Few things are more distinctly Kiwi than the thrill of seeing our popular culture and creation recognised on any kind of world stage. Whether it’s Lorde scooping an American chart number one, or Savage’s ‘Swing’ briefly appearing in a Superbad scene.
The same goes for cars, too, and it’s something New Zealand has always punched above its weight with. On the biggest of scales you have Scott Dixon registering himself as one of the most successful racers in American history and Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber cementing themselves in Le Mans history.
On the smallest of scales (1:64, to be exact) you have the amount of Kiwi cars that have been produced as Hot Wheels.
Drifter and Red Bull athlete ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett is the latest subject to have been given repeated love from the much loved Mattel miniature-car company. His MX-5 Formula Drift car, his Mazda ‘Repu’ rotary pick-up, and an RX-7 looking eerily similar to his ‘HUMBUL’ Formula Drift Japan championship winning car have all been released by Hot Wheels.
Now, the firm is set to produce Whiddett’s Lamborghini Huracan drift car in small scale. Premiered by Whiddett across his social media, the little Lambo features a faithful recreation of its Liberty Walk wide-body kit, plus love for Whiddett’s Rotiform and Toyo Tyres partnerships, all wrapped up in the now familiar grey camouflage livery.
Created with the help of Giltrap Group, the Huracan nicknamed ‘NIMBUL’ made its international debut at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed. It’s since made numerous local appearances, including various outings at Whiddett’s own Summer Bash events at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park.
Whiddett isn’t the first Kiwi racer to be featured by Hot Wheels. In the 1990s, hillclimb rallying legend Rod Millen had two of his cars immortalised in miniature; his Pikes Peak Toyota Celica and Pikes Peak Toyota Tacoma.
The reveal comes a week after Hot Wheels confirmed that it would be bringing its ‘Legends Tour’ event to New Zealand, giving Kiwis the chance to apply for their car to be made in Hot Wheels miniature and released by the thousands to stores around the world. Those keen to apply can do so online, via the Hot Wheels Legends Tour website. Whiddett will be one of the Kiwi judges.
“This year’s virtual Australian and New Zealand tour is bound to lift the bonnet on just how car-crazed we all really are,” said Australian judge and stunt driver Matt Mingay.
“As a kid from the Goldie, pimped up rides were never far from my fingertips. I believe Australia and New Zealand, collectively have bred one of the most unique, die-hard car cultures in the world.
“It’s not about how fast your ride is, or how much it’s worth. It’s about how it’ll fare as an iconic Hot Wheels toy ready for the world to see and put to the test. Any passion-project is welcome and I can’t wait to be a part of what has already proved to be an outstanding event.”