Near the end of the last school year, I purchased a pack of three extremely cheap pull-back toy cars. They had rubber wheels for traction but the cars themselves were nothing more than clear plastic shells. Thinking I could do better, I thought maybe I could stick the pull-back motors into Hot wheels cars. I was afraid the metal cars would be too heavy for the weak motors but I went forward with the project anyway once I returned home from school.
I didn't get a picture of the original cheap car but here's the Hot Wheels '70 Mustang under construction
Because I generally like to keep my cars in good shape (i.e. not chipping paint or bending axles), I had to find a car that I wasn't as protective about and had the right proportions to fit the rubber wheels. I had two of these red 1970 Mustangs so I took one apart and started working on it. The larger rubber wheels still had space in the Mustang's hilariously large wheel wells.
'70 Ford Mustang and '70 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
Inserting the motor required cutting a hole in the undercarriage of the car so it could even fit under the roof, as well as opening up the axle mounts to accommodate the thicker axles from the pull-back car. I also had to cut down the interior piece to allow the motor to fit in so everything behind the dashboard was removed from the Mustang. I was pretty pleased with how that one came out and it only took an hour to make. The motor wasn't as weak as I thought; the Mustang moved itself forward at a reasonable pace.
The headlights and taillights of these cars were detailed by me some time after buying them
A few days after that, I gave a '70 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am the same treatment. This time, it required even the wheel wells be opened up a little bit with the sander attachment on a Dremel. The picture above shows bare metal inside the wheel wells as a result of that. Also, since the Trans Am wasn't originally as high riding as the Mustang was, I had to file out the axle mounts even further, causing me to accidentally separate undercarriage forward of the front axle. I hate it when this happens. It required a little more work trying to get the front axle to roll smoothly without falling out of the car. The interior of this one turned out a little nicer, though. I was able to get away with leaving the outer halves of both front seats with the motor in between, which also gave me more surface area to glue the motor in and make sure it stayed. The Trans Am doesn't run as well as the Mustang, partly because of the front axle business and the fact that the motor was weaker to begin with, despite the Trans Am being lighter.
My third pull-back car is still sitting untouched and now that I have a Mustang and a Trans Am, I'm looking for a 1970 Dodge Challenger or Plymouth Barracuda to complete the American Big 3 pony car trio. I still have yet to find a Hot Wheels casting of one that has goofy enough proportions to fit the big wheels, though.