The SEMA show is not my favorite. In a bit of an rough mood this morning, and not holding back much.
Imagine walking around a normal auto show, like Chicago or Detroit, but instead of perhaps 70 brand displays, there are 70,000.
Such is SEMA. You might like a car, never know what it was or where it came from, and never see it again. So many tuners and OEMs descend on the Vegas strip every November — it can be hard to keep track, let alone care.
But then there is that one…
The 2014 Ford Transit Connect is poised to become of the most popular family and commercial vehicles in cities across the country.
This second-gen Transit Connect brings huge changes, including a LWB option and a Wagon variant with dual sliding doors and seven seats.
More on the Transit Connect Cargo and the TC Wagon in an upcoming article.
The focus here is Ford’s TC Cargo LWB with styling by Hot Wheels.
The blue paint and orange swirls of graphics are familiar from the Hot Wheels Camaro from last year, but the body styling is in a new league of excellent.
A full wide-body conversion sees the Transit Connect Cargo donor van stretched by at least a foot in overall width. Housing a wild new bumper and grille style, this Transit Connect looks like it should be wearing an ST badge!
In fact, that might not be a bad idea for 2015… As the Focus and the Transit Connect do share many bones under the skin.
More realistically, this nose graphic might be heading to the 2014.5 Focus ST, which has been seen testing with camoflage over its grille. Hopefully some upgraded LED running lights are part of the refresh, and HID beams that do not require an expensive option package to get. (ST3 option group needed on the Focus to get HID lights, and this package takes prices to $30,000, in case you wondered.)
2013 Ford Transit Cargo Concept by Hot Wheels
This next ‘RC truck come to life’ is really cool too, and powered by the (very) tunable Ford 1.0-liter EcoBoost Triple.
Very, very cool.
Hot Wheels – EcoBoost Rip Rod Concept
Official Release below from Ford.
2014 Ford Transit Connect Gets Sizzling New Look Courtesy of Hot Wheels for SEMA
- A Ford Transit Connect cargo van becomes the ultimate fantasy ride that any kid – big or small – would want to drive, courtesy of Hot Wheels®
- The Hot Wheels® Transit Connect is loaded with custom features inside and out, including two 18-inch tablets, a 55-inch television screen, gullwing doors and a built-in Hot Wheels® drag strip
- With a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 pounds, the Hot Wheels® Transit Connect is the perfect vehicle to haul the Ford 1.0-liter EcoBoost®-powered custom Rip Rod™
Ford Motor Company’s 2014 Transit Connect is tearing up the Las Vegas Strip with a sizzling new look courtesy of Hot Wheels®.
The Hot Wheels® concept of the Transit Connect cargo van, unveiled today at the 2013 Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas, has been transformed from a versatile people mover to a race-ready hauling machine that any kid – big or small – would want.
The Hot Wheels® brand, which has produced more than 4 billion toy cars since it was introduced by Mattel in 1968, unveiled its first life-size car in 2001 at SEMA.
“The Hot Wheels design team jumped at the chance to hot rod a Transit Connect van,” said Felix Holst, vice president of creative for Mattel Wheels Division. “The idea was to create a race-inspired support vehicle for the average guy to spend a weekend at the track testing his Hot Wheels race car.”
“The Hot Wheels Transit Connect features an entirely custom, euro-look wide body kit, Rotiform ROC wheels, sleeping quarters and tool storage for living the dream that most of us had playing with Hot Wheels as a child,” Holst added. “It even has slide-out drawers to keep your favorite Hot Wheels cars with you at all times.”
For this job, Michigan-based custom builder Ice 9 Group worked with designers from Ford and Hot Wheels®, taking a Transit Connect down to its basic elements and rebuilding it from the ground up, creating a one-of-a-kind dream machine.
“We basically reskinned a new vehicle,” said Keith Strong, president of Ice 9 Group. “We did all the computer-aided drafting and tooling, removing the old body panels and crafting a whole new look. Every single aspect of the exterior is different, including the roof. The idea was to show just how far out you can take a vehicle like this – a small van – that isn’t typically thought of when you go to SEMA.”
The Hot Wheels® Transit Connect, powered by a 2.5-liter Ti-VCT four-cylinder engine, has been widened 4 inches in front and 6 inches at the rear. It features functional custom exhaust ports on either side, gullwing doors in place of the sliding doors, new front fascia and bumpers inspired by Focus RS, and custom 20-inch wheels.
The interior of the Hot Wheels® Transit Connect has also been customized, with a Sortimo® secondary floor installed covering a set of drawers for tool storage, a 55-inch television screen, two 18-inch tablets and custom Recaro® seats from a Focus ST.
The tablets are installed in the rear doors. The television screen is installed in a bulkhead behind the front seats. Two Hot Wheels® orange tracks are recessed in the bed, forming a drag strip right down the center of the van.
Making use of Transit Connect’s towing capability, a custom trailer is hitched up to carry Rip Rod™, which is powered by a 1.0-liter EcoBoost® engine. Rip Rod™ was designed and built by Hot Wheels® in 2012.
Fans will get a chance to have their own Hot Wheels® Transit Connect in the form of a 1:64 die-cast scale model when it arrives on store shelves in fall 2014.
The Hot Wheels® Transit Connect is one of 10 custom Transit Connect vehicles Ford is featuring at this year’s SEMA show. Ford Transit Connect, named International Van of the Year 2014, launches as two distinct models – the traditional, hard-working cargo van, a panel-side hauler; and Transit Connect Wagon, a stylish, spacious and fuel-efficient people mover. The new Transit Connect vehicles will be in showrooms in early 2014.
About the Hot Wheels Brand
Since 1968, Hot Wheels® has been passionate about creating thrilling vehicle experiences through innovative product and content. With a fan base of more than 41 million people, Hot Wheels® is the No. 1 vehicle property in the United States producing the coolest cars imaginable. The Hot Wheels brand began as a line of 16 1:64-scale die-cast vehicles; today, it has evolved into a true, global lifestyle brand for boys of all ages with segments that range from aftermarket parts to licensed apparel to branded digital content from Team Hot Wheels®, a real-life race crew of professional drivers performing over-the-top stunts. Check out the official Hot Wheels website for the hottest car games and racing videos, and be sure to visit the Hot Wheels® Facebook page.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.