Back in 1967, former Chrysler and General Motors car designer Ira Gifford was one of the first recruits hired to create vehicles for Mattel’s then-new Hot Wheels line of toys. In the three years that Gifford worked for Mattel, he created some of the most memorable of Hot Wheels cars, including Splittin’ Image, Torero, Turbofire and the now-iconic Twin Mill.
Fast forward several decades and Gifford is living in Connecticut where, over the course of three years, he has reproduced the Twin Mill as a full-scale, hand-built and operating vehicle that is on display this week at the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
Like the 1:64-scale toy, the full-size car features a pair of big V8 engines, as well as two separate drivetrains and a pair of rear differentials. According to Gifford’s spokesman who accompanied the car to SEMA, each engine provides 575 horsepower on pump fuel or as much as 1,000 horsepower when running on nitrous.
Gifford’s representative said that car is built on a stretched 1967 Chevrolet Corvette chassis because Gifford was involved in the design of the original ’67 ‘Vette.
The car’s front and rear bodywork power open clam-shell style at the touch of a switch. The rear section reveals a three-seat passenger compartment with the driver positioned in the middle.
Gifford’s spokesman said only the driver can actually fit inside the car when it is running, and explained that the outboard seats are there so youngsters can sit in them to get their pictures taken when the car is stationary.
He also said that the toy Twin Mill car is being reissued and priced at $10 each with the money going to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation and that after the SEMA Show, the car will be touring the country visiting various Make-A-Wish events.