ONTARIO, Calif. — For more than five decades, kids — big and small — have entertained themselves with Hot Wheels, careening miniaturized toy cars down elaborately built stretches of orange track in the hopes of achieving the seemingly impossible: a gravity-defying loop-de-loop.

Recognizing that it was a childhood phase for most Americans, Mattel has spent much of the last decade transforming dozens of those 1:64 scale cars into 1:1 life-size models to extend their appeal into adulthood.

What You Need To Know

  • The Hot Wheels Ultimate Drive-Thru Experience runs December 3 through January 2 at Toyota Arena in Ontario

  • The event features more than 50 life-size versions of Hot Wheels cars and monster trucks arranged in different settings

  • Bone Shaker, Twin Mill, and Bigfoot are among the vehicles visitors will experience on the mile-long drive

  • Drivers can have their cars photographed inside a life-size blister pack

Now, the toymaker has created an all-ages event for people to see more than 50 life-size versions of their favorite die-cast models during the first Hot Wheels Ultimate Drive-Thru Experience, kicking off December 3 at the Toyota Arena in Ontario.

Part drive-in movie theater, part monster truck show, part roller coaster ride, the event is set up as a mile-long drive that attendees will take in their own vehicles, past Hot Wheels cars and monster trucks arranged in different settings.

"They won’t just be parked there," said Ricardo Briceno, vice president of franchise marketing for Mattel. “We might have a monster truck crushing other cars,” he said. 

Briceno said Bigfoot and the half-tiger, half-shark Tiger Shark will be part of the experience.

“We might have a monster truck hanging on a crane," he said. 

Among the iconic cars that will be part of the fun: Twin Mill, the first Hot Wheels toy that was ever built into a life-size car, with two engines sticking out of its sides; the skull-laden Bone Shaker hot rod; the Loop Coupe that, in 2012, broke the world record for two cars going through a six-story-tall double loop at the X Games in downtown L.A.; and Deora II, built to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Hot Wheels by paying homage to the surfboard-carrying Deora I created by the legendary toy’s first designer.

There will also be a guest appearance from the Megasaurus, the car-eating, fire-belching metal dinosaur that is three stories tall and weighs more than 50,000 pounds. A fan favorite that lifts, crushes, and chomps cars, it likes to snack on Dodge Omnis, Plymouth Horizons, and the occasional Chevy Citation. 

The Ultimate Drive-Thru Experience builds upon Mattel’s longstanding live shows, including the Hot Wheels Legends Tour, where enthusiasts show off their own custom builds in the hopes of having Mattel transform them into a die-cast model, and Monster Trucks Live stadium shows, where gargantuan trucks with even larger personalities careen through the dirt popping wheelies and smashing cars.

Mattel paused both series in March due to COVID. 

“We’re not taking an experience that existed in real life and making it be physically distanced,” Briceno said of the Ultimate Drive-Thru. “This experience was created to be enjoyed and maximized with the current setting — very safe but very fun for the entire family.”

It was inspired, he said, by the recognition that Hot Wheels has a massive fleet of full-size cars that are housed in its Garage of Legends in El Segundo and access to the monster trucks that routinely perform at its live shows.  

In keeping with the pomp and bombast of those shows, the Ultimate Drive-Thru Experience will include an audio tour that presents Hot Wheels trivia to a throbbing soundtrack. Like a drive-in movie theater, participants hear it by tuning in to a specific frequency on their car radios.

There will also be an in-car photo op where participants can park their vehicles inside an oversized Hot Wheels blister pack, as if their daily driver was packaged as a toy.

The Hot Wheels Ultimate Drive-Thru Experience starts December 3 and runs through January 2. Tickets go on sale Friday.

But don’t worry if you can’t make it to the original run. Briceno said the show is likely to continue after COVID.