The Blown Delivery. The Volkswagen Drag Bus. The Dairy Delivery. The Rocket Oil. For 20 years now, Hot Wheels Lead Designer Phil Riehlman has been blowing collectors away with his creations for the brand. He added another gem to his all-star garage when the new Drag Dairy debuted in September of this year at the Hot Wheels Collectors Convention, premiering at the dinner honoring his 20-year anniversary with Mattel.
“I thought it’d be cool to do something special, a kind of a ‘thanks’ to the collectors to premiere it at the dinner,” Phil said.
The talented designer says that the project came about as a result of a request from the HWC/RLC team for a drag version of the Dairy Delivery. “We have talked about making variations of the Volkswagen Drag Bus and Dairy Delivery over the years. The first was the Volkswagen T1 Drag Bus.” When the team turned its attention to the Dairy Delivery, “We all agreed that the timing was right and that we should proceed with the project. As soon as we decided to move forward, I started sketching.”
What modifications would the Dairy Delivery see to become this wild new thing? “I really wanted this vehicle to be low, long, wide and have that funny car feel,” he reflects. “The opening body gave me the opportunity to carry forward the original intake from the Dairy Delivery and have it become a more elaborate intake for the Drag engine.”
“I also wanted to do something different with the exhaust, so I pulled it back to right in front of the rear wheels, rather than the typical area behind the front tire. I had to make some concessions to the rear of the vehicle for the tilt body. The parachutes were going to be part of the chassis, but had to be moved to the body. I also had to shorten the wheelie bar in order to clear the body. I closed off the rear windows because of the obstruction of the staking area, which worked out well because that would be typical for funny cars.”
It’s a fairly well-known story now that the Volkswagen Drag Bus presented some serious challenges during the production process. Phil points out that those types of issues were less of a problem when developing a piece specifically for HWC/RLC use. “The development of this one went relatively smoothly. There were no major costing or complexity issues that would have occurred if it were developed for another line first.”
Still, the Drag Dairy production was not without its challenges. “The biggest challenge came from the decision to debut the cars as my dinner car.” Having to hit a very specific release date on a project like the Drag Dairy wouldn’t be so easy. “It was a tight timeline with a solid date that had to be hit no matter what.” The piece showed up in time for the dinner – and it was a big hit.
But was Phil satisfied with the result? “I am very happy with the final result,” he says. “It was pretty close to my final sketches.”
Any chance of a 1:1 version showing up some day? Phil says that there are no plans at this time, but that you never know. “It would be fun to see this one going down the drag strip.”