA. The eagerness only further intensified when one of the designers at Mattel customized the yet-to-be-released HW Ford Transit Connect along with the Rip Rod to match the 1:1 vehicles. Those same eager collectors were soon disappointed as the piece was never produced as an exclusive for the show. However, two years later….we ended up getting the set (minus the trailer) for only a fraction of what the price would have been.
Despite the SEMA tease, the HW Ford Transit Connect was released in 2014 as a New Model and featured that same paint the real version wore at SEMA in 2013. The Rip Rod wasn’t released until the following year, however, it first appeared in metalflake dark orange. As a #Hot Wheels Race Team collector, I was extremely disappointed, but it was still early in the year and I knew a blue colorway was imminent. Late in 2015, this collector got his wish and that SEMA set was finally complete — sans the orange & blue trailer.