In 1994, Hot Wheels released a series of eight cars, known as the Vintage Series. Each of these cars was a retooling of a popular car previously released in the company’s early years, and served as a continuation of Hot Wheels’ 25 anniversary celebration.
Today, we look at Twin Mill:
Twin Mill was originally part of the 1969 Hot Wheels releases. Like Splittin’ Image, Twin Mill was another completely original design.
Mattel was under a fair amount of pressure for 1969. They had just introduced their new diecast line, Hot Wheels, which was a breakout hit. Mattel was eager to continue to build on the diecast line’s success, however, they had a non-insignificant issue. Their lead designer, Harry Bentley Bradley, who was responsible for most of the original “Sweet Sixteen”, left the company. He was uninterested in coming back, leaving Mattel in a bit of a tight spot. Harry did suggest a suitable replacement, Ira Gilford. Ira had done a bit of work before, collaborating with Harry on the Custom Volkswagen casting from 1968. Mattel brought Ira on full time to design the 1969 Hot Wheels lineup.
Twin Mill is arguable one of the most famous Hot Wheels castings. Twin Mill gets its name, of course, from its two large engines with equally large air scoops. That, coupled with the sleek, surfboard-like body and exposed rear wheels, means that this design is very attention getting.
Twin Mill was so attention getting, that a Mattel executive decided that a full-sized replica would be built for the 30th anniversary of the Hot Wheels brand. The project was originally entrusted to Boyd Coddington and Chip Foose. Boyd’s shop went bankrupt later that year, and the project was shelved.
The project was revived at the request of then Hot Wheels Director Carson Lev. Hot-rodder Barry Lobeck and later, Carron Industries, completed the job, and the full-sized Twin Mill made its debut at SEMA in 2001. The car is fully functional, with provisions made for limited street operation. The car also features twin 502 big blocks, producing an estimated 1,400 horsepower.
The full-sized car was later painted teal, and now goes on tour around the country.
As for the diecast, several follow-up castings were created, including Twin Mill II and Twin Mill III.