The global winner of the 2023 Hot Wheels Legends Tour was built by a Kiwi.
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
The global winner of the 2023 Hot Wheels Legends Tour has been crowned - and it was built by a Kiwi.
Now Northland man Chris Watson's car will be turned into an actual Hot Wheels model and sold in stores worldwide.
Nicknamed 'Chimera', Watson's car is a highly-modified Mazda 1990 MX-5.
The dystopian-looking car was built in his shed in Kaiwaka, inspired by the combination of Japanese 'Kaido Racer' car culture and the futuristic cyberpunk genre.
Its makeover includes the custom-made carbon fibre shark fin spoiler, custom-made 100mm fender flares and a futuristic rear light bar, while the interior was given cyberpunk-style LED lighting, a smoked-acrylic switch panel, and a custom-mounted 'cyberdeck' over the passenger seat.
In a statement, Watson said he was "absolutely blown away with the result".
"This win really means a lot because with everything I build I try to encourage others to be creative as well and this shows that you don't need a fancy shop or a huge budget to build something awesome," he said.
"I want to show that there doesn't have to be a high barrier for entry to working on cars and that not all builds have to follow the same formula."
Mattel vice-president and global head of design for vehicles, Ted Wu, said Watson's victory "embodies what this tour is all about".
"Chris' journey from rural New Zealand to securing a spot in the Hot Wheels Garage of Legends is truly inspirational," he said in the statement.
"Chimera is a great addition to the Garage of Legends, and we can't wait to create the die-cast version."
Chimera will be immortalised as a 1:64 Hot Wheels vehicle and inducted into the Hot Wheels Garage of Legends.
Hero image: Kaiwaka man Chris Watson customised his Mazda MX5 nicknamed 'Chimera'. It has just won a worldwide Hot Wheels competition. Photo credit: Supplied.