BIG SPRING, Texas (Nexstar)- Ryan Rutledge, of Big Spring, and his car, will be honored as a finalist Thursday in a Virtual Hot Wheels Legends Tour stop.
The winning car from Thursday’s event will have a chance to compete later this year in a final competition, with the ultimate prize of being immortalized into an iconic Hot Wheels die-cast car to be sold at Walmart worldwide.
His car is a modified 2009 Smart Fortwo “Smart Runner.”
“I had no intention of ever owning a smart car,” said Rutledge. “A buddy with a local windmill company used a smart car to go around and check on windmills. He blew the engine, and then called and asked if I wanted it. I told him that if he could deliver it, that I’d take it.”
Once he had the car, he figured he had nothing to lose by going all out, “The car was totally free, so there was no chance of ruining it.”
He converted it into a smart runner, with a Stage 3 turbo system, racing suspension, and Baja inspired body modifications.
Four other people in Big Spring have since asked him to build them a “Smart Runner,” spawning his new side-hustle, “Smart Runner Conversions.”
When asked what it would mean to him to win the prize and have a diecast car made of his car, Rutledge said, “It would mean the world to be. It would be fantastic. Most of my builds are obscure. This one reminds me of a full-sized Hot Wheels car. It would be fun to add to the package to present to the owners of their new ‘Smart Runners.’”
Want to watch the competition Thursday? You can tune in and watch the action on Hot Wheels’ Facebook page.