Professional wrestler Barry Hardy is probably best known by the stage name “Agony” as part of the “The Executioners” WWF tag team.
He may not be as well known for his life-size Hot Wheels car.
The Ormond Beach resident wasn't a pro wrestling fan, but he saw Hulk Hogan at a wrestling show at the Baltimore Arena while living in Maryland and having played sports his whole life, thought he could wrestle. He contacted the promoter for the National Wrestling Alliance where he got hooked up with a wrestling school. He trained while working full time at Jiffy Lube. Then he got a shot at a pro wrestling career and the rest is history.
Mr. Hardy competed in wrestling starting in 1987, including shows with the National Wrestling Alliance, World Championship Wrestling, Extreme Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation along with independent shows. He is most known for tag teaming with Duane Gill as The Executioners from 1990 to 1995.
But in 2017 Mr. Hardy was involved in a car accident in Daytona Beach that ended his wrestling career. He has two herniated discs in his neck, which will require additional surgery. He works as executive event director for ASWA Pro Wrestling Training Center in Mansfield, Ohio.
As to his Hot Wheels car, he played with them as a child and became hooked. He learned some things about cars from his father, who was a mechanic. Even while he worked at Jiffy Lube and pumped gas, he was collecting Hot Wheels and now has an impressive collection.
Mr. Hardy was especially influenced by Stevie Lamplough, an NHRA drag racer for Zap Racing and his “second” uncle. “He was like my idol,” he said. “The part that’s on the hood scoop (of his car) that says ‘Zap’, that’s Zap racing. I did a tribute to him. He taught me how to drag race, he taught me how to paint cars, do body work, all that stuff which I ended up using later in my life.”
Mr. Hardy bought a 1996 C4 Corvette after the car accident and transformed it into the eye-catching Hot Wheels car he now plans to take to shows such as the Hot Wheels Legends tour. It took him about a year and a half to complete the replication of the Hot Wheels Race Team 3 Corvette, getting permission from Hot Wheels management.
Also a Hot Wheels seller and trader, Mr. Hardy said, “I really got back into Hot Wheels probably 1996. I belong to the Hot Wheels Redline Club, an exclusive club you can get into.”
Just like with his wrestling, he said he had to prove something to himself, that he could do it, create this car. “I’m that person that said don’t quit until I get it,” Mr. Hardey said. “That’s just how my parents made me. Don’t ever quit. And so, I didn’t quit. That’s how I got into wrestling. If I had looked at those giants I would have walked away. But I (knew) I could do this, and I did it.”
Doing much of the work himself, such as the interior and building the console, he also had help in his quest to transform his corvette into a fully drive-able Hot Wheels model. Brian Kilduff of Kilduff shifters created a unique red, white and blue shifter for the car and sponsored him. A1 Frame and Collision in Port Orange is another sponsor with the business responsible for painting the car.
Mr. Hardy also was able to contact the designer (Larry Wood) of the actual Hot Wheels Race Team 3 Corvette, whose signature he obtained to display on the console. He had help from others as well, including Defiance Lifestyle, which creates his shirts, and The Window Tinter (John) who works at the Daytona Flea Market and did the window tint.
“In this area (the car) is the only around here that I know of. And it’s approved by Hot Wheels, which is really cool,” he said. “This is a real Hot Wheels car. I definitely want to get on the road and start showing the car and get people to come and do their own cars for that Hot Wheels Legends tour. That’s what I ‘m going to really promote around here.”
He said anyone that has built a hot rod can participate in the tour. Winners at tour locations around the country compete in the grand finale, which will result in the selection of an actual new Hot Wheels car design.
The car was mainly built for the Hot Wheels Legends tour, but Mr. Hardy will also take the car to local events, such as cruise nights. He is also willing to take the car to children’s birthday parties and other events. For more information, email email@example.com.