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July 21, 2022

Autozam kei car monster truck is Hot Wheels Legends Tour finalist

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Hot Wheels has launched the 2022 edition of the Legends Tour, an annual road trip organized to find the next custom-built car that the firm will add to its catalog of scale models. The convoy stopped in Houston, Texas, and selected a kei-car-based monster truck as a finalist.

Built by Craig Meanx, and nicknamed “Texas Toot,” the winner in Houston started life as a 1992 Autozam Scrum. Don’t worry if that doesn’t ring a bell: Autozam was a Mazda sub-brand that closed in 1998 and the Scrum, a tiny truck built to comply with Japan’s kei car regulations, was never officially sold in the United States. Meanx went to significant lengths to ensure the Scrum can no longer be classified as a kei car.

He started by fabricating a five-foot (!) lift kit for the little truck. He then added massive wheels wrapped by tractor tires and train horns to ensure it can be heard as well as seen. While the Scrum was built with a 660-cubic-centimeter three-cylinder engine, Texas Toot received a mighty, 7.4-liter (454-cubic-inch) V8 sourced from the Chevrolet parts bin. It spins the four wheels via a three-speed General Motors automatic transmission and a transfer case that has been dropped by 12 inches. And, a 250-shot nitrous kit should make it seriously quick.

Texas Toot is the fourth finalist picked in 2022. The first three were a buggy from New Zealand called One Buggy Mud Muncher Raptor, Australia’s Frankenmini (a classic Mini wagon dropped on a shortened Nissan Patrol frame), and a 1998 Nissan 240SX selected in Miami, Florida. Additional finalists will be announced in the coming months; the Legends Tour will make its next stop in Arkansas on June 4, and the global grand finale is scheduled for November 12. The winner will be turned into a 1/64-scale model and added to the Hot Wheels catalog.

Lee Johnstone’s Volvo 1800 Gasser, the winner of the 2021 Legends Tour, should begin appearing in stores in the not-too-distant future.

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