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Tuesday, October 31, 2023

The Twin Mill: From Die-Cast Wonder to Real-Life Powerhouse

Unique ONES - In 1968, the renowned American toymaker, Mattel, introduced a remarkable line of 1:64 scale die-cast cars named Hot Wheels. The initial release featured 16 "customized" versions of popular car models such as the Camaro, Corvette, and Mustang. However, within the same year, Ira Gilford, a Hot Wheels designer, embarked on conceptualizing what would later become the iconic Twin Mill, officially unveiled in 1969.
Life-sized Hot Wheels Twin Mill. (Picture from: Pinterest)
The Twin Mill's design was nothing short of striking. It boasted massive dual engines with imposing scoops at the front and wide, exposed wheels at the rear. To this day, approximately 12 million of these miniature marvels have been produced. Among avid Hot Wheels collectors, a mint, in-the-package original Twin Mill can fetch an impressive $800.
Right side view of life-sized Hot Wheels Twin Mill. (Picture from: UltimateHotWheels)
Apart from Ira Gilford, other notable designers left their mark on the Twin Mill legacy. Bruce Baur, credited as the designer of the Twin Mill II in 1993, and Josh Henson, the mind behind the Twin Mill III in 2008. The color scheme of red and green was retained for the "Then and Now" Twin Mill 2014 series, mirroring the hues of its real-life counterpart.

While die-cast cars typically replicate real vehicle models, the Twin Mill dared to defy convention. In a fascinating twist, a life-sized Twin Mill was created, expanding the famous 1:64 scale die-cast car to a 1:24 scale replica.
Rear side view of Life-sized Hot Wheels Twin Mill. (Picture from: AndySowards)
Fast forward to 1998, during the 30th anniversary celebration of the beloved Hot Wheels series, an executive at Mattel conceived the idea of bringing a life-sized Hot Wheels car into existence. This ambitious undertaking was entrusted to Boyd Coddington of Hot Rods by Boyd, with Chip Foose at the helm of the project. Regrettably, Hot Rods by Boyd faced financial woes and went bankrupt later that year. However, the incomplete Twin Mill project remained unscathed when collectors swooped in to clear the remnants.

The fate of the project took a turn when Hot Wheels Director Carson Lev revived the Twin Mill and enlisted Barry Lobeck to complete the ambitious endeavor. The fully-realized car made its grand debut at the 2001 SEMA show in Las Vegas, earning resounding acclaim from enthusiasts and spectators alike.
The Twin Mill, in its full-sized glory, is not merely a showpiece; it's a functioning vehicle. Sporting front and rear lights, turn signals, and two colossal 502 big block engines, it churns out an estimated 1,400 horsepower in total. This powerhouse of a car can achieve speeds of up to 270 kilometers per hour. However, in terms of ergonomics, the Twin Mill falls short of comfort due to the obstructed driver's view caused by the two massive engines positioned in front of them. Nevertheless, its aesthetic appeal remains undeniably captivating. *** [EKA [23042015] | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | TWISTED SIFTER | ANDYSOWARDS | ULTIMATEHOTWHEELS ]
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