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Hot Wheels™: Ultimate Challenge Host Reveals How Long It Really Takes to Build Dream Cars

"To turn these cars around and build them in [spoiler] is bonkers," host Rutledge Wood said.

By James Grebey
Best Builds: Breaking Down the Diecast Details of Hot Wheels (TM): Ultimate Challenge Ep. 3

This may shock you, but not everything on TV is always exactly what it seems. However, there’s no selective editing or fibbing involved with Hot Wheels™: Ultimate Challenge, as host Rutledge Wood says the contestants and their Car Poolers only had one week to transform a normal car into a life-size Hot Wheels-inspired auto.  

How to Watch

Watch Hot Wheels™: Ultimate Challenge on NBC and Peacock.

“Let's be honest a lot of TV is make-believe when they talk about numbers,” Wood told NBC Insider. “These teams truly only had a week. To turn these cars around and build them in a week is bonkers.” 

RELATED: On Hot Wheels™: Ultimate Challenge, Finding the Line Between Toy and Car Is the Real Challenge

When you see some of the incredible transformations on Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge, knowing that the contestants did it all in such a short amount of time makes them even more impressive. You can see why some of the guest judges — such as Jay Leno and Terry Crews — would be wowed. And another unique aspect of the series, which airs on Tuesday nights on NBC, is that the contestants are working opposite their competition in an open garage. They can see how much progress their opponent is making as their limited time slowly ticks away. 

“It was cool because you would see the pressure in real-time,” Wood said. “One team was making a lot of headway and the other wasn't they can feel that pressure they see 30 feet away like ‘Oh man, that thing looks like an airplane. We gotta step it up.’”

The garages, which were in the United Kingdom where the series was shot (that “certainly made getting cars over there a little more interesting,” Wood quipped), are almost as impressive as the cars that come through them. 

“We were doing something no one had ever done before,” Wood said. “We have these two garages that are fully functional lifts, welding, anything you imagine, and they're 30 feet away from each other inside this gigantic studio, which also happens to look like a Hot Wheels track.”

RELATED: Meet the "Car Pool," the Auto Experts Bringing Hot Wheels™: Ultimate Challenge's Builds to Life

And, although the contestants — called Super Fans in the show — are in that decked-out garage working on their car and casting glances at their opponent’s vehicle, there are still some surprises in it for them. On the final day, they’d be taken away from the garage while their Car Pool teams did the final detail work, frequently adding Easter eggs or special touches that would delight the Super Fan upon the ultimate reveal. 

“They try to do something special for each of these Super Fans and so when they see the car on the final day, they haven't seen it in that last big stage so it's this great reveal for them too," Wood said.

You can watch Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge at 10/9c on NBC and next-day on Peacock.

Reporting by Stephanie Gomulka.