Have you ever had a dream so big that you can’t stop thinking about it? Maybe even one that’s lasted you for most of your life, just gestating until the time and circumstances are right to make it happen? To hear him tell it, that’s one of the things that drives builder Mikey Brown, one of the guys behind the Paper to Pavement custom build channel on YouTube.
His latest project was the end result of a dream that he’d had since childhood. Like a lot of kids, he played with Hot Wheels. As he grew up, he went to school to learn a few things, including automotive paint and upholstery. In fact, he had a custom upholstery shop for a while, but wanted to flex his creativity in doing the full builds that he knew he could do—and thus, Paper to Pavement came into being.
Here in late September 2023, Brown just finished building his life-sized Hot Wheels Combi-Hauler. It’s hard to say what the star of the show is, honestly. On the one hand, you have the Harley-Davidson Shovelhead-powered custom BMW Isetta flip-up funny car, which he’s dubbed The Big Dill.
On the other hand, you have the custom BMW Isetta hauler that he’s also built just to haul the Big Dill, and which he has very appropriately named The Pickle Jar. We haven’t even gotten into the Pickle Packer, which is a matching tilt trailer to get the Big Dill up into position in the Pickle Jar for hauling.
Brown accomplished all this work almost entirely by himself. He had friends, family, and folks on the Internet cheering him on—but this project is a showcase of his combined skills, gathered over his lifetime so far.
If you want to fall down a deep rabbit hole, you’ll poke around on Brown’s Instagram, where he’s been diligently documenting the build process with short videos released regularly since January 2023. A more formal video documentation has been recorded by his buddy and Paper to Pavement partner and is currently in the process of going up on the official YouTube channel.
This project was born out of scrap, skills, and an estimated 438 hours of labor spent just on The Big Dill alone. When we say that Brown did just about everything himself, we mean it—from fabrication to paint to that insanely great sparkly gold diamond upholstered interior.
One Goal: The 2023 Hot Wheels Legends Tour in Phoenix, Arizona
Gallery: Paper to Pavement - Mikey Brown, the Big Dill, and the Pickle Jar
While the build was something that Brown wanted to do for its own sake, the true goal was to bring it to the 2023 Hot Wheels Legends Tour. For those unfamiliar, this event is “a global contest [that] offers builders a unique opportunity to have their passion projects immortalized by Hot Wheels in 1:64 scale.”
Only one build is chosen at each event, after which time it will officially be inducted into the Hot Wheels Garage of Legends. It will then be recreated in 1:64th scale as a die-cast vehicle and sold in over 150 countries around the world. You know, no big dill—er, deal.
Watching Brown’s Instagram videos, one of the many truly mind-blowing parts of this project is that while he’d applied to show this project at the Hot Wheels Legends Tour in Phoenix, he didn’t officially hear that the project had been accepted into the show until earlier in September 2023.
Thankfully, it worked out—and as we write this, Brown and his crew are getting ready for the main event on September 23, 2023, where all the entries will be shown and judged.
Over on the Paper to Pavement channel, the first two chapters of the Pickle Jar build documentary series are available to watch. They also shot video for a Big Dill documentary, which isn’t available just yet. The third (and final) part of the Pickle Jar doc, the team plans to post after the Hot Wheels event on the 23rd.
No one knows what’s going to happen just yet. However, taking a look at the two rusted-out BMW Isetta shells and scrap metal pieces that Brown started out with, no one should ever underestimate this guy in the future.