1960 WHITTAKER DODGEM CAR
I bought this Fiberglass Dodgem car shell in August 2011.
The Dodgem Car is based on a 1956 Chevy Impala.
I used a working Sterling Four Mobility Scooter as a chassis with preumatic tyres and suspention which as a top speed of 4 mph.
I cut and packed the rubber bumper with expanding foam. Then built the chassis inside the bumper.
Just trying the body on the chassis, And to make sure I can fit in it.
This Mobility Scooter came with two very large leasure batteries. The problem was trying to put them somewhere that was not in the way. So they were put in front of the axle.
Feburary 2012. Made up new steering column
After conecting the steering shaft up, I tried it out. The steering was very heavy and was to postive !
So, I made up a gear and sprocket with a chain to make it easier to turn
After sorting out the steering, I proceded to sort out the electrics, I made up a alloy dashboard then swapped over all the switches etc.
After connecting all the electonics up I found that the motor was not working ?
I had all the dashbord lights working and power going into the black brain box but nothing coming out the other end ?
I did ask a number of auto electritions to come and have a look but they all told me the same "Something has blown up in the brain box !"
It was going to cost around £200 for a new brain which I could not justify ! What was worring me at the time was how did I blow it up ?
Well aparantly it was doing the welding that did it ! I did remove the battries, but that was not enough, it's best to remove the black brain box as well, because using the electric welder on the chassis sent unknown currents through it, hence burning it out.
Well, we all learn from the mistakes we make in life.....Don't we !
I started looking on ebay for second hand Mobility Scooters which was going from as little as £50 to £100. But they were a long way away, it would have cost me around £100 in fuel just to collect the scooter ! Plus there was no guarantee that it would work ?
So I think a plan B was needed.....Let's get rid of ALL the electonics and put a Petrol
Engine in the back instead.
6 weeks had gone by now and I needed to do something to get this dodgem ready for Wolverhampton West Park Steam Rally for the Queens Jubllie Holliday Weekend.
All I needed was a decent 4-stroke engine, a centrifugle clutch to take up the drive and a brake to stop the Dodgem car, plus make up a complete rear axle. This was going to be a bigger job to do plus I had located all the parts to do the job at a cost of £150, but if the car should break down at lease I could repair it !
On April 21st We were on Bittell clearing the rubbish out of the canal, when Dave Newhall came along to help. It turned out that he knew someone that can repair these brain boxes ! so after getting the part to Dave, within 24 hours I had a phone call to say it was all done and repaired ! WOW !
The next day, the Dodgem was running around ! So that's saved me a lot of hassle now.
So Remember.....If you are doing any welding on a Mobility Scooter make sure you disconnet the battries and remove the Controler (The Brain Box)...... Don't do what I did !
So After 6 weeks of NOT touching the Dodgem Car I decided to start cutting and making the alloy floor.
April 28th 2012. Started trying the fiberglass body on the chassis.
Time for a quick road test in the rain ! I'm having problems with the front wheels catching the alloy floor on full lock. But nothing that can't be sorted.
Time to sort the seat out, I used a bright blue vinal covering over foam to get the right shape.
The Dodgem car is on my ramp now, you can see the rear axle and chassis plus the suspention.
Up on the car ramp you can clearly see the four wheels, plus it's also a lot easier to load the car onto the back of the Morris truck.
After giving the body a good cut and polish plus fitting up other items the Dodgem appered at it's first show in West Park. Wolverhampton.
Saturday 2nd June. The Wolverhampton Steam Parade. The two cars lined up and ready to go on the parade.
And we are off !.....I found a local Penguin to drive the dodgem car, This is the dodgem's first road test of around five miles !
After around 1 1/2 hours the dodgem car has lasted the course and is still going strong.
The two cars appered in the Local Express and Star newspaper on the 4th June 2012.
It's the little & LARGE show. The little dodgem car parked alongside Len Crane's Showman's engine ENDURANCE.
SO.....That's It for now, that is part one of the restoration of my dodgem car.
Part two will be the removel of the body to stip all the paint off and chromework ready for a respray with working lights ect.
This wont be tackled untill the Winter of 2012/2013.
November 2013. The two rear axles...The one nearest you is the one out of the electric wheelchair.
During November and December 2013 I decieded to modify the Dodgem Car.
The problems I had with the car was mainly intermittant electrical problem which kept on failing when I wanted to use the Dodgem ??
I did start haveing a go myself but I only ended up burning the Brain Box Controler out !!!!
I was thinking of putting a petrol engine in the back but two problem had accured to me....One, Would be the lack of ventalation and the other would be a possible fire hazzared due to the
fiberglass shell surrounding a vey hot engine !
I bought an electric wheelchair off ebay very cheap which I thought would do this job ?
I first stripped down the Wheelchair removing the driving axle and all the electrics including the joysick assembly.
Then I started to fit the rear axle in the Scooter Chassis with some working suspention. Then made up a mounting post to fit the joysick onto, pulged in all the wiring and connected the
batterys up (24 Volts) and it all worked......
So I started removing all the steering gear and cutting off the welded steering mounting post (We don't need it anymore)
I found two large castors which have ball bearings inside, welded some plates on the swinging arm and bolted the castors on the plates. This way I do have some suspention on the front as well, especially over rough ground.
I removed the Batteries from the front and made up some new mounting plates over the rear axle, fitting the two batteries over the rear axle for better weight transfer.
Without the body I sat in the chassis of the Dodgem Car and gave it a try, to my amazement operating the joystick the car went well, it also spins around in it's own length and will spin
around on a sixpence !
Rear Axle & Batteries fitted plus the joysick is fitted also......Ready for a test drive.
Then started to make up the floor using alloy checker plate, note the front suspention sticking up.
With the floor finished I fitted the body on to see how it all looked, more leg room now. I also fitted the steering wheel back on to make it better looking.
January 2014. After stripping all the chromework off the body I started to rub all the old taty paintwork off the fiberglass body.
With all the paintwork removed I started putting some body filler in some of the holes plus there were two places where the body was cracked through, I fitted some mesh and filled over the top.
Having got the body nice and flat by blocking it down with wet & dry 200 paper it was time to get the workshop warm to start spraying the two pack high build primer on, which two thick coats were applied. Alowing a day to dry off I noticed many pin hols that showed up, useing the fine filler I managed to fill them okay, after leaving it 24hrs to harden off I proceded to flat the whole body down with 400 wet & dry to give a good key for the top coat.
Two good coats of white was applied all over the body to start with, leaving it a few days to harden off before I started flating it down with 600 wet & dry paper. The white bits that were supposed to be left I applied a fine cutting past to the surface, this will give the Laquer something to grip to when the body is finaly sprayed. Then I masked up the white area's using lining tape to start with then paper tape and newspaper to fill in the larger gaps.
Having mixed the red paint in the spray gun, two coats of red was applied, Waited for a while to go off a bit before removing all the masking tape very carfully. Then giving it two coats of clear laquer all over to give it that nice shiny look. It will need a bit of cutting back in places but it's turned out a nice job.