Lightning McQueen Rebuild
August 7, 2012 9:26 AM   Subscribe

Dad rebuilds his son's Lightning McQueen powerwheel. [SLYT]

Via PoE TV.
posted by kavasa (44 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just when I was starting to think I'm an OK dad.
posted by The World Famous at 9:31 AM on August 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is super-rad, but I couldn't help but think Oh god, those hurdles are just the right height to catch him right in the face if he tries to drive under one!
posted by xedrik at 9:32 AM on August 7, 2012


The hurdles are well over his head.

And this was awesome.
posted by DU at 9:39 AM on August 7, 2012


OK, so how fast can it go, exactly?

It has a really low center of gravity, which would probably make it hard to flip. But it also has a plastic, inflexible chassis and structure. Can that chassis really hold up for long under dirt road conditions?
posted by zarq at 9:48 AM on August 7, 2012


He added an aluminum substructure and floor, which I assume was intended to address that issue. Whether or not it's adequate is another question, I guess. But he seems to know what he's doing.
posted by The World Famous at 9:49 AM on August 7, 2012


Also, can I just say it's really nice to see that he involved his son in the details of the rebuild, and gave him work to do? I've done that a few times with my kids, when I've repaired some of their toys, and they always love being involved. .
posted by zarq at 9:51 AM on August 7, 2012 [9 favorites]


The World Famous: "He added an aluminum substructure and floor, which I assume was intended to address that issue.

Ah... I'm rewatching and see it now. I must have missed that part. Thanks

Whether or not it's adequate is another question, I guess. But he seems to know what he's doing."

Definitely.
posted by zarq at 9:55 AM on August 7, 2012


Normally I'm against giving kids electronic toys, but damn, that is all kinds of awesome.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:58 AM on August 7, 2012


I was so hoping that on that dirt track he'd get it into a counter-steer situation and make it like the movie...
posted by straw at 9:59 AM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Now this guy needs to upgrade a Big Wheel, so that "pull the break level and spin out" function is more dramatic!

Extra points if he can do it without causing the thing to combust....
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:03 AM on August 7, 2012


JEALOUS!
posted by oddman at 10:04 AM on August 7, 2012


So that was the target audience for Cars!
posted by ChuraChura at 10:05 AM on August 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh I feel so sorry for that kid. He's never going to know if his friends really like him for himself, or just want a chance to ride in that car. (Just kidding, of course--that is unbelievably awesome).
posted by yoink at 10:06 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Love it. Also, a PowerWheels car on a dyno?! Very nice.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 10:08 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Put nitrous in it, you wimp.
posted by stormpooper at 10:09 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Great stuff. Reminded me to check up to see what Kathryn was up to with her Fiero.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 10:12 AM on August 7, 2012


PFFFT. Kid can't hit an apex for shit.

(seriously, this is so great. Father-son project, cool car. I'll bet he's a demon in the cart circuit in a couple of years.)
posted by bonehead at 10:14 AM on August 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


So jealous. I wanted a power wheel car so bad when I was kid, and this souped up version makes 4 year old me even more jealous.
posted by greta simone at 10:18 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The reddit thread on this identified the Dad as a mechanic at a high end speed shop in the Bay Area, so he definitely knows what he's doing.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:19 AM on August 7, 2012


My kid just helped me change the license plates on our car, and that was a thrill for her. I think her head would explode if we did this together.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:23 AM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Toddler McGee, glued to my monitor in such fascination I can barely see around his head: "Want a fast race car! Yes! Gweat!"
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:25 AM on August 7, 2012


At first I thought this doesn't seem like a good idea (out in the suburban streets), but when he got to the dirt track I realized this is as awesome as can be.
posted by cell divide at 10:29 AM on August 7, 2012


I was thinking it is amazing how much 500W can do, but then I realized it really shouldn't be that amazing.
posted by Chuckles at 10:41 AM on August 7, 2012


Yes, on the track it was fun to watch, but when I saw the kid on the streets, I became absolutely petrified. Nothing could be neat enough to overcome that.
posted by TinWhistle at 10:42 AM on August 7, 2012


500 watts? I wonder how hard that kid would have to pedal a bicycle to power the thing.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:47 AM on August 7, 2012


Yes, on the track it was fun to watch, but when I saw the kid on the streets, I became absolutely petrified. Nothing could be neat enough to overcome that.

We can't see enough to make any assessment of the safety of what they're doing in that video. It could be a cul-de-sac where they've put a row of traffic cones over the entry to the street and have an adult standing by to stop any cars turning in, for example.
posted by yoink at 10:55 AM on August 7, 2012


MUST NOT SHOW TO SON.

He would be all OVER that shit. He is all about real cars, you ask him what his favorite car is and he replies (with righteous indignation) ...pfftt Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. He's 6.

I blame myself and my sharing bittorrented British Top Gear with him.
posted by ShawnString at 10:56 AM on August 7, 2012


Lance Armstrong put out about 450W at the top of his game (w or w/o juice).
posted by bonehead at 10:57 AM on August 7, 2012


Also, a PowerWheels car on a dyno?!

This is the part that really put it over the top for me.
posted by VTX at 11:08 AM on August 7, 2012


Looks like the kid is ready for the next Power Racing Series junior invitational.
posted by me3dia at 11:17 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's ~450W for an extended time. Mark Cavendish can easily hit 1700W in a sprint.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:20 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm a human lobster because I was a track official at the Power Racing Series in Evanston this past weekend. This kid would fit right in, except his car looks too well built. 8)

At one point the Milwaukee team had run multiple laps with 2 flat tires. Their other car ended up driving on it's rear sprocket for a bit. We also had a car complete a race missing a tire!

