MIdge-Mobile (Jan, 1952)

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Rig this roadster to an automatic reel that permits continuous rotary action.

By Wesley Pickard

WATCHING Junior spin around in his own motor-driven speedster is a thrill you won’t want to pass up. Powered by a 1/3-hp motor, the car is perfectly-safe in operation, and may be wired for driving in one of several ways. The simplest, of course, is merely to attach a long cord (about 60 ft.) to the motor, connecting it to the outlet nearest to your lawn.

A much better set-up however, is mounting an automatic reeling device on a post in the center of your lawn or yard.

(See diagram on page 109.) A 25-ft. cord will be sufficient. With this assembly, your midget McCahill can travel all around the post in a radius of 25 ft., as the reel automatically feeds more cord or takes up any slack. In fact, for younger kids you may even want to lock the steering so that the car travels in a fixed circle without any possibility of the driver changing the course. And with this reel, there will be no snags, no twisted cords. The reel, available from the Appleton Electric Co., 1701-59 Wellington Ave., Chicago, costs about $18. Specify reel No. 7S2.

My own design on this car utilized the top of an ironing board for the body base, and templates for the body were cut to this shape. However, you can substitute plywood for a body base. Since the chassis is larger than the body itself, it was designed and assembled later in order to conform perfectly to the body dimensions. Chassis is 1-in. angle iron throughout. Templates for the body, which is assembled with in. stove bolts, were traced onto thin-gauge sheet metal, and were cut with tin snips. The sharp edges around the seat were turned under and nailed to the wooden base.

The steering is very simple. C-shaped knuckles were made of strap iron bent to shape in a vise. Holes were then drilled to accept the king pins and axle. The latter can be made in three pieces: two 1/2-in. stub axles and a length of 2-in. channel beam. The front wheels pivot on a single truck U-joint bearing with a bolt slipped in from the rear and welded around the head. This method provides knee action for the front wheels, and assures firm traction for the rear wheels at all times, even on unlevel ground. The tie rods are welded to the knuckles; cotter pins are used to prevent the nuts on the ends of the stub axles from working free. Drag links from the steering arms to the tie rods are fastened in a similar manner.

Most of the motor mounting and drive assemblies were turned out on a lathe. Note that the drive is hooked up to the left rear wheel only. Two pulleys are required: one 1-1/2 in. unit on the motor arbor and an 8-in. pulley mounted on a rod which is connected to the frame with two truck bearings identical to the one used on the front wheel assembly.

A 34-tooth sprocket is mounted on the rear axle, which is 27 in. in length and turned from 3/4-in. steel rod. An 8-tooth sprocket is mounted on the outside of the larger pulley. Use 1/2-in. pitch chain, as indicated in the sketch on opposite page.

The rear deck of the body is hinged along the back of the car. This permits you to fold back the entire rear end, exposing the motor and drive assembly for adjustment and inspection. The front portion of this “hood” merely rests on the seat upright.

The seat itself is bolted to the chassis, and both- seat and back rest are upholstered with foam rubber. •

LARGE-SCALE PLANS will greatly simplify construction. Send $1 to Mechanix Illustrated Plans Service, Fawcett Building, Greenwich, Connecticut. Please specify Plan No. HJ-20.

  1. Hirudinea says: April 29, 20138:35 am

    And this is still the best solution to powering an electric car today.

  2. Toronto says: April 30, 20137:22 am

    The Toronto Transit Commission gets irked at me whenever I connect to their overhead 600v lines.

  3. Hirudinea says: April 30, 20138:45 am

    @ Toronto – Does your connection come off the line when you go around a corner like it does on the streetcars?

  4. DrewE says: May 10, 20138:46 am

    @Toronto — It sounds like you should get one of the cord reels.

    Rather to my surprise, Appleton Electric still exists, albeit as a division of a larger company, and they still manufactures cord reels, one of which is a 25 foot swiveling model RE-7S2G (with ground). It’s price has gone up a bit in the past 60 years, though.

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