HomeCar CultureSEMA Seen: Twin Mill

SEMA Seen: Twin Mill


Hot Wheels toy grows up: the Twin Mills
Hot Wheels toy grows up: the Twin Mill

Back in 1967, former Chrysler and General Motors car designer Ira Gifford was one of the first recruits hired to create vehicles for Mattel’s then-new Hot Wheels line of toys. In the three years that Gifford worked for Mattel, he created some of the most memorable of Hot Wheels cars, including Splittin’ Image, Torero, Turbofire and the now-iconic Twin Mill.

Fast forward several decades and Gifford is living in Connecticut where, over the course of three years, he has reproduced the Twin Mill as a full-scale, hand-built and operating vehicle that is on display this week at the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

Hood closed but passenger compartment open
Hood closed but passenger compartment open

Like the 1:64-scale toy, the full-size car features a pair of big V8 engines, as well as two separate drivetrains and a pair of rear differentials. According to Gifford’s spokesman who accompanied the car to SEMA, each engine provides 575 horsepower on pump fuel or as much as 1,000 horsepower when running on nitrous.

Gifford’s representative said that car is built on a stretched 1967 Chevrolet Corvette chassis because Gifford was involved in the design of the original ’67 ‘Vette.

The car’s front and rear bodywork power open clam-shell style at the touch of a switch. The rear section reveals a three-seat passenger compartment with the driver positioned in the middle.

Gifford’s spokesman said only the driver can actually fit inside the car when it is running, and explained that the outboard seats are there so youngsters can sit in them to get their pictures taken when the car is stationary.

Front and rear open clamshell style
Front and rear open clamshell style

He also said that the toy Twin Mill car is being reissued and priced at $10 each with the money going to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation and that after the SEMA Show, the car will be touring the country visiting various Make-A-Wish events.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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