Dad Brett Winek of Tennessee had his new Mustang transformed into Cars star Lightning McQueen for his son, who adores the character. (Photo: Brett Winek/Facebook)
A single dad in Tennessee has gone the extra mile to bring joy to his 3-year-old son — by transforming his new, bright-red Mustang into a life-size Lightning McQueen, the Pixar-animated star of the Cars movies his boy is obsessed with.
“Just to give you an example, he watched Cars 2 yesterday — three times,” Brett Winek tells Yahoo Parenting about his son. “McQueen is his favorite character, and he loves Mater, too. He has both of the characters in toy cars and mimics their sayings all the time while playing. And I’ll be cooking dinner or washing clothes and just hear him giggling [while the characters are] goofing off in the movie.”
So he searched around the Nashville area until he found Tennessee Tint in Bartlett, a company that specializes in using vehicle wraps to decorate cars with lettering, logos, racing stripes, and various graphics. And when Winek came in with his request, owner Scott Huntley tells Yahoo Parenting, the design team jumped at the opportunity.
Brett and his son. (Photo: Brett Winek/Facebook)
“We just thought it would be a fun project, when lots of times you’re lettering plumbing trucks,” he says.
The transformation, which cost around $1,200, Huntley says, took his team a couple of days to finish. For inspiration, they looked at similar real-life versions online — including a Maserati GT styled to cheer up a sick child in 2012 — as well as the actual Pixar character, which Huntley and one of his graphic designers, being dads themselves, were already quite familiar with. They used a premium wrap material by 3M to create decals — “so five years from now, when he gets ready to sell, they can be removed” — then designed the cartoonish eyes and printed them out onto vinyl for the windshield.
(Photo: Brett Winek/Facebook)
And the result, says Winek, worked like a charm.
“He lit up so much when we picked up the car,” Winek says. “He hopped around it and immediately wanted to jump in the driver’s seat!”
The boy’s joy was a treat for Huntley and his team to see, too.
“When we were finished, we all just kind of looked at it and walked off,” Huntley said. “But it was neat to see the kid’s reaction: His eyes got really big and he smiled really big, and it was really nice to see his expression. He’s probably going to be the coolest kid at school.”