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Hot Wheels crowns "Nashhole" a winner in Las Vegas, new model coming in 2020

Hot Wheels held a worldwide competition to find its next model car.

Photo courtesy of Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels began their worldwide tour to find the next popular collectable toy car in March in Miami and wrapped it up last week at SEMA. Working, real-sized automobiles competed against each other for the chance to have their likeness be transformed in miniature into the newest contents of gleaming packages hanging in drug stores and toy shops.

"This tour is all about finding the custom car out there worthy of becoming a Hot Wheels," said Ted Wu, VP of Senior Design at Hot Wheels. "This year has been amazing, we have seen 90,000 people come out to our events, 5,000 cars entered the shows with 20 nationwide stops."

Legends Tour judges rated each contestant in regional contests using three attributes:

  • Authenticity- a car that embodies Hot Wheels with a radical look and amazing performance.
  • Creativity - a car that is unique with details and stands out from the rest.
  • Garage Spirit - built and not bought with a great story behind it.


2019 SEMA Nashhole winner Hot Wheels Legends The winner's car was chosen based on its authenticity, creativity, and the story behind its creation.Photo courtesy of Hot Wheels

The Regional winners that were part of the SEMA final included:

  • Miami- 1947 Steampunk Willys rat rod with military accents, motorcycle wheels and tires, and a tractor seat
  • Houston -1972 Luv truck that was put back together 30 years later after the original owner passed away
  • Atlanta - 1975 Chevy Impala Low Rider nicknamed "GQ"
  • Los Angeles - 1957 Nash Metropolitan with exposed wheels and tires that's powered by a small block Chevy 305
  • Charlotte - 1936 Chevy Custom truck that started as sedan then transformed into a four-door dually with a 750-horsepower Cummins engine
  • Philadelphia – 1968 Toyota Land Cruiser that took 3 years to build and has 5 inches chopped off with a custom chassis and a 12-cylinder BMW engine
  • New York/New Jersey – A combination 1948 Chevy Pickup and 1960 Cadillac owned by Mike Calderone was built in 1989 using four different cars
  • Detroit – 1957 Custom Studebaker that is powered by a 4.6-liter B8 Lincoln modular engine
  • Chicago- 1965 Pontiac GTO was inspired by the owner's father's gasser stories
  • Bentonville – 1969 International Harvester Cabover 1600 that has a supercharged 350 Chevy engine and a spoiler to balance the truck
  • St. Louis – 1976 Chevy Vega nicknamed "RCR" with a LS3 engine
  • Dallas - 2002 Honda S2000 that was modified after its owner went to a technical school
  • Seattle – 1971 VW Bug with three inches chopped off and a removable hardtop added
  • Phoenix- 1971 VW Squareback that's a twin-engine gasser.
  • Denver- 1954 Chevy Bel Air that has 6.5 inches chopped off the top and 15 inches added on the back
  • San Jose – 1995 Honda Civic with a beefy 450-horsepower engine that runs on E85
  • San Diego – 1960 Renault Dauphine was originally found on Facebook Marketplace after being stored for 40 years
  • Los Angeles –This car is a combination of a 1974 Opel Manta/Nissan 240SX

2019 SEMA Hot Wheels Legends Nash winner car This replica Chevy 305 engine powers the Hot Wheels toy version of the Hot Wheels Legends contest winner. Photo courtesy of Hot Wheels

All the regional cars competed in the final and were judged by a crew that included noted automotive enthusiasts Adam Corolla, Richard Rawlings, and Jay Leno.

The winner was the 1957 Nash Metropolitan, known as the "Nashhole" and owned by Greg Salzillo and Dave Ford. Hot Wheels enthusiasts can expect a miniature replica of the "Nashhole" in stores in 2020.

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The 2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST gives buyers more performance at a lower price.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Explorer lineup is getting a three-model enhancement for the 2021 model year. The Explorer Enthusiast ST, Platinum, and Platinum Hybrid will be making their way to dealership lots later this year in a targeted attempt to identify customer desires.

The new models join the just-announced 2021 Ford Explorer King Ranch, also a new addition.

