NORTH POLE - In a city more closely aligned with Santa's sleigh than hot rods, a newly issued car is turning heads. The Mattel toy company has produced a Hot Wheels fire chief's car with North Pole markings.
"It puts North Pole Fire Department's name out nationwide," Fire Chief Buddy Lane said. "It's both a fund-raiser and publicity for us."
The new die-cast collectible hot rod is a miniature 1934 Ford coupe chief's car decorated with the department's insignia. It's one of a dozen "fire department rods" depicting fire vehicles across the nation.
The North Pole package features the department's badge, along with fire safety tips.
Mattel sent a letter a year ago asking if the department was interested, Lane said. North Pole responded right away that the idea was intriguing.
As a reward for letting the toy manufacturer reproduce its emblem and badge, the department got 250 free cars, which will be sold to raise money for the department.
Lane said the car is fun for collectors or as a children's toy.
The hot rods will sell for $5.99 each on the department's Web site, along with other fire department souvenirs, such as patches, T-shirts and caps.
"It's great publicity for the city," North Pole Mayor Jeff Jacobson said. "I'm glad Mattel chose us for one of its lines."
At the North Pole City Council meeting June 18, Lane presented each council member with a souvenir hot rod and suggested he could trade in his red Suburban for a chief's car just like the one chosen by Mattel.