A 1979 MGB GT nicknamed ‘the B-EAST’ is set to represent the UK on the global stage and stake its claim to be recreated as a 1:64 scale die-cast model – after winning this year’s Hot Wheels Legends Tour UK at RADwood automotive event last weekend (2nd September).
Beating a record number of 274 entries, Michael Wallhead’s MGB GT features a 3.0 litre Jaguar AJV6 engine, to achieve 0-60mph in 4.2s and a top speed of 148mph. Built over eight years, Wallhead wanted to recycle as many parts as possible and used a propshaft from a Range Rover, an axle saved from a Reliant Scimitar, Triumph motorcycle throttle bodies, Nissan Silvia S14 brakes, an old number plate for the glovebox, and jeans for the seat upholstery.
An eagerness to reuse and recycle resources fuelled Wallhead’s enthusiasm for classic cars. “For all my builds, I always look to find ways to reuse parts, and on this MGB GT I’ve even used registration plates to build the glove box, everything has second or third life and I try not to throw things away that can be reused.”
Michael Wallhead is now facing the Legends Tour Semi-Final (2nd November) in a bid to make it through to the Global Finale (11th November) and be in with a shot at the overall prize – entering the hallowed Hot Wheels Garage of Legends and securing his place in car culture history.
“I’m so humbled to have been chosen as the UK winner – from a stellar line-up with no two cars the same,” says Michael Wallhead. “Growing up, I played with Hot Wheels, and you always had your favourites – the one that went fastest or the one that looked the coolest, and those memories inspired me when it came to designing the B-EAST.”
Wallhead believes Hot Wheels inspired him to become a creative engineer, now designing turbos for cars and commercial vehicles. Outside of work, Wallhead’s love for speed and competitive spirit secured the Guinness World Record for the fastest wheelie bin, achieving 88.344 km/h in May this year. “I really believe youngsters should have more time to play with toys, and I hope my builds inspire children to dream and do something different – either as a career or building fun projects.”
The initial entry list was narrowed down to 10 finalists by Hot Wheels representatives on both sides of the Atlantic, with marques such as Jaguar, Ford, VW, and Skoda represented – alongside the Mazda RX-7 of Hagerty fan vote winner Sam Carr, which was fast-tracked to the UK final.
For the first time, the UK finale was open to the public to watch, and all 274 entrants were offered the opportunity to attend the show and exhibit their build at this year’s RADwood, held at Bicester Heritage.
With hundreds of automotive enthusiasts listening in, a panel of expert judges – including motoring journalists Richard Porter, Steve Parrish, and Abigayle André, as well as design manager for Hot Wheels, Craig Callum – joined host Paul Cowland to deliberate which of the finalists best represented Hot Wheels’ criteria of authenticity, creativity and ‘garage spirit’.
“Choosing a winner was no mean feat and each finalist has what it takes to represent the UK in the global finale,” explains design manager for Hot Wheels, Craig Callum. “That said, Michael Wallhead’s MG perfectly encapsulates the three core elements we were looking for in our winner – authenticity, creativity and garage spirit. We loved the reuse of materials in new and exciting ways, such as the denim seat covers and temporary tattoos for graphics.”
As part of his prize, Michael Wallhead receives a set of Falken tyres and a Castrol lubricants pack. The final 10 also received a Castrol merchandise bundle.
Just four years after it launched the competition in the UK, the Hot Wheels Legends Tour has increased in popularity within the car community – with the 2023 field more than doubling the 100 entries it garnered in 2022. Underlining the quality and depth of talent in the UK car scene, finalists from the past two years have both reached the Global Final, with the UK’s Volvo P1800 Gasser, Ain’t No Saint, going on to win overall in 2021. Now, thousands of 1:64 scale models of the wild drag racer are being enjoyed across the world.
Want to advertise here?