Register now to get rid of these ads!

1935 "Chevy" Firetruck pedal car

Discussion in 'The Antiquated' started by Normant93, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. Normant93
    Joined: Apr 23, 2009
    Posts: 138

    Normant93
    Member

    Kind of a slow work day for me today, so I thought I would post up some pictures and the story of a small truck my grandfather built for my dad in 1935, you know, kind of do my part to help get this new forum going.
    When my dad was very young, he was really into Fire Trucks. Perhaps because his family lived near the Fire Station in Springfield, Ma or because my Great Grandfather built Fire Trucks up in Pierreville Canada, either way, he really wanted one of his own.
    So my Grandfather, being perhaps the most creative and industrious person I've ever known (and apparently a very cool dad as well) built him his own pedal powered Fire truck in the style of the day.
    Since my grandfather was a young dad and it was the height of the depression, most of the parts to build it were recycled from some other source.
    For example, the grill is a washboard, the headlights are made from coffee cans, the lenses as well as the gauges (note the Dodge Brothers Ammeter, Pat. Pend. 1917) were found at a junk yard. The chassis is oak, most of the body is wood, the fenders were shaped using the backs of old chairs with sheet metal tacked to them and the hub caps were made from Scotty dog ashtrays. He made an extension ladder and fixed a bell that could be rung via a string by the driver, all in all a pretty cool little truck for a 5 year old! My dad told stories of pedaling it for miles in several Springfield 4th of July parades, hard to imagine as it probably weighed about 80lbs with the pedal set-up, The local Newspaper did a story on them and the truck after seeing it. (see pic)
    Fast forward to the 1960's when I was a kid, by then my Grandfather had fitted it with a small gas motor. There was nothing I wanted to do more than visit my grand parents so I could drive the Fire truck, as well as all the other small cars, tractors and other things he had built by then.
    When he got sick and had to sell the house in the late 70's, I moved the truck (now with no motor or pedals) to my parents basement for safe keeping. There it remained until the early 2000's when my son, at 5 years old, asked my Dad if he could have the truck so that I could put a motor in it for him and he and his sister could then drive it in our July 4th parade, the same as his grandfather had. (Funny how things go full circle, my son is named after my grandfather who built the truck).
    We didn't really like the idea of a gas motor with a couple of 5 year olds, so I used an electric motor, mounted to the rear section of an old riding mower chassis that I cut to fit and bolted under/to the original oak frame. It was an ideal set up, as it had a transmission, axle and brakes already. I added new wheels/tires a throttle set up and some other parts to marry it all together and it was ready to go.
    For the kids to drive, I would set it in 2nd gear and they could use the hand throttle which would limit them to about 7-8 mph, letting off the throttle stopped the truck as well.
    They drove it in our July 4th parade for several years and took turns driving or sitting on the back and throwing candy. The first year they led all the full size fire trucks and a couple years they led the antique cars which they thought was really cool. And, like their grandfather before them, they made the local paper every year! Now it's stored in my barn waiting for the next generation of drivers.
     

    Attached Files:

    • FT1.JPG
      FT1.JPG
      File size:
      311 KB
      Views:
      231
    • FT2.JPG
      FT2.JPG
      File size:
      141.2 KB
      Views:
      235
    • FT3.JPG
      FT3.JPG
      File size:
      165.5 KB
      Views:
      224
    • FT4.JPG
      FT4.JPG
      File size:
      206.8 KB
      Views:
      227
    • FT5.JPG
      FT5.JPG
      File size:
      262.7 KB
      Views:
      233
    • FT6.JPG
      FT6.JPG
      File size:
      137.8 KB
      Views:
      233
    • FT7.JPG
      FT7.JPG
      File size:
      130.8 KB
      Views:
      219
    • FT8.JPG
      FT8.JPG
      File size:
      100.8 KB
      Views:
      211
    • FT9.JPG
      FT9.JPG
      File size:
      141.7 KB
      Views:
      239
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
    F&J, 302GMC, ct1932ford and 4 others like this.
  2. Great story!
     
  3. Doc.
    Joined: Jul 16, 2005
    Posts: 3,525

    Doc.
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Register now to get rid of these ads!

  4. NoSurf
    Joined: Jul 26, 2002
    Posts: 4,089

    NoSurf
    Member

    Fantastic!

    Thanks for sharing!
     
  5. 1-SHOT
    Joined: Sep 23, 2014
    Posts: 1,483

    1-SHOT
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    IMG_1296.JPG I still have my Wooden Hobby Horse my dad made for me 75 years ago.
    During WWII metal toys were hard to find. Had to reinforce it from use, unpainted board. Still one of my most cherished possessions.
     
  6. Normant93
    Joined: Apr 23, 2009
    Posts: 138

    Normant93
    Member

    Thanks guys, it was a fun project and made my Dad really happy to see it "on the road again" with his grandkids driving it. We had a big July 4th party that year to celebrate.
    Like 1-shot, the truck is one of my most prized possessions, as it was my dad's and built by my grandfather who was my hero as a kid, if he wanted something he just designed and built it. He built some crazy stuff, like an Indian V-twin powered snow blower and snow plow, machine tools, small gas powered cars for his grandkids to drive, he turned a Crosley car into a garden tractor. I'll have to see if I can find more pictures. I know there is a home movie of the Indian snow blower running, it was very impressive how far it would throw snow!
     
    Ron Funkhouser likes this.
  7. Normant93
    Joined: Apr 23, 2009
    Posts: 138

    Normant93
    Member

    OK, so I finally got around to looking through some more old pictures and found a few of the (many) machines my Grandfather built. It's funny how several of them were featured in the local paper. The lawn roller/rake he built in the late 30's, shown with my dad sitting on it. The motorcycle powered snow plow was also built in the late 30's, it's interesting how he extended the axles to make it a '4 wheeler', again with my dad doing the plowing. I bet he was the envy of every kid in the neighborhood who had to shovel their driveway!
    The little car he built in the early 60's for us grandkids. Somewhere there's a movie of my oldest sister and cousin driving it after he crashed it into a tree, smashed the front corner and knocked out a couple teeth! When I was a kid, there was nothing I wanted to do more than visit my grandparents so I could drive that car, the Firetruck and some of his tractors etc. The poor guy never got to sit and have his coffee or a beer when I was around, I'd be pestering him from the moment I got there to let me drive everything!
    I'll add more pictures as I find them. I'll also try and add some of the short films we have once they are digitized.
    IMG_3936.JPG IMG_3938.JPG IMG_3940 (2).JPG IMG_3937.JPG IMG_3939.JPG
     
    Ron Funkhouser and F&J like this.
  8. 1-SHOT
    Joined: Sep 23, 2014
    Posts: 1,483

    1-SHOT
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Really Great Memories
     
  9. SS327
    Joined: Sep 11, 2017
    Posts: 132

    SS327

    Wow! That's all I can say. :)


    Denny
     
  10. Wow plus a ton!
     

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.