Comic-Con 2014: Mattel's surprisingly awesome life-sized Darth Vader Car
Mattel is selling a special edition Hot Wheels car at Comic-Con 2014 that was inspired by Darth Vader. It's not hard to find on the show floor, since the Mattel booth is accompanied by a life-sized replica that really drives.
The first-ever partnership between Hot Wheels and Star Wars has yielded the best result imaginable. $40 will get you the toy in special lightsaber packaging. For those reading this at home, unfortunately you're out of luck. The toy car can only be purchased at Comic-Con for now. In October, the car will go on sale in stores, presumably in standard packaging.
To promote the new toy, Mattel partnered with PCW Brands to custom-build a real-life version of the car, and the result is a remarkably sleek hotrod that's been named the "Darth Car." It began its life as a C5 Corvette, but upgraded with a more powerful C6 engine. PCW constructed a one-of-a-kind fiberglass shell and fit it overtop the customized chassis. The Darth Car has been clocked at 80mph on the open road, but PCW's CEO Billy Hammon believes it's capable of reaching 150mph. It can even drift, thanks to a secondary hand brake. The whole thing was put together in less than two months.
If details are everything, then the details on the Darth Car are flat-out jaw-dropping. The windshield, cockpit and front grill are designed to resemble Vader's helmet. The hood plate above the engine is modeled after the chest panel on Vader's suit. Side pipes match Vader's lightsaber and even light up.
Get this: it even breathes like Vader. The familiar breathing sound is one of several Star Wars audio effects built into the car, all of which are controlled by iPad. Perhaps most impressively, the cockpit slides up and open exactly the same way that Vader's helmet does, as seen in the classic trilogy. PCW actually built a smoke device into the seal that puts out white smoke when the cockpit hatch is opened.
The Darth Car is currently on display at the Mattel booth at Comic-Con '14, where it sits in a giant piece of Hot Wheels' familiar orange track.
When the toy Darth Vader Car goes on sale in October, it won't be alone. It's part of a line of at least six Hot Wheels Star Wars cars fans can collect. The collection includes other toy vehicles stylized after Yoda (a smartcar), Chewbacca (a monster truck, naturally), R2-D2 (an old school hotrod), Luke Skywalker (sports car) and a Clone Trooper (SUV). You can see the designs for all six here.