It was fun-tastic!

PowerWheels aren't just for kids.
posted by MikeWarot at 11:25 AM on August 7, 2012


If this guy is interested in adopting a mid-30s lawyer with reasonably good welding and mechanical skills, I'm now taking offers.
posted by 1adam12 at 12:16 PM on August 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


It really seems to understeer.
posted by Lord_Pall at 12:45 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


This really reminded me of my own dad, how he would laugh and laugh at my idea of getting a power wheels for Christmas.
posted by orme at 12:46 PM on August 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Normally I'm against giving kids electronic toys

What does this even mean?
posted by Brocktoon at 3:02 PM on August 7, 2012


What does this even mean?

They break easily, make annoying noises, eat batteries and get ignored in favor of toys that reward imagination - usually action figures, trucks that you have to move around yourself, dollhouses, legos, play-doh, kites, balls, bubble fluid, a box of old grown-up clothes and the cardboard tubes that come in the middle of gift-paper rolls. We don't discourage relatives from buying blinky-flashy-scooty things, but she generally just doesn't play with them that much.

The big exception is the iPad - but that's a toy Mommy and Daddy play with, too.
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:15 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


My dad got us kids a go-cart when were were kids. His plan was to give us motivation to learn about engines and maintaining things. But along the way, we learned things like traction and steering and how to control or get out of a slide until it was just natural and intuitive. Stuff you don't really get an opportunity to learn through the regular driver's licensing path that we would take years later.
And one night, years later, in a real car, something bad happened, and those intuitive reflexes saved me. If I'd done what would have been intuitive if I hadn't had the cart experience, there would have been a crash.
So I see carts as a good investment :-)

The reddit thread on this identified the Dad as a mechanic at a high end speed shop in the Bay Area, so he definitely knows what he's doing.

In the video, it shows the (re)construction, and it's clearly not being done in a family garage. There's a Porsche on a car lift behind them, the dyno of course, etc.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:52 PM on August 7, 2012


My kids have an old pedal-powered four-wheel go kart of sorts, not entirely unlike this, except way beat up. My six-year-old daughter has taken to it, and likes doing J-turns and so on*. Suddenly the idea of putting rubber wheels and a motor on it seems not entirely unreasonable...but I think I'll stick with the original plan of having my six-year-old son tow her on a rope tied to his bike.

*she also likes to pretend to talk on the cell phone while driving, which is a bit conflicting
posted by davejay at 3:56 PM on August 7, 2012


If this guy is interested in adopting a mid-30s lawyer with reasonably good welding and mechanical skills, I'm now taking offers.

How are your skills on personal injury cases?
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:30 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins won his time trials in the tour with slightly over 350 watts for a little less than an hour.
posted by Riton at 6:57 PM on August 7, 2012


And if you're a busy Dad who's got the dimes but not the time, spoil your kid rotten with a turnkey half-scale gasoline (or electric) Porsche 356, Mercedes Benz 300SL, Jaguar E-Type, Willys Jeep, or Bugatti T35 (SLYT).
posted by cenoxo at 7:21 PM on August 7, 2012


"But along the way, we learned things like traction and steering and how to control or get out of a slide until it was just natural and intuitive. Stuff you don't really get an opportunity to learn through the regular driver's licensing path that we would take years later. And one night, years later, in a real car, something bad happened, and those intuitive reflexes saved me. If I'd done what would have been intuitive if I hadn't had the cart experience, there would have been a crash."

My dad took me out in his car on country dirt roads and also snow and ice, put me behind the wheel, and taught me those things a couple of years before I got my first license (about 13). He was pretty adamant about understanding the vehicle's handling and limits and being practiced at it for exactly the reason you describe — you will probably need those skills one day.

I've spent so much time in controlled oversteers that when I watch drifting videos (which still strikes me as a bit weird, but also something like my adolescent fantasy of the coolest possible autosport event) I sympathetically feel this whole body thing — just exactly what it feels like to be driving one of those cars, doing what they're doing. There's just that much pressure on the steering wheel, that much lateral g in the seat, that much pressure on the throttle. It's just like a whip, too; imagining it right now I can feel what it's like to push it off that knife's edge balance and snap the car around 180 degrees deliberately.

Go-carts on dirt is a really good platform for kids to learn this. It's not an intellectual exercise, it's an intuitive, muscle-memory thing. Everyone will find themselves driving on a slick surface sooner or later — having enough actual experience with an oversteering rear-drive vehicle and an understeering front-drive vehicle in controlled conditions can mean the difference between life and death. The latter is especially and perversely important because front-wheel drive creates a certain amount of overconfidence in the driver with its lessened tendency to skid in slick conditions — but when it does lose traction in slick conditions, it will understeer and that's almost always bad, especially frightening, and an unpracticed driver's intutions will be to do all the wrong things (turn the wheel more, hit the brakes). If nothing else, experience in understeer conditions in a front-wheel drive car will teach you to be aware of when understeer is likely and to try really hard to avoid those situations.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:58 PM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


This? This wins the internet for me today. Couldn't. stop. Smiling. The sheer joy on the litle kids face.
posted by Faintdreams at 2:10 PM on August 8, 2012


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