“Pepper” the pedal car was the Automotive Mentoring Group’s entry into the 2016 World of Wheels Pedal Car Challenge. I was the lead and designer of this peddle car and I am very proud of it. The amount of time the other students and I put into this project was well worth it. The bonus was we got to spend the morning viewing the show with no crowds before it opened to the public later that afternoon. But enough about that, you can check out the car show page for my blog with more about the World of Wheels 2016. Let’s Talk about “Pepper”
The first thing we did was get it mocked up to see what it looked like before we started modifying it. We decided right away that it sat way too high so we started to take some measurements. The only two rules we had, was it had to steer and pedal, besides that you could modify in anyway you see fit! After taking some measurements we decided that we could lower it 2 to 2 1/2 inches and still have clearance for the steering column and the pedals to rotate. We made some marks with tape where to cut and the students got to chopping. I sometimes get worried when they start cutting but I figure we can always weld it back together.
After we chopped it all up, which included cutting out the entire pedal system, rear axle as well as the whole front suspension and lower steering assembly, we had to figure out how to put it back together. We had to cut notched in the body to the the axles would sit higher in the body. The back end seemed to go together a lot easier than the front. With the front we had to make sure there would be room for the wheels to turn and we did not want to cut out more than we needed to so we could keep the final appearance clean. We also had to shorten the steering column by a couple of inches since when we lowered ii the column stuck out of the dash. When all was said an done the best part was she still steered and pedaled!!
The next thing we did was decide that we wanted to use real gauges in the dash, non functional of course! We had some extra Triumph gauges from the TR6 project I am working on. But the existing dash was way to narrow for them to fit so we had to extend it 2 inches, we fabricated a small piece and welded it in. Then we had to cut holes for the gauges to fit, we used a fuel and a temp gauge. The looked great on the test fit, things were really starting to come together. We wanted to have a custom hood ornament/radiator cap. My wife had a wine stopper that had a letter “A” on it and we thought it would be perfect! “A” for Automotive Mentoring Group. We did not want to just use the actual wine stopper so we fabricated a duplicate from scratch. It looked just like the original and fit perfect.
We wanted the interior to look plush and comfortable like a real Hot Rod. A real interior was going to have to be made. There was some extra material laying around the shop that I decided to take home with me and create some thing from scratch. It was just some tan faux leather but I also had some padding too. I made door panels and pieces for the seat out of some really heavy cardboard I had. I then hand stitched a pattern into the upholstery. I would have used a sewing machine but didn’t have one. Since I used padding it had a real cushy look to it. I then glued the material to the panels I as you can see in the photo below it was going to very nice when all the pieces are complete and installed.
After all that we did a few days of body work, filler and sanding…filler and sanding, to smooth everything out and to blank out all the rivets that were at the bottom of the body. Once we had everything dialed in we did a final test fit of all the parts then apart again for primer and paint. We went with a color called Habenero Red, and now you know why we named her “Pepper”! We used a lot of satin black too like on the grill and wheels. Once it dried we put it all back together and put on a few finishing touches, like copper tail pipes, an AMG license plate and a little pin-stripping by one of our other Mentors. The finished product came out great and even better than I had imagined. We received a nice plaque however we did not place unfortunately, the competition was stiff but we will get them next year, we have a plan!