The latest finalist in the 2023 Hot Wheels Legends Tour is one of the coolest builds we've seen this year. It's a two-for-one deal: the winner is a 1957 BMW Isetta turned into a Harley-Davidson-powered dragster, and it's accompanied by a matching Isetta modified into a flatbed.
Michael Brown of Deputy, Indiana, designed, built and owns both bubble cars. Let's start with the dragster: nicknamed Big Dill, it features an extensive list of modifications outside, inside and in the engine compartment. Brown started the project by building a custom frame. He then modified the body to clear a pair of widened, Volkswagen Beetle-sourced rear wheels wrapped by massive tires and replaced the factory-fitted 298-cubic-centimeter single-cylinder engine with a 1.2-liter V-twin taken off of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Horsepower and torque figures aren't available, but it doesn't take much to exceed the Isetta's stock 13-horsepower rating; riding lawnmowers are more powerful.
Brown then turned his attention to the interior, which is entirely custom-built as well. Accessed via a side-hinged front door, it's equipped with a single seat, a quick-release steering wheel, a roll hoop and diamond-stitched upholstery. All told, the project took about 438 hours to finish.
While the Isetta was never a common sight on American roads, Brown managed to find a second example to turn into a car hauler he calls The Pickle Jar. The transformation required designing and building a one-off subframe to mount a tilting platform on, and Brown chose a 230-cubic-inch Chevrolet-sourced straight-six to significantly increase the pocket-sized BMW's payload capacity. He didn't leave the body alone, either. Up front, the Isetta received a pair of Volkswagen Beetle fenders and lights. Out back, it wears fenders from a Ford Model A.
The cool-looking duo will move on to one of the semifinal rounds that Hot Wheels will organize in November 2023. If it wins, it will get scaled-down, added to the Hot Wheels catalog of diecast cars, and end up in stores all over the world, though whether both Isetta models would get this treatment isn't clear. Brown hasn't won yet, however: the list of finalists in the 2023 Legends Tour also includes a lifted 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300D, a one-of-a-kind 1981 Chevrolet Camaro built over 18 years, and a turbodiesel-powered Chevrolet Colorado rock crawler.
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