2013 SEMA: Ford Transit Connect Hot Wheels, 1956 F-100 Debut

Ford used its press conference at the 2013 SEMA show to reveal two new one-off models. The first, based on a standard 2014 Ford Transit Connect, shows that it's not only Chevrolet who can partner with a toy manufacturer. Like the Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels Edition, this Ford Transit Connect was designed to match the famous children's toys. Although Hot Wheels conceived the car's design, the 2014 Ford Transit Connect was built by Ice Nine Group. A new paint job reprises the toy brand's famous blue-and-orange color scheme, while wild new wheels are designed to look like the miniature rolling stock on Hot Wheels toys. To accommodate those wheels, the van has four-inch front fender flares and six-inch rear flares; the nose has a gaping front fascia cribbed from the Ford Focus RS. Given that it's based on a Ford Transit Connect van, the Hot Wheels toy was designed to be functional. It packs tool kits, a bunk, and a tow hitch for the amateur racer who wants to tow his race car to a weekend track event. And should he (or she) get bored with real cars, the rear of the Transit Connect has a slide-out drawer with special compartments to store Hot Wheels cars. Naturally, there's also a track include in the cargo area. Although Ford will not sell a real-life version of the Transit Connect Hot Wheels edition, it will be available in toy form by next fall. Next up, KISS bassist Gene Simmons and his wife, Shannon Tweed, took the stage to reveal a custom 1956 Ford F-100 that they commissioned to raise money for a children's hospital. Tweed's hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is one of only two Canadian provinces without a children's hospital. To help, Tweed started the Wheels of Dreams project to build this truck and auction it for charity. The 1956 Ford F-100, called "Snakebit," has been totally overhauled and styled to pay homage to classic Shelby muscle-car designs. A supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 engine delivers 550 hp to the 20-inch rear wheels by way of a six-speed manual transmission. "Under the word 'hot' in the dictionary, you'll find a picture of this truck," Simmons told the crowd. "Snakebit" will be auctioned by Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Arizona, in January 2014. All the proceeds will go to building the aforementioned hospital, so Simmons told the crowd, "I'm looking for a million dollars," noting that the price was worth it because, "I touched it [the truck]."

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