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Meet the man behind Hot Wheels

Designer Larry Wood embodies the 'Do what you love' principle

  • Hot Wheels

Meet Larry Wood, the man who literally made Hot Wheels what they are today.

A car fanatic and artist for as long as he can remember, Wood began his career with a stint designing for Ford in Detroit and then moved on to toy-maker Mattel, Carbuzz reports.

While there, his creativity was allowed to flourish, and some of the most famous and memorable Hot Wheels design were the result.

When he retired, Wood set off on a new mission: customizing real cars in his own garage in the spirit of his Hot Wheels past.

This new video interview (below) with Wood comes courtesy of the crew at Hot Rod magazine. It’s a delightful discussion that explores how one man made his passion into his career and life’s work.

This is a man who lives, sleeps, eats and breathes cars.

Ask him what he remembers about high school and he tells you, “I remember that the math paper didn’t have lines, so I could draw cars on it.”

Mattell Hot Wheels

Ask him to share a childhood memory and he’ll tell you about how his dad, a football coach, caught one of his players reading a car magazine instead of doing football drills and took it away from him in disgust. He brought the magazine home, young Larry found it, and the rest is history.

Because he knew in that instant what his destiny was. And it sure wasn’t football.

“I read that thing from top to bottom,” he says. “It changed my life.”

This video, below, which fairly shimmers with Wood’s still-fresh passion for what he does, is a treat for anyone who loves cars, drawing, and of course, Hot Wheels.

But first, some trivia:

Wood has created some of the best-known and unique Hot Wheels cars, including the ’49 Merc, the Boyd Coddington collector set and the Ramblin’ Wrecker (which originally featured Wood’s phone number on its sides).

His initials have been featured on some 2009 cars, such as the ’41 Pickup and Hiway Hauler.

Each one bears the name “Elwood” (as in L. Wood).


  • Meet the man behind Hot Wheels
  • Meet the man behind Hot Wheels
  • Meet the man behind Hot Wheels
  • Meet the man behind Hot Wheels
  • Meet the man behind Hot Wheels
  • Meet the man behind Hot Wheels

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