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If you live in Santa Fe you may have seen 69-year-old Paul Kalenian zooming down the road in a car he built himself. The car hitting the pavement recently, may soon hit the shelves at Walmart’s worldwide. “Wouldn’t it be nice to leave something behind after I pass that kids can play with,” said Paul Kalenian. “So this Hot Wheels opportunity looks like that to me.”
Kalenian is a finalist in the “Hot Wheels Legends Tour” happening May 20. The winner will move onto the next round of the Hot Wheels’ international contest that will immortalize a life-size car a contestant built, into a Hot Wheels toy.
Kalenian said it took him nine months to build the two-seat car he calls “Lulu.” It’s made of aluminum, weighs more than 1,500 pounds and can hit speeds up to 160 miles per hour. “I thought the car should be very low to the ground, very wide, somewhat sleek and very light,” said Kalenian.
Win or lose, he said he’s already a winner. Kalenian says he got to continue his passion of taking apart and building cars during this competition, which he used to do with his father every weekend growing up. “Even though he passed away some 50 years ago, the two of us, oddly, still talk in that shop and we work through problems together and it’s very nice,” said Kalenian.
The contest is being held virtually on Hot Wheels’ Facebook page on May 20 at 6 p.m.