Scarlet Prominance: Custom Hot Wheels '71 Toyota Celica TA22

My favorite custom I've ever built, from beginning to end.

My starting point, found in a thrift store before Mattel got the Toyota license back.

My starting point, found in a thrift store before Mattel got the Toyota license back.

I've always liked the TA22/RA20 Celica notchback. I haven't, however, always liked the Hot Wheels version. While it is scaled and proportioned decently, the huge fender flares and spoilers ruin it for me, as does the poor execution of the GT striping on the version I customized, as seen in this article. While browsing a thrift store toy aisle in October 2019, I found a loose, almost perfect condition Hot Wheels TA22 Celica, and decided to try my hand at building it as a factory stock version.

I drilled out the casting, did away with the awful original wheels, cut the chin spoiler off, hand-filed the fender flares and rear deck spoiler off, leaving factory-original sized fender well lips in the place of the exaggerated flares, and sanded away the sharp edges on the sides of the roof.

Ultimately I did a little more fine-tuning, changed the wheels to ones off a damaged Motormax Fresh Cherries Ford Pinto, painted the woodgrain instrument binnacle and steering wheel rim into the interior and detailed the glass piece, and chose a paint color: the wonderfully "Japanglish" named, oddly misspelled hue of "Scarlet Prominance" that was available in Japan for 1970 and in the US for 1971-72, which was close enough to Dupli-Color Cherry Red rattle can to be easily findable.

The bodywork was finally ready for paint, and was stripped with Aircraft Paint Stripper, shot with a light guide coat of Dupli-Color scratch-filling primer, and then shot with the Dupli-Color red that closely matched a rare 1/1 scale Toyota paint code.

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