Application Stories

Bringing Toy Legends to Life

One of the big advantages of being in entertainment industry fabrication is the variety of projects that come your way. In Los Angeles fabricator Paul Clarke’s case, his career path has given him the opportunity to help bring the dream cars of many a little boy to life, creating fully-functional, life-sized versions of popular Mattel Hot Wheels cars.


Bringing Toy Legends to Life

Used in Mattel® Hot Wheels® promotional videos and at car shows and other events, the Bone Shaker® is one of fabricator Paul Clarke’s favorite projects.

Clarke has worked on at least five different Hot Wheels projects under contract with PCW Brands, a sister company to Northridge, Calif.-based Picture Car Warehouse. Mattel uses these cars for a variety of promotional purposes, including meet-and-greets at auto shows and other live events and in videos on its Hot Wheels website.

Out of the various Hot Wheels projects he has worked on, two in particular stand out as Clarke’s favorites – the classic Twin Mill and the Bone Shaker roadster.

He worked on rebuilding an old life-sized version of the popular Twin Mill car built by another fab shop back in the 1970s. The car, as Clarke notes, wasn’t drivable and, even if it was, didn’t have an adequate braking system. 

“We tore it down and built it back up to make it a fully functioning Hot Wheels car,” Clarke says.


Bringing Toy Legends to Life

The Mattel Twin Mill® car started life as a full size model and was reworked into a full size driveable automobile.

The other project, the one closest to his heart, is the Bone Shaker – a replica created from the ground up, based only on an exterior design provided by Mattel. That left a wide open playing field for creative design, as well as welding and fabricating innovation.

“These toy cars only have exterior features, none of which is appropriately sized for a real automobile,” Clarke says of Hot Wheels. “You can’t just scale your design off of the toy. So you have to start asking yourself questions, like, ‘How big would it be in real life?’ and ‘What kind of interior would it have?”

That’s exactly what Clarke and the PCW brands team did for the Bone Shaker.


Bringing Toy Legends to Life

Built entirely from the ground up, the Bone Shaker® is a fully functioning car. 

“We built it from scratch,” Clarke says, noting that his team created the car’s entire interior, based on its skeletal theme. “We thought this looked like a car from hell on the outside, so we wanted to be sure it looked like that on the inside.”


Bringing Toy Legends to Life

The fully custom interior includes a number of features that extend the skull-related theme of the car.

And Clarke’s team achieved it, with such detailing as a fiery red, black and silver color scheme accenting a 3D spinal column and skeleton’s head inside of the full-size, functional roadster, complementing a skull and painted flames on the car’s signature exterior.

“We built it as though it was a living, breathing entity,” Clarke says. "This one is special."