The Real Customs of New Jersey

We just got back from the greater New York City area, where we covered the latest stop of the 2019 Hot Wheels Legends Tour. More than 300 folks registered their cars to compete for top honors, and the parking lot was packed all morning.

We spotted several built VWs, a number of tuned imports, and a cornucopia of wild custom jobs. We spotted a pristine Corrado with the mighty VR6 engine, a handful of RX-7s, and total oddballs like a gigantic, drivable shopping cart and mini monster truck. The “rad” era was also well represented, our favorite being a minty, red Pontiac Fiero GT.

A lowriding custom named Kargoyle took top honors at this stop. Builder Mike Calderone merged a 1948 Chevrolet pickup with a 1960 Cadillac to create this long, low-slung hot rod. Not only did Calderone create bodywork resembling a winged mythical creature, but his detailed paintwork depicts a gargoyle curling across the surface from nose to tail.

Garage-built creations were heavily rewarded at this tour stop, with a metallic green 1967 Ford Econoline van taking the Mechanic’s Award. Named “EcoMac,” the rig was built to look like an eighteen-wheeler, complete with chrome exhaust stacks. The cab even opens to reveal the worked-over Ford engine.

READ MORE: The Wicked Customs at Hot Wheels Legends Tour: El Segundo

Kargoyle and the winners from other Legends Tour stops will compete for the chance to be made into a Hot Wheels diecast car in the finals this fall at the SEMA show in Las Vegas.


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