The Hot Wheels Legends Tour is back for its third consecutive year and Super Street is very excited to play a large part in the 2020 competition, which takes place 100% virtually! The 5th round of the Legends Tour went down last month as I, along with YouTuber and JDM car builder Dustin Williams, were invited to be guest judges to see which vehicle has what it takes to be made into the next Hot Wheels toy.
Boy, was it a fun experience, but also grueling as 20 diverse builds were put under the microscope from all across America. Cars would be critiqued on several variables including originality, execution, authenticity and being plain 'ol rad to look at. The two and half hour debate on Facebook livestream was watched by over 500,000 viewers, with top honors going to SoCal native Dionne Mascunana and his 2007 Porsche Cayman S.
WE ALL START SOMEWHERE
Before jumping into Dionne's Cayman, it's noteworthy to take a look back at this history. He got into the scene 15 years ago with a Mazda RX-8 which remained mostly stock, then went on to a three-year Honda Civic EK project car that he'll admit was a bit "ricey" at the time. He took a break from cars to satisfy an appetite for speed, riding and racing motorcycles, while also picking up videography as a hobby. His talents behind the video camera would eventually lead him into the role of a full-fledged content and media machine at Toyo Tires. Perhaps Dionne's most memorable project car was the build prior to his Porsche; a 200whp widebody Smart car that had no shortage of fans, haters and controversy. Right off the bat, what we learned about Dionne is that he honestly doesn't care what people think about his taste in cars; he's also one of the most resourceful guys we've ever met. His first intuition isn't to shell out loads of money for expensive parts, especially if it's something he can make himself in his own garage. "People think I spend a lot of money, but I like doing my own stuff and making my own parts. Most of the parts I make don't exist or they don't look like the way I want it to look." Which segues perfectly to the Cayman: a one-of-a-kind coupe that has some off-the-shelf parts when it comes to wheels, brakes and suspension components, but regarding its aero and style, you're looking at what goes on in the creative mind of Mr. Mascunana.
THE POOR MAN'S PORSCHE
Prior to working at Toyo, Dionne was working a desk job at Hyundai corporate. It was honestly his first time making decent money as a young adult, so he wanted to pick up a more "grown up" car to enjoy. Obviously, we'd all want a Porsche 911, but those were out of his price range, so he settled on this single-owner Cayman S that he picked up for $32,000. The car's condition was pristine, and price was quite reasonable considering you're still getting a 295hp mid-mounted 3.4-liter, six-speed manual-equipped, rear-wheel-drive Porsche that comes with a roof as opposed to the Boxster. Arguably, it's a pretty car that comes up a bit slower than the 911 on most racetracks. However, for Dionne, he had a vision of not setting out to build the fastest Cayman out there but design a masterpiece that would become one of the most recognizable custom Porsche builds of the last decade.
NOT BUILT FOR THE PURISTS
If you follow the Porsche scene even a tiny bit, you'll understand that most owners don't go beyond a set of nice wheels, stiffer suspension and exhaust. The more aggressive examples might sport a rear wing or half 'cage, but all-in-all, you won't see anything as altered as Dionne's Cayman. Dionne's started life stock, went through a quick phase of being stanced out with stretched tires, but has evolved into something we'll just call "street aggressive" with the capable makings of a track car.
PANDEM WIDEBODY WITH CUSTOM-MADE AERO
The foundation starts with a Pandem widebody conversion followed by DIY body elements designed and fabricated by Dionne, following proven aerodynamic laws and using the highest quality materials available. Everything from the high towering rear wing setup with an integrated bridge, as well as the flat-bottom splitter that extends all the way to the rear, to the front and rear canards is all his making. The rear diffuser is also cooked up in-house which is modeled off the 911 RSR.
The front bumper might look a bit different from what Pandem offers because Dionne grafted in the center section of a Mazdaspeed RX-8 bumper to create an opening for the radiator. "My favorite part of the car is the aero package. I produced it in my own garage and can turn lock-to-lock with the aggressive wheel setup, even had to relocate the radiator two inches forward. I'm pretty happy with everything."
TRACK READY BUT A MINDFUL OWNER
With the looks of a bona fide racecar, the rest of the vehicle's ingredients are upgraded to follow. I'm still in awe of the suspension upgrades which include 3-way Moton coilovers and billet aluminum control arms, tie rods, bushings and Nascar-style bladed sway bars from Tarett Engineering. There's also a full rollcage from GMG Racing as well as polycarbonate windows to save weight. You simply don't see builders going to this extent.
As far as engine performance is concerned, Dionne tells us it's basically spec'd to what a FIA GT3 class would do, limited to just bolt-ons. His six-cylinder has been dyno-tuned to 310whp, which is more than enough power since he's not planning to attempt to break any time attack records with the vehicle. "To be honest, I love building the cars, but I don't consider myself a competitive driver. I used to race bikes at Streets of Willow and Chuckwalla. For me, the most exciting part of all this is building the car. Driving is fun, but I'm not going to pretend to be a pro driver."
Dionne goes on to explain that damaging his car on the track would set him back thousands of dollars, and hours upon hours of blood, sweat and tears in the garage. Sometimes, not all builds are meant to be taken to the limit, and we can't knock Dionne one bit for that. He's discovered his knack and forte when it comes to crafting one-off machines and the Cayman S has been on display at the SEMA show three times and has only made an appearance at a local California car show once. Our hope is that the next time you'll be seeing his widebody creation, it'll be in the toy aisle at your nearest Walmart.
Congrats Dionne on winning Round 5 of the Hot Wheels Legends Tour and good luck with the final voting which takes place later this year.
Check out Dionne's Hot Wheels Legends Tour video entry where he records a detailed workaround of his Cayman S. There are also two rounds left in the 2020 competition, so enter your car using the Hot Wheels registration form.
HOT LINKS TO HOT WHEELS
TAKE ME BACK THE CAYMANS