Life Size (2020–…): Season 1, Episode 3 - Loops and Corkscrews: The Hot Wheels Stunt Cars - full transcript

Imagine if you could do crazy Hot Wheels® stunts with real life cars. Impossible, right? What person would hurl themselves into a loop or a corkscrew? On this episode of Life Size, ...

(upbeat guitar music)

(car zooming)

- You can't think about Hot Wheels

without picturing the iconic orange loop,

or corkscrew stunt tracks we all used

to play with as kids.

Fueling young imaginations with

what it would be like to
jump their favorite cars

and have them perform what seemed

to be impossible real life stunts.

But I have exclusive access to two cars

that were built for Hot
Wheels' Garage of Legends,

with the soul purpose of making

those wild childhood dreams, come true.

(upbeat guitar music)

(car zooming)

On this episode of Life
Size, I've got not one,

but two cars we'll be driving.

The Loop Coupe, built off
of a Mitsubishi Evo frame,

and the Corkscrew Buggy,
built from the ground up.

These cars were made for the track,

but not just any track.

We're here at Mattel
where the magic begins.

Let's go see how these cars come to life.

(upbeat guitar music)

Released the same year as the original

Sweet 16 Hot Wheels set, the first

Hot Wheels' racing track helped boost

these model cars beyond their competitors.

The orange, interchangeable track

has stuck with the brand
for the last 50 years.

We are here at the design
bunker at Hot Wheels.

Look at there.

That's amazing.

(gentle guitar music)

This is Alton Takeyasu.

He is the key principle designer

for the Hot Wheels' brand.

And in 2006 became the Chief Designer

for their full size concept cars division.

Thank you so much for joining us.

- Oh you're welcome.

- What do you think has
made Hot Wheels so relevant?

Is it the stunt design behind it?

- I think a lot of it is the stunts,

because that's how Hot Wheels was born.

Because there were dye-cast cars before,

but they were just for
display or for pushing around,

but when they said, why can't

we make them go faster
and put them on track?

That was the birth of Hot
Wheels, the orange track,

and the loop and everything.
(car zooming)

- We've got this amazing
stunt track, right here.

Can we pick out a car
and let it have it here?

I want to do this.
- Sure.

I think when you see any child

put a car through a
loop for the first time,

or do one of these things here,

that it is magical.

- I'll be down here,
I'm going to root ya on.

- And it does really
open up your imagination

and captures the thrill.

(car zooming)

(car banging)

And then we tried

to provide that in real life stunts too.

- I know you've designed and built

a lot of various life size to actual

Hot Wheels Collection cars.

Can you tell me what your
favorite would've been?

- The Corkscrew Buggy.

- Yes.
- Yes, or

the Barrel Roll Buggy.

That's the first time
I have to design a car

that someone's going to
be driving and risking

their lives in.

- I know you had a lot to do with

the loop in that stunt.

- Yes.

And we thought that's really cool,

this is a really big statement,
it'll sell Hot Wheels,

and it's going to be at the X-Games,

everybody's going to be seeing this.

So I tried to overdo a lot of overlays

to hide the donor car, but
not mess up Tanner's vision.

His ability to drive the thing.

- Engineering wise, what
goes behind building

a loop for race cars?

Where wind tunnel and
where aero is so important,

is that the same for building
something like the loop?

- I think they found
out in the real testing,

that the cars couldn't go through it

as fast as they wanted to.

The cars were bottoming
out on the suspensions

and damaging the suspensions, because

there's too much G-force.

So they had to back of the speed,

so you have to, not bottom the car out,

but you have to have enough speed

to make it all the way around.

So that's real right stuff kind of thing

where you've got a guy, telling a guy,

"You have to go through
this as slow as you can."

- That would seem

extremely scary.
- That's physically safe.

It still looks pretty
fast when you see it.

That takes a lot of guts to do that.

- Thank you so much for your time Alton.

- My pleasure.

(upbeat guitar music)

- We're in willow springs with

two amazing life size cars.

And we have a very special guest here

to chat with us about them.

- Hey Nicole, how are you?

- Hey Tanner.

- Yeah, good to see you.
- Good to see you.

Tanner, thank you so much
for being here today.

I know one of these cars,
if not both of them,

you are familiar with.

- Yeah, I mean, I've
been around both of them,

but certainly spent a lot more time

in this Loop Machine that we did

the World Record, Double Loop Dare

at X-Games.
- The Loop.

- Yes, the Loop.

- So I drive drag cars, right?

- [Tanner] Yep.

- Pro mods, 4500 horsepower
people, like you're crazy.

But you're talking to me
about a stunt called The Loop.

And suddenly, I'm feeling
like, I'm not the crazy one.

- Hot Wheels wanted to do a double loop.

So it was two cars that formed into one.

- It wasn't good enough just to do

- No.

And then it had to be six stories tall.

Which is like a World Record.
- Of course.

