Hot Wheels Legends CadZZilla
Hot Wheels Legends CadZZilla box Hot Wheels Legends CadZZilla 1:24 & 1:64 scale Hot Wheels Legends CadZZilla dashboard Hot Wheels Legends CadZZilla engine Hot Wheels Legends CadZZilla chassis Hot Wheels Legends CadZZilla rear

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Billy Gibbons first brought together hot rods and ZZ Top with 1983's Eliminator, named after (and heavily featuring) Gibbons' '33 Ford Coupe. The car became a cultural icon, and in the late 1980s Gibbons commissioned Boyd Coddington's shop to create a new rod that could live up to the Eliminator. Designer Larry Erickson took the 1948 Cadillac and created the design "CadZZilla," a custom that was hailed by Gray Baskerville as "the most incredible transformation he'd ever witnessed."



The outer sleeve is glossy black cardboard with an extreme close-up of CadZZilla's right rear corner printed on the front panel along with the car's name and Hot Wheels Legends logo. The HWL logo is printed on otherwise plain black fields on the top, back, and one end flap. The other end flap has the HWL logo, car serial number, and "Certificate and owner's manual inside" in discrete letting near the bottom corner. The legal and Mattel contact info is printed on the bottom. Overall a very classy look, showing how good restraint can be. The paperwork is in a plastic baggie inside the box, along with a 6¾" x 10" (17.1cm x 25.4cm) print of the photo that was used to make the front panel (this one showing the whole car). Both cars are held side-by-side in a styrofoam clamshell, and each are wrapped in tissue paper to protect their paint jobs. It's easy to get the cars out and replace them for transport, while the sleeve makes for a striking presence - this is really the best of both worlds.



This replica was released in 1997 (the box has no URLs or e-mail addresses!), but 15 years later it stands even with the best that diecast manufacturers have to offer. The seamless rear fenders, single-piece hood/fenders, and suicide doors are all rendered flawlessly. The chrome trim is clean and bright, and there are no "cheats" using silver paint for the drip rails or window frames. I'm especially impressed by the parts fit: the hood and doors have no common framing, but nest together as they should, while the chrome trim fits flush or just slightly raised as appropriate. The inside is two-tone ivory with chrome accents, a body-matching dashboard & steering column, and flocked carpeting. Equally impressive is the paint, which shows deep reflections with no sign of flaws. Cadillac badges are clearly printed on the taillights and hubcap centers. The only real flaws I see are both located in the rear center: the license plate has the right number and the correct "letterbox" window, but it looks like the sticker itself was the result of someone trying to cram the entire California plate into the smaller area. Also, the exhaust tips look way too thick, surprising considering the careful attention to detail elsewhere. But overall, this is truly an outstanding recreation.



The doors and hood open and close smoothly, and the steering is functional. While everything looks great in the "closed" position, the door hinges are a little crude in the "open" position. The 1/64 CadZZilla features many of the same high points as its big brother, though obviously the details have been simplified. For example, the chrome work is now a combination of plated and painted parts, and the grille/bumper is a single piece.



Essentially, there is almost nothing here that deviates from photos of the 1:1 CadZZilla. The swoops and curves all appear spot-on, the paint is a fantastic representation of the HoK eggplant purple, and the smaller details fit together perfectly. The engine appears to lack detail at first, but then you see the wiring set tight against the heads (so as not to interrupt the "ZZ Top" script painted on the valve covers), the belt & hoses tucked under the intake, and the subtle color changes between the ivory engine, white exhaust manifolds and oil filter, and light gray exhaust pipes. The parking lights are amber rather than clear, but that is the only error I find. Scale looks to be a good 1/24, though actual numbers on the CadZZilla are tough to track down.



The CadZZilla is one of the few modern hot rods that can be counted among legends like the Hirohata Merc or Dream Truck. Though this particular diecast is a few years old, it still looks great and would be an excellent addition to any rod & custom collection. Very highly recommended.


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