Ford displayed the Hot Wheels Rip Rod at last year's SEMA show, but only as a non-running piece of booth decoration. That's changed as Ford Racing and its partners have turned the Rip Rod into a fully-functioning mini hot rod.
The Rip Rod was built by Mattel and Bandito Brothers, and was displayed at the 2013 SEMA show on a trailer pulled by a customized Ford Transit Connect. After last year's show, Ford Racing stepped in to bring the car to life. It's now powered by a 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine.
This compact engine—which Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] says is small enough to fit in a suitcase—perfectly matches the Rip Rod's tiny size. Ford hasn't disclosed any specifications, but the EcoBoost triple produces 123 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque in the 2014 Ford Fiesta. It will also be available soon in the 2015 Ford Focus.
Judging by the way it whips around a dry lake bed in the above video, that appears to be plenty of power for the Rip Rod. It sounds pretty good too, letting out a nasty growl one would never expect from an engine designed primarily for fuel economy.
It all makes for a real-life, (almost) full-size car that's as much fun as the toys it promotes. For more SEMA coverage, head to our dedicated hub.