- The toy is a circle right?

The loop of the circle.

It's not like a roller coaster,

which is like an ellipse,
where it goes up shallow

and there's a little
steep turn at the top,

and then comes back down.

If you did that, you
could lower the forces

on the car at the two fastest
points, at the bottom.

And then when you're going the slowest,

you can make the tightest little loop.

So that would've been nice, but no,

it had to be a circle,
which meant when the car

hit the loop, it hit 6.8 Gs,
right down the driver's seat.

It can pull your hands
off the steering wheel,

can pull your feel off
the pedals, and can make

you black out really easily.

- Like plane Gs.

- That's like fighter jet Gs.

And unlike a plane, it was instantaneous.

So that's a clear way to just
instantly drain your brain

of blood to the point that your brain

just shuts off for a
second and you black out.

- I mean, why not?

- Yeah, which is not good.

- No.
- And then, just to mix it up,

they put a jump afterwards,
just in case you blacked out

and made it through the loop.

- A little more challenge

to the game.
- Somehow, yeah, you

had to clear a jump.

We did the loop, Greg's car broke,

he shot springs out of the side.

I saw him going out, I
went to the throttle,

I didn't have anything, my
intake hose had popped off.

And so we barely cleared the jump

and, you know, we're hugging each other,

tears of joy at the end.

But ultimately, it was good fun.

Are you going to drive my car now?

- Yeah.

I am.

Is that okay?

- Yeah.

- I'm not going to do a loop though.

I'll tell ya that.

- You what, come on.
- No, no.

(upbeat guitar music)

Developed by action vehicle engineering,

the Corkscrew Buggy,
aka Barrel Roll Buggy,

was built from the ground up off

Alton's stunt car model design.

This monster's got a four
cylinder, 220 horsepower engine,

Mendeola transmission, method race wheels,

and BFGoodrich, mud
terrain, 31 inch tires.

This design required plenty of forethought

to avoid any elements that could've caused

harm to the driver in
the event of a crash.

And because the car had
to be centrally balanced,

Alton designed it to hide some of

the required pieces of the build.

Those wings on the back?

Yeah, they're not for aero dynamics.

(upbeat guitar music)

Where as the Loop Coupe, also developed

by action vehicle engineering, started

it's life as a Mitsubishi Evo.

Hot Wheels added some custom body panels

and shortened the front
end for better performance.

The throttle has a
custom locking mechanism

so that the precise
speed could be maintained

throughout the entire stet.

It's got a four cylinder, turbo engine,

that pumps out 155 more
horsepower than the Buggy,

for a total of 375.

With a six speed transmission
in all-wheel drive,

The Loop Coupe has specifically
designed suspension

to withstand 7Gs of force.

(upbeat guitar music)

All right Tanner, I'm in the Loop car.

52.5 baby.

- 52.5 (laughs), that's all she's got.

I really hope this isn't the actual truck

that Brent jumped because
this thing is pretty rough.

That's the thing about
movie cars and stunt cars,

is sometimes they're really not good.

Stunt guys and girls, they just have

to deal with anything they're handed.

- That exhaust must be
right on top of you,

'cause I can barely hear you.

- Yeah, this sounds
like a Volkswagen Beetle

from my high school I think.

(cars zooming)

(upbeat guitar music)

- Got to hug those
corners, hug those corners.

- Yeah, I'm topped out, topped
out in this little baby.

That's the thing about stunts and racing,

they don't really cross that much.

You know, race cars are built to do a job

that lasts a long time, but a stunt car

is built to do one thing.

But it's not very good at anything else.

- What do you think
your friend would think

about your driving his old stunt car?

- I think he would be glad that somebody

appreciates how difficult it was for him

to do the stunt in this thing.

You really just got to
pony up and get it done,

regardless of what you're handed.

(upbeat guitar music)

(cars zooming)

Yeah, these things are pretty scary right?

- (laughs) Very scary.

I was hoping I wasn't going to have

to hit the loop at any time.

- And it gives you an idea of

what it's like to strap into these.

I mean, you're not
strapping into a Bentley

or something super nice
when you go do these stunts.

It's just basically about getting it done

one time and then throwing it away.

- It's an absolute shell is what it is.

And I give you kudos for
everything you've done.

- Well, that is a luxury machine compared

to what Brent Fletcher did in this.

I can't believe he hucked himself

into a corkscrew in this thing.

But, you know, it gets
around the race track.

- Hey, we did it, we accomplished it.

We signed the waiver and we're alive.

(upbeat jazz music)

(cars zooming)

While the tracks of Willow Springs aren't

the classic Hot Wheels' orange,

I still feel like a little
dye-cast car zipping around.

So Hot Wheels?

Next time you want to
pull off some crazy stunt?

You know who to call.

(cars zooming)

(intense drumming)

(engine humming)

- Carbon monoxide poisoning.


- That sucks.

(engine humming)