1979 MG B-EAST has won the UK leg of the Hot Wheels Legends Tour and is now in with a chance of becoming the next legendary die-cast toy.
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.
Beating a record number of 274 entries, Michael Wallhead’s MGB GT has been built over eight years, recycling as many parts as possible – a propshaft from a Range Rover, an axle saved from a Reliant Scimitar, Triumph motorcycle throttle bodies, Nissan Silvia S14 brakes and jeans for the seat upholstery.
Michael Wallhead is now facing the Legends Tour Semi-Final in November in a bid to make it through to the Global Finale. There, he will 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,” commented 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.”
For all his builds, Michael said he looks to find ways to reuse parts, and on the MGB GT even used registration plates to build the glove box. He believes Hot Wheels inspired him to become a creative engineer, now designing turbos for cars and commercial vehicles. “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,” he added.
For the first time, the UK final 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.
“Choosing a winner was no mean feat and each finalist has what it takes to represent the UK in the global final,” said design manager for Hot Wheels, Craig Callum. “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.”
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 entries compared to 2022. 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 and reproduced as 1:64 scale models.