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Hot Wheels™: Ultimate Challenge Judge Joel McHale's Car Collection Explained

Joel McHale is the real deal when it comes to both Hot Wheels and life-sized cars.

By Tyler McCarthy

In the latest episode of Hot Wheels™: Ultimate Challenge, Joel McHale jokes that past celebrity guest judges have been lying when they’ve said they’re big Hot Wheels and automotive fans — whereas he’s the real deal. While he was just kidding around, it got us wondering how much of a car guy he really is. 

How to Watch

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

McHale revealed that he would try to launch his Hot Wheels diecasts over the ravine behind his childhood home when he was a kid. That’s where his love of cars started, but he didn’t get to pursue it into adulthood until he got a job on The Soup and started to earn a little bit of money. Just like that, he could pursue his automotive ownership dreams and continues to do so to this day. 

How many cars does Joel McHale have? 

It’s mentioned when he joins the Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge garage that the Community star considers himself a big Hot Wheels kid who grew up to collect life-size vehicles. Today, he boasts of having six cars in his collection that he absolutely adores. 

What kind of cars does Joel McHale have?

McHale likes to make people laugh, but he doesn’t like to show off. So, he hasn’t outlined all six of his cars. However, he’s still proud of his collection and has gone on record talking about at least three of them.

RELATED: Jay Leno’s Love Affair with Cars Explained Ahead of Hot Wheels™: Ultimate Challenge

After getting a job as host of The Soup in 2004, he told Silver Lake Car Club that he went shopping for the “fastest and the funnest [car] that I could afford.” That was a Subaru STI… but it didn’t go over well with the family. Joel’s wife wasn’t a fan.

“She was like, ‘Go get in your little toy, your little matchbox car and go drive around,’” he said. “I was like ‘How dare you!’ but I really liked it.’” 

His desire to balance fun and speed eventually led him to his 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S. From the front to the back, the car is very him. 

“It was the first car I really went crazy on,” he said in 2015. “I drove every supercar in that range… To this day I have never driven anything like it. It’s like putting on a glove full of Vaseline.” 

While he’s a big fan of the speed the car provides him, he’s also a family man. So, he needed a lot more than the two-seater Porsche. That’s why he’s got one of the sexiest SUVs in the neighborhood with his custom-rebuilt Toyota FJ43 designed and constructed by the LA firm ICON. For what it is, McHale is thrilled with how fast the behemoth vehicle can go and notes that he believes it could take a missile hit and keep on moving like nothing happened. 

Finally, while McHale doesn’t like to brag about his collection, in 2019 he simply had to share his “dream truck” restoration and purchase with his followers on Instagram. He showed pictures of a brand new 190 Toyota Landcruiser he had restored and given a red, orange and yellow stripe paint job so that he definitely can’t be confused with any other collector on the road. He showed part of the custom build and renovation on the car on his Instagram as well. 

What is Joel McHale’s car experience? 

“Humble beginnings” is an understatement when it comes to how McHale began his car collection. He revealed to Autoweek in 2015 that his first car was a VW Bug that didn’t exactly give him the freedom of the open road that gets talked about so much on Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge.

“It was a 1967 and it ran for about two hours. I’m not joking. My dad bought it for three or four hundred dollars and it did not work,” he said. “You had to be in good athletic shape to turn the wheel. The gears were all frozen. I think two worked. My brother and I took it for a spin and then we’re like, ‘Well, that’s that! It doesn’t work!”

His headaches didn’t end there. 

“We got another VW bug, which was a 1974. And it had been well taken care of but then my older brother about two months later ran a red light and got hit by a van,” he continued. “He was fine and his friend was fine but that really, really hurt the car. I remember my brother being very upset about it. He was so sad. I was just pissed. I was like, ‘That was our ride! Our freedom!”

McHale told the outlet his vehicle selection before he could afford custom builds included a Honda Civic, several Toyota Camrys, a couple of Peugeots handed down from his grandfather and one Fiat Spider that he was not a big fan of. 

“I think it was more problematic than the VW that drove for two hours,” McHale said at the time.

New episodes of Hot Wheels: Ultimate Challenge premiere on Tuesdays at 10PM ET/PT on NBC. You can catch up the next day on Peacock.