The toys of yesteryear gave kids false hopes about reality: Barbie with the unrealistic body type, “Mouse Trap” equating rodent infestations with fun, and Hot Wheels making every 10-year-old boy in America think he'll drive a Ferrari someday.
But thanks to Hack Rod, a digital automotive manufacturing company, soon the average Joe may not only be able to enjoy his dream car — he’ll even help design it.
Founded by Felix Holst, former VP of Creative for Mattel Hot Wheels, and Mike “Mouse” McCoy, a former motorcycle racer and stuntman, Hack Rod brings together virtual reality, artificial intelligence, generative design, a cloud-based supply chain and 3D printing in hopes of offering “bespoke vehicle solutions.” In other words, fully-customizable autos for those who aren’t billionaires and/or car junkies.
Sure, their list of components sounds like it was spit out of a Silicon Valley start-up generator, but the background Holst and McCoy share blends modern technology with old-school muscle: they partnered on the “Hot Wheels for Real” campaign behind the life-size double loop and world record distance jump.
More than that, their proof-of-concept car is a stunner:
Christened “La Bandita,” the Shelby Cobra-like speedster “will be designed in mixed reality, engineered by artificial intelligence, and made with advanced manufacturing techniques.”
That’s according to the crowdfunding/investing campaign they recently launched on MicroVentures. After a few years of development (Hack Rod launched in 2015), the company is hoping to get sufficient funding to show their car-industry disruption actually works, then automate the process for users and create a user-friendly digital platform.
While Hack Rod is far from being the only company looking to bridge new technology and auto manufacturing, if this build-your-own-car thing plays out, your humble correspondent knows exactly which Hot Wheels he’s getting.