Hot Wheels Designer Brendon Vetuskey turned a green ’67 Firebird into his own creation. Twice.

This may be one of the best cases of Hot Wheels not only replicating a real car, but actually replicating a process.

It is not uncommon to see a Hot Wheels version of a designer’s actual vehicle.  We have seen Jun Imai’s 510 Wagon and Fairlady Z, as well as Ryu Asada’s Honda S2000 and Acura NSX.  There are quite a few others.

The latest Designer vehicle to appear in Hot Wheels form?  Brendon Vetuskey’s Custom ’67 Firebird.

It’s raw.  Not a Walmart Zamac, just an unpainted Firebird with a black roundel and no hood.


That may be all you see on the surface, but there is a lot more.  I said it was a replica of a Designer’s vehicle.  This is the vehicle:


So that is cool enough.  Don’t ever doubt the automotive fortitude of the Hot Wheels Design Team.  This car is all Brendon.  He took a 67 Firebird, broke it all the way down, and customized it back up completely to his own specs.

But it goes EVEN further.  You may know that Hot Wheels already has a ’67 Firebird, which debuted in 2010.  Guess who designed it?  Yep, that Vetuskey guy.  The Hot Wheels Firebird debuted in 2010 in green:


Guess what?  So did the real BVbird, as Brendon calls it.


That is what is was.  This is what Brendon did to it:

(photo credit: Brendon Vetuskey)

So it starts with a green 67 Firebird 400, which Brendon turns into his very own custom.  Like big, like little.  Brendon did the exact same thing with the Hot Wheels replica.

He took the 67 he designed years earlier, and replicated all the changes he made to the real thing.  Custom side air intakes, larger wheel openings, racing seats, rollbar, toggles on the dash, chin and rear spoilers.  There are even more details on the chassis, and the honeycomb grill.  Brendon is a stickler for detail, and it shows.  Everywhere.



This is a tremendous final new model from what has been a great year.  We’ll do the Lamley Awards a little later in the year, but this one has to be up there for one of the best.  It’s badass.  I think that word was invented for cars like this.  Badass.

(Many thanks to Brendon for the photos and background.)

14 Replies to “Hot Wheels Designer Brendon Vetuskey turned a green ’67 Firebird into his own creation. Twice.”

  1. Would have liked to see the MC5’s on it instead of the OH5’s, but I won’t gripe. Don’t think the real car has a round black number/accent on the door but I guess it’s supposed to add interest.

    1. Umm…he put a picture of the (finished) real car right next to the Hot Wheels version. Sure looks like a black accent on the door to me.

      1. Oh yeah.. thanks for being my seeing eye dog. I went back to look and missed the photo w/the black spot on the driver’s door, but if you look right above.. you’ll see the photo of the real car w/the black spot missing from the passenger side!

      2. I’m guessing the car wasn’t quite finished when that photo was taken…at first I thought maybe it only had a spot on one side, but I think it has it on both sides…if you look at the pic of it without the spot, it LOOKS like the spoiler isn’t painted black yet either (though it’s hard to tell for sure), which makes me think that particular pic was before they had done the accents. I suppose it’s all a process…I’m guessing the work is never *really* finished 🙂

  2. I had no idea about the tie-in with the earlier Firebird 400 casting, and its debut being an homage to Brendon’s actual car, pre-customization. Very cool backstory, and makes me thankful to have the green one in my own collection. Can’t wait for the new one.

  3. Brilliant car and brilliant story. The casting is great as far as the details are concerned but this model is let down by a few things (yes I’m gonna be THAT guy and complain). The large rear wheels plague has returned and it gets more noticeable when the actual car is shown side by side. Also the lack of basic tampo details is a bit appalling since the rest of the car is almost plain. And those wheels, as good as they look on sports cars, don’t work here. Should’ve used MC5 intead. This model badly needs a premium version to really show off how good it is.

    P.S. some of you may think why am I ranting about a 1 dollar model, well it costs a lot more than 1 dollar at my place (and many others). Anyway, it’ll enter my collection regardless.

    1. I’ll offer a counterpoint to a couple of your thoughts…I would argue the lack of tampo (for once) is not a big deal here…it emphasizes the stripped down nature of the vehicle. Normally I’d be right there with you in complaining about not enough tampo, but I think it works here. And the wheel choice I don’t think is so bad either. The MC5 would have looked a bit better (and would actually match the real car a lot better), but the OH5 isn’t such a bad choice…I think the fact that it’s used more often on modern sports cars actually is okay in this context, because it plays to the car’s “resto-mod” appearance.

      But that’s just like, my opinion, man.

      Now I DO agree with you that the large rear wheels are a definite blight on this otherwise stellar design. I’m surprised Brendon would have allowed that, considering how much of a labor of love this clearly is to him. I’m just thankful the car doesn’t have a cartoony ass-up forward rake.

  4. Nice Firebird. Thanks for the preview.
    Hot Wheels should stop to put big rear wheels on most of their models. That’s not cool, just ugly.

  5. That is cool. That is an awesome car. I will be on the hunt for this one thumbs up. I would love to see that real car in person thumbs up.

  6. Great car great story but that dot is hideous for me. Don’t want to dis the guys car but it’s not my cup of tea. Why a black dot I don’t get it. It looks like a blacked out number. All that said the car is a masterpiece! I have no problem with big wheels but they sould look right. This should have real riders nothing short. It is a badass car it should look it. This looks like the car has low profile tires hurts the look of the car.

    1. Right.. I have to agree with you about the black dot. It must represent something personal for Mr. Vetuskey, but it has a very vague appearance about it.. it kinda’ looks incomplete like it should have a race number of sorts.. in white over the black.
      I can see it adorned w/RR’s .. maybe HW’s can do a special series (i.e. Designers Challenge) which incorporates special creations from in house like this ’67 Firebird or others like Jun Imai’s Fairlady Z and Ryu Asada’s Honda S2000 utilizing premium paint, wheels w/RR’s.

  7. I love the casting and agree with many prior comments regarding the wheel choices. I would like to see the car painted grey rather than the zamac finish (leave the zamac’s for Wal-Mart). I think it would be cool with front and rear tampos showing the headlights/ tailights /grille/ license plates rather than the black circle on the doors.

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