Hall of Fame
In celebration of the 35th anniversary of Hot Wheels® cars, the first-ever Hot Wheels® Hall of Fame exhibit was opened at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. This permanent exhibit features a historic collection of more than 1,000 original 1:64-scale Hot Wheels® die-cast cars, as well as full-size versions of classic Hot Wheels® cars, like the Twin Mill®, the first original Hot Wheels® design, and the Deora® , a customized 1964 Dodge truck that became an automotive legend.
The Hot Wheels® Hall of Fame celebrates the styling, technology, and the record-breaking times that have revved up hearts and burned a lasting image into history. Each year a class of mspanorable inductees is enshrined at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Those honored are selected in the following categories, which stir the passions of car enthusiasts around the world:
- Legends: The people who have designed, driven or popularized the coolest cars
- Greatest Ride: Vehicles that epitomize Hot Wheels® speed, power, performance and attitude
- Milestone Moment: Events that capture, in mspanory, the essence of the Hot Wheels® name
- Lifetime Achievspanent: Those whose accomplishments have changed the automotive landscape forever
- Don “The Snake” Prudhomme: – Earned his nickname for his incredibly quick starting line reflexes on the drag strip. Barely out of his teens, Prudhomme won the prestigious Bakersfield Top Fuel Championship in 1962 at the age of 20. When he retired from driving in 1994, he was the winningest nitro racer in drag racing history with 49 victories. He continues to amass wins to this day, now as a team owner.
- Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen: – Nicknamed “The Mongoose” in 1964, largely to entice Don “The Snake” Prudhomme into a high exposure match race at Lions drag strip. McEwen’s extraordinary promotional ability and Prudhomme’s success at the drag strip eventually led to the national touring team sponsored by Hot Wheels®, the success of which set the stage for today’s non-automotive corporate sponsorships in the racing world and introduced the sport of drag racing to a larger mainstream audience.
- 1964 Ford Mustang: – The first “pony car” in its introductory year — a sporty four-seater with high performance and racy appearance. The Mustang was the result of Ford’s desire to make a small, sporty car, which was inexpensive enough to appeal to young buyers. Historian Gary Witzenburg explained, “No new car in history had ever received the publicity and attention that the media lavished on Ford’s sporty, small car.”
- October 17, 1968 – Theatrical release of the movie “Bullitt”: Starring Steve McQueen and directed by Peter Yates, “Bullitt” devastated audiences with a brilliantly executed, incredible chase scene between a leaping, screaming Ford Mustang and Dodge Charger that sespaned to fly off the screen as they barreled up and down the streets of San Francisco – made all the more real due to the fact that star Steve McQueen performed most of his own driving. The savage ferocity in “Bullitt’s” chase scene has yet to be matched on celluloid.
- Enzo Ferrari: – The man behind one of the world’s most recognized names in sports and racing cars was born in Modena, Italy in February 1898. At the age of 10, he saw his first motor race and became hooked. In 1929, he formed the Scuderia Ferrari racing team, and an automotive legend was born. In 1947, with his reputation firmly established in automotive circles, he founded the Ferrari auto company and released his first road car, the 125 S. In 1987, he announced his last contribution to the world of supercars, the F40. Enzo Ferrari died the next year at the age of 90, but his legacy and cars live on. Ferrari today is one of the most recognized brands in the world.
- George Barris: – Barris’ automotive accomplishments began as early as high school, when he created his first custom cars – a tricked-out, orange-and-blue striped 1925 Buick and a 1936 Ford ragtop. His passion for cars led to driving at prestigious Saugus races in the l940s and an invitation to exhibit the only custom car at Hot Rod Magazine’s first hot rod show. Barris’ “Hirohata” 1951 Mercury was the sensation of the 1952 Motorama and attracted contracts from enthusiasts around the world, also catching the attention of Hollywood film and television makers who later featured his famed cars including the “Batmobile” and “General Lee.”