Shelby Township resident Paul Jurewicz and his custom Dream Roadster were among the 18 vehicles competing in the Hot Wheels Legends Tour in  Las Vegas during the SEMA Show Nov. 5.

Shelby Township resident Paul Jurewicz and his custom Dream Roadster were among the 18 vehicles competing in the Hot Wheels Legends Tour in Las Vegas during the SEMA Show Nov. 5.

Photo provided by Jeff Mores


Shelby Township man’s car competes for spot in Hot Wheels Garage of Legends

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published November 4, 2019

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A Shelby Township man and his custom Dream Roadster were among 18 other regional Hot Wheels Legends Tour winners headed to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas for a chance to win a spot in the Hot Wheels Garage of Legends Nov. 5.

Each year, the Hot Wheels Legends Tour crosses the country, searching for a custom vehicle worthy of being inducted into the Hot Wheels Garage of Legends.

Paul Jurewicz and his custom 1957 Studebaker punched their ticket to the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show for the chance to be inducted into the Hot Wheels Garage of Legends after winning the Detroit Hot Wheels Garage of Legends Tour June 29.

Ricardo Briceno, the head of brand marketing for Hot Wheels, said that this is the second year for the Hot Wheels tour, and thousands of cars compete for the opportunity to join the Garage of Legends.

“We go out and look for a car that can be turned into the next Hot Wheels Legend car at each car show. People bring life-size cars, and we choose one final (car) from each tour and bring them together next week at the show. Over 5,000 cars were competing, and we brought 18 to SEMA,” Briceno said in an interview last week.

One winner will have their life-size custom vehicle immortalized as an iconic Hot Wheels 1:64 die-cast toy car, which are sold in stores, in addition to being a Hot Wheels Legend.

Briceno said that representatives from all over the world come to choose the winner.

“There are 18 judges, and many are legendary designers from all over the world,” he said.

Briceno said that the choice would be difficult because Hot Wheels had assembled a unique and diverse set of vehicles to face off.

“We look for three things and are very specific, as these will be immortalized as a Hot Wheels car. We look for authenticity, and you can say, ‘This looks like a Hot Wheels car.’ Something that is unique and isn’t already out there, and blood, sweat and tears went into creating it. … I think celebrating the story behind the car and the builder is very important,” said Briceno.

Jurewicz designed his own vehicle off the 1978 Tiger Shark, which was a hot rod featured in Car Craft magazine.

Jurewicz owned the Tiger Shark car and sold it. Later on, he tried to buy it back with no luck, so he decided to build one himself. He found the 1957 Studebaker body in a local junkyard, and 15 years later it’s his dream car.

“Since I couldn’t afford the coupe version … I decided I could make the convertible roadster version. It had only been drawn, and by the late ’60s you were going to have to use other vehicle parts to build your own,” he said.

The vehicle is a combination of different cars.

“It’s made up of many different cars; the nose section is a 1960 Pontiac. The hood is a 1959 Thunderbird; the rear is a 1963 Corvair. The trunk is one of the unique parts, a 1988 Quattro Audi station wagon mounted sideways,” he said.

All the metalwork, painting and engine work were done by hand in his garage.

Jurewicz said he really pushed himself to get it done recently.

“It’s been a real big push to get it done (the) past few years. I said, ‘You’re getting old; get it going and get it done,’” he said.

His first thought when he was finished building it was that he was surprised by the size of the vehicle.

“I was surprised how small it was, because it was in the garage so long. I don’t know why it took so long. Life got in the way and I had started a new job, so I didn’t have a lot of money to buy the parts. I was very happy with the overall result. I asked my wife, Cheryl, and our son, Robert, if I was doing it right. It was almost like a family project.

“For something I built in my backyard, it’s kind of cool,” he said.

Jurewicz said that at the show in Detroit, he received the Most Outstanding Engineered Vehicle award, and he received a lot of compliments.

He said he found out about the competition through a friend.

“(My friend) said, ‘Why don’t you take your car to Hot Wheels?’ So I looked into it and saw it was only two weeks away and decided to go and ended up winning,” he said.

Jurewicz said that it had been an honor to go to the tour and experience everything so far, and he hoped to win.

“It’s a complete honor. There really isn’t a show that’s bigger than the SEMA Show, and the chances of the car becoming a legend is a win-win all the way around,” he said. “It’s been exciting; it really has,” he said.

Briceno said the Hot Wheels tour is looking to expand in 2020.

“It has become such an unbelievable way to bring the families together and to celebrate these vehicles. This is a massive endeavor, and it wouldn’t work without all the fans, support and passion, and all our partners who support it and turn it into more than a car show,” he said.

For more information about the SEMA Show, visit semashow.com.

For more information about the tour, visit hotwheels.mattel.com/explore/HW_50th/en/garage-of-legends.

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