2021 Ford Explorer Enthusiast ST

The Enthusiast ST grade takes a lot of what customers like about the existing Explorer ST and delivers it at a far cheaper price. The Enthusiast ST has a starting MSRP of $48,750 as opposed to the ST, which starts at $52,830.

Setting it apart from there Explorers is the Enthusiast ST's quad chrome exhaust tips, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with painted pockets, and sideview mirrors with ST projection lamps.

The new model comes equipped with the same 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine that's in the Explorer ST that churns out 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission completes the powertrain.

Ford has given the model a sport-tuned suspension and a top track speed of 143 mph. A standard Class III Trailer Tow Package provides towing capability of up to 5,600 pounds.

The cabin of the Enthusiast ST is complete with leather seating surfaces, unique Miko micro-perforated inserts, and City Silver accent stitching with the ST logo. There's a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, heated sport-style steering wheel with the ST logo, and paddle shifters.

The Explorer Enthusiast ST also features standard Ford Co-Pilot360 technology.

2021 Ford Explorer Platinum

2021 Ford Explorer Plat Ford has two new Platinum models coming to a dealership near you.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

2021 Ford Explorer Plat

The new Explorer Platinum is powered by a 3.0-liter engine and comes standard with rear-wheel drive. Four-when drive is available.

To make the Platinum version worthy of its upscale price tag, its packaging includes door handles with satin aluminum insert, liftgate appliqué, lower bodyside cladding insert, roof-rack side rails, a twin-panel moonroof, and a unique grille with satin aluminum finish. Its cabin is fitted with leather seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dashboard, door rollovers, and door and front console armrests.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Platinum has a starting MSRP of $52,480. The hybrid version of that model starts at $53,085.

All the models are currently available for order via Ford dealerships. Deliveries are expected to begin this summer.

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2022 Hyundai Kona N revealed, but the automaker isn't telling all just yet.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai is giving its highest performance Kona the same transmission that you'll find in the Veloster N. For enthusiasts, that's a very good thing.

The compact crossover is more and more being seen as the American successor to the hot hatch. The Mazda CX-30 Turbo recently piqued enthusiasm among true drivers who can't afford supercars and need something more practical to hoon around in.

Now, the Kona N is poised to deliver similar driving dynamics and performance. Hyundai has slowly been leaking out details about the 2022 Hyundai Kona N over the last year and the revelation that it will have an eight-speed wet-type dual-clutch transmission, known as N DCT, is just the latest tidbit to come to light.

2022 Hyundai Kona Hyundai has upgraded its wet DCT mechanics in recent years making it hard-wearing.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

2022 Hyundai Kona

The Kona N DCT is based on a modified version of its in-house-developed 8DCT. It's had enhancements in recent years that have made it more durable and ready to handle the demands of high-performance vehicles. The N DCT will be standard on the Kona.

Hyundai will pair the N DCT with a 276-horsepower, 2.0-liter direct-injected engine that has been tuned especially for the model. The transmission control unit is calibrated for N enthusiasts.

The wet-type DCT is structurally similar to a manual transmission but, instead of the typical dry-type gearbox, it uses two electric oil pumps that are designed to reduce friction between the moving parts, cooling the clutch, and allowing greater torque.

Other features of the N DCT include N Grin Shift, N Power Shift and N Track Sense Shift functionality. These settings have dedicated shift-logic management. N Power Shift engages when the car accelerates with more than 90-percent throttle. N Grin Shift maximizes engine and DCT performance for 20 seconds, providing a boost. N Track Sense optimized adaptive shift for the race track.

The N Grin Control System has five different drive modes: Normal, Eco, Sport, N and Custom. Unlike with a traditional automatic transmission vehicle, in Hyundai vehicles with N DCT, the driver can choose to turn off the creep function. When the creep function is turned "off" and the car is in gear D, the car does not automatically roll forward when the brake pedal is released.

Drivers can switch to manual mode for more control over shift points, utilizing the paddle shifters or gear knob. In manual mode, the downshift memory logic will avoid downshifting during high RPM operation. Memory functionality remembers the command and executes only when the acceptable RPM is reached.

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