Retired Sailor Builds Cars For Handicapped Veterans (May, 1952)

Retired Sailor Builds Cars For Handicapped Veterans

Using surplus airplane parts almost exclusively, a retired Navy chief petty officer builds oversize motor scooters for handicapped veterans. Also built into the compact vehicle are small power tools such as a jeweler’s lathe, a key-duplicating machine, a knife-sharpening outfit and a shoe-repair kit so the veteran can earn his living right inside his car. The retired sailor, Edward T. Adkins of Watsonville, Calif., started to build the first vehicle, which he calls the “Vetmobile,” while a patient at a Navy hospital. He did it to get a fellow patient, a discouraged amputee, “interested in something.” The tiny cars are made of a drop tank split lengthwise and mounted on a strengthened motor-scooter chassis. A converted auxiliary starter-motor generator from a B-29 powers the machine. One Vetmobile built for a Dallas, Tex., amputee is equipped with a two-way radio.

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