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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.

A new technology developed by General Motors may change the trailering experience as we know it, making it safer for everyone involved.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

For some folks, towing a trailer is second nature. It's like riding a bicycle or going for a swim. But for a vast majority of others, towing can be intimidating, scary and even downright dangerous. No matter what category you fall into, truck makers have been working feverishly to come up with new and exciting technologies to make towing easier and safer for you.

One of the biggest challenges of towing, at least at speed, is the abrupt need to come to a stop. Whether it be someone pull out in front of you or the traffic light turned red sooner than you'd expect. Towing down a grade in high winds can create even more issues.

eBoost braking assist trailer This diagram shows the impact of the new eBoost technology.Photo courtesy of General Motors

To help with towing and stopping, electronic trailer brake controllers are common on rigs that tow. They help control the trailer by apply the brakes in the trailer. Setting up a trailer brake control is often described as an art, not a science.

That's where new General Motors tech comes in. Using their electronic brake system from their heavy-duty pickup, the company has fitted it to a trailer for the purpose of improving braking. Their goal was to equip a trailer with the company's eBoost braking system and see how well they could stop with it.

Their goal was to take a 2020 Silverado HD without a trailer and see how far it took to stop. Then they attached a trailer with 9,000 pounds and set a target of stopping in the same distance. They were within three feet.

That means in a full-on, emergency stop scenario a truck towing a 9,000-pound trailer can stop as short as a truck without a trailer. Not to overwhelm you with hyperbole, but that is a game changer.

Why? There's no complicated setup of the trailer brake controller. The equipment already exists, and GM managed to do it with around $1,000 worth of hardware that's already available. It would require a trailer manufacturer to integrate it with their trailers, but the safety benefits are huge.

Unlike some aftermarket anti-lock braking systems, primarily from Bosch, this system communicates with the truck, and can even use electronic stability control to reduce trailer sway.

It's a prototype at this point. GM is hoping to find a trailer maker to help develop the technology. The marketing department is still figuring out all of the details, but in addition to offering it on a brand-new trailer, it might even be possible for certain dealerships or installers to add it to existing trailers after the fact.

While there is a truck war going on with how can tow and haul the most, the efforts that GM is making right now for improving towing safety, such as their invisible trailering system and this prototype trailer brake system, makes the roads safer for everyone – even if they don't drive a GM.

The Hyundai Venue is new to the U.S. for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

If you thought it didn't get any smaller than the subcompact Hyundai Kona, you were wrong. Hyundai's new, smaller SUV, the 2020 Hyundai Venue, has made its way to the U.S. market. Here's a quick look at everything you need to know.

Hyundai developed the model to be budget-friendly.

Research indicated that people often pass up buying new cars because they are too expensive, but then they miss out on the latest safety and infotainment tech. Hyundai wanted to create a vehicle that would cost as much as a used car but have all new equipment.

2020 Hyundai Venue The backside of the Venue reveals a wide opening trunk.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Venue comes in three trim levels.

Buyers get to choose between the base SE, SEL, or top-tier Denim model. All the models come with the same engine but the base model has a six-speed manual transmission as opposed to the Venue SEL and Denim's intelligent variable transmission. SEL and Denim models of the front-wheel drive SUV have three drive modes: normal, sport, and snow.

The Nissan Kicks isn't very quick. What is the engine like in the Venue?

The Venue is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder. It's peppier than the Kicks but nothing too exciting. Still, you'll feel like you have plenty of power at speed.

2020 Hyundai Venue The interior of the Venue features a standard 8-inch infotainment screen.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai has loaded the Venue with a solid list of safety features.

Standard and available safety features include:

  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) uses the car's front-facing camera to help detect an imminent collision and avoid impact or minimize damage by braking
  • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) helps prevent accidental lane departure by sensing road markings automatically steering the car if necessary.
  • Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) helps detect approaching vehicles that may be obscured from view during highway
  • Driver Attention Warning (DAW) system monitors a spectrum of driver-related characteristics to help detect driver fatigue or careless
  • Rear Collision Cross-Traffic Warning (RCCW) helps detect when a vehicle may have entered a car's rearward path providing a driver

It's supposed to cost as much as a used car. What's the MSRP?

Hyundai sells the Venue SE for $17,350. The SEL is $19,250 and the Venue Denim is $22,050. That MSRP does not include the destination charge. Remember, most dealers are willing to negotiate on prices.

So it's a cheap car. Does it look cheap inside?

The short answer is no. The Venue Denim has nicer appointments than many mid-grade trucks on the market that cost a fair amount more. The designer of the HVAC system controls should be proud that they're both easy to use and attractive while looking like little else currently on the market.

The seats are comfortable.

Most low-cost SUVs and cars have seats that aren't comfortable for any length of time. The Venue is the exception to this rule.

When does it go on sale.

The Hyundai Venue is currently for sale at dealerships nationwide.