When Carl Brewer started wrapping cars nine years ago he had no idea he would become the go-to wrap installer to the stars.
The 27-year-old owner of The Wrap Installers in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Calabasas, California, has wrapped cars for Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, J.B. Smoove, Kylie Minogue and numerous movies, including Jurassic Park 4 and Need for Speed.
So how did his work become so famous?
The Wrap Installers is an installation company. They work closely with many wrap companies that want the best wraps for their high-profile clients, Brewer says. Many times, these companies hire Brewer because they don’t want to trust a celebrity’s car to “hourly guys who won’t care to the level we would. For that reason, we end up getting a lot of movies and stars and stuff like that. It’s just reputation and delivering. If you get known for doing great work, you get a lot of great projects.”
Brewer recently wrapped Miley Cyrus’ gold stage car. The Monte Carlo was wrapped in gold chrome, including the rims and spinners for Cyrus’ Bangerz tour.
“That was a pretty cool project for us,” he says. He got that job because his family used to do the lighting for Cyrus’ concerts when she was Hannah Montana.
Most of his famous customers come through companies like West Coast Customs and Coastline Motorsport.
“We’ve done numerous vehicles for Justin Bieber, including red chrome on his Ferrari. That was the first red chrome Avery wrap in the state. That was a big step for us,” Brewer says.
Along with Bieber’s Ferrari 458 Italia, Brewer wrapped Bieber’s Audi R-8 in a leopard print.
“We’ve also done his best friend’s mustang, his bodyguard’s Lexus and one of his artist’s cars. He’s done about seven vehicles in the last seven months,” Brewer says.
Brewer does installs out of his Las Vegas shop but just recently opened an install shop in Calabasas to be closer to some of his big name customers.
“There are multiple people out here who are using us, and it just makes sense to open up an install shop,” Brewer says.
Reputation for Speed
Brewer has been wrapping cars for nine years. He learned the trade from his girlfriend’s father, who was a veteran in the sign industry.
He fell in love with wrapping vehicles because he loves the versatility.
“It is different every day. It is never repetitive. It may be a repetitive color, but it is always on a different car. No day is the same,” he says.
For that reason, he says he could never hold a desk job.
“I get to go out every day, somewhere new or do something new,” he adds. “That’s the most rewarding for me. And it is my hobby. It doesn’t feel like a job. People dread going to their jobs. When I’m at home with the kids and stuff, I can’t wait to go back to work.”
Brewer has a reputation for speed, recently winning a Hexis wrap competition.
Each contestant was provided with a car hood full of grooves and holes. During the first round of competition, they had 15 minutes to wrap it. During the semifinals, they had 10 minutes, and during the finals they had six minutes to complete the task.
With curves, grooves and holes, it took all the skill, experience and special techniques these professional wrap installers had at their disposal to compete, he says.
“That was a big deal.”
His favorite project car was the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento he wrapped for the Need for Speed movie.
“They wrapped carbon fiber outside and inside. The floorboards…every inch was wrapped and even underneath with the safety skid plate. They wrapped so much carbon fiber on that it was ridiculous. That was my favorite car and the rarest car in there.”
Brewer wrapped most of the 25 cars for that movie himself.
What makes movie cars harder to wrap is that they “have to reinforce the inside. All the metal caging, that has to blend in if they take an inside look during the movie,” he says. “You only get a glimpse. I did three of those. Complete inside and complete bottom. Everything was wrapped. I did three and they didn’t even show the inside of the car.”
The hardest part about wrapping cars is that each job needs to be planned out methodically, he says.
“Vinyl, I don’t care what company makes it, it needs to have super stretch. When you have sharp angles, like on a Lamborghini, you have to plan ahead and follow the natural curve or body line so nothing sticks out to you and it still looks like a paint job. That’s the hardest challenge of those types of vehicles,” Brewer adds.
Wrapping a Classic
He recently wrapped J.B. Smoove’s 1968 Lincoln Continental, with suicide doors. Smoove is an actor and comedian who got his start on the TV series Def Comedy Jam.
That project had “me pretty excited,” Brewer says. The biggest reason is that most people are wrapping new cars. Finally, older people with classic cars are realizing how fun car wraps can be, he says.
“That’s a good feeling. Yes, I was a little more excited for the older car. New ones are getting wrapped every day all over the country. It is not every day you are getting a Lincoln Continental in shape like this getting wrapped,” he says.
It takes Brewer between six and eight hours to wrap the average vehicle, if he doesn’t have to do door jams, but he and another wrap installer, Justin Pate, recently completed a speed wrap that was a full color change to a car, including door handles and mirrors, in well under two hours.
“For anybody to become great at something you have to mess up at something. It takes a lot of trial and error,” he says. “I’m a very methodical person. I’ll have a job planned out before I get there. I use sleep to plan out what I’m doing the next day. What could I do better? What would make it faster next time? What did I do last time? It is constantly improving. Even though I’m known for being one of the fastest, I am still improving every day.”
* From the 2015 issue of WRAPS magazine.