Back in the fall of 2019, Hot Wheels collectors were greeted by the #Mod Rod — a modern take on the hot rod, designed by Hot Wheels designer, Dmitriy Shakhmatov. That October at the convention in LA, designer Eric Han had his latest creation — the #Erikenstein Rod — on display. It was his take on a modern hot rod truck, and this collector was not shy about naming it as his #1 Hot Wheels design for 2020. The Erikenstein Rod noticeably wore that same moody matte blue with gold graphics paint scheme the Mod Rod wore in 2019. Eric mentioned that the truck was number two (numbered at #52, between #51 & #53) of three new HW original designs that would share this stellar livery created by the graphics team.
The #Muscle and Blown was recently released as part of the #2021 Hot Wheels “K” case assortment, during the “53rd Anniversary” year of Hot Wheels — hence the #53. This Hot Wheels original design mashes up classic muscle with modern design, and every bit of hot rod as the previous two designs. As with any realistic #Unlicensed Hot Wheels design, collectors immediately try to understand the inspiration behind the design. Sometimes said inspiration comes from vehicles of years past while other times it comes from other objects in designers’ lives. Projecting what I love onto the car, I immediately see hints of a Dodge Viper, though I know that most likely isn’t the case.
If there is one thing to admire about the design of the #Muscle and Blown, it’s the curvaceous way the body flows from front to back. The back of the packaging (quote below) states that the “car takes the classic lines of a muscle car”, but I feel as though the design projects forward better than reflecting the past.
I reached out to the designer — Dima — and asked him what his thoughts were while designing the Hot Wheels #Muscle and Blown. He said that his original idea was to design a front mid-engined car — like a Viper. 😉 To truly be a custom hot rod though, he said he would have to get rid of the bumpers and turn it into a “drift hooligan”. He would ultimately add a large chin spoiler, large intercooler in place of the front bumper, and two large fog lights.
Since Dima was able to route the exhaust to behind the front wheels, he said that made room, “so the rear end is all about [the] rear diffuser”. He added that he didn’t think a big wing was necessary as the “duck tail would do just fine”.
The fun part about #Unlicensed Hot Wheels — or HW Original Designs — is that they are open for interpretation. Personally, I love finding all the details, like the ones Dima mentioned — even the ones he didn’t. There seems to always be a narrative playing out within the designers’ heads and these castings are often a way of reverse engineering the story to be able to read it.
This collection is now comp— oh wait, what did you say, Dima? There’s more to this series?!?!? Stay tuned…
The collection may not be complete, but who cares! Between the awesome paint jobs and the spectacular original casting designs, this “moody matte blue” Hot Wheels race team has been great. I can’t wait to see what the design team serves up next!