It was in 1968 that the first Hot Wheels car was introduced and to today it remains an important part of our culture. Hot Wheels have inspired so many children to become car lovers and in its simplest form it’s an affordable way to live out our car-buying experiences.
Steve Craven of Louisville, Kentucky, is a prime example. He had so many Hot Wheels as a young boy that he had his parents buy him the Hot Wheels City. For those who aren’t familiar, the Hot Wheels City is where you could have hundreds of cars throughout the entire scene. Steve always focused on placing about 15 small cars around a house in his city. He began customizing these cars to the way he liked. “I remember getting in trouble with my mom for stealing her nail polish to paint my cars a different color,” Steve tells LRM. “I even used black marker to tint the windows and rims.”
As he entered his teens he became even more creative, designing on paper the way his cars would look. At driving age he purchased an import vehicle and turned it into a lowrider. He started hanging with friends who were much more experienced and he started learning about hydraulic suspension. He began trading vehicles rapidly in order to acquire a new vehicle to attempt hydraulic setup installations, going through approximately 48 different cars.
During his continuous pursuit for a new lowrider project he came across a purple 1983 Buick Regal near Indianapolis. “The color stood out to me, it was a bright purple,” Steve says, “and I knew it had tremendous potential.” He did some trading and before long he was the new owner. After getting the G-body home he realized that the engine was bad. In order to start out this project right the engine needed to be replaced. The original 307 was removed and Steve and his friend Phil added a 383 Stroker.
The entire suspension was removed and Steve and Phil added a whole new hydraulic setup. The next step was going to Mars Upholstery where good friend Patrick redid the entire interior and swapped the colors. Steve brought the Regal to Schulter’s Body Shop where Franko repainted the entire car an even more vibrant purple. Chris Thobe patterned out the G-body and Darin “Killer D” striped and leafed the body throughout.
Steve went a little out of his comfort zone with colors with which he was unfamiliar. Many of his friends thought the colors he added wouldn’t come together but he knew his vision would work, and work it did. Steve wants to thank God first as well as the many people who helped make this project a success. Among those people to thank are Chris Thobe, Franko Schulter, Darin “Killer D” Allen, Phil Lazorvich, Patrick Minard, Bryan Gilespie, and Craven Cars for their help and support. This might be the one car that Steve keeps in his life-size Hot Wheels City.
1983 Buick Regal
House of Kolor Purple Crush Pearl with Pink Ice Pearl done by Franko, Orion Silver basecoat, House of Kolor silver mini-flake, Kandy Oriental Blue, Lime Pearl, Hot Pink, House of Kolor Midnight, leafing is aggregated gold and silver; House of Kolor pinstriping is Aqua, Lime, Orange and Hot Pink
383 Stroker with mid cam, MSD ignition, hooker headers, true flowmaster dual exhaust all done by Steve and Phil
four CCE pumps, double-piston pumps to the front, eight batteries
nude soft-side leather in Lime Green, purple, Aqua Blue, purple suede inserts
Kenwood head unit and components
13×7 all-chrome Players, dish color-matched to base, pinstriped to match