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He Built World's First Articulated Pickup
What started as a school project for a 24-year-old Ohio inventor has grown into a one-of-a-kind experiment in truck building.
The "Articulator" may be the first pickup fitted with articulated (bends in the middle) steering. It's also unique in that it floats on water and is fitted with a 22-in. boat propeller that moves it along like a boat for total amphibious travel.
Sidney Curtis, Walbridge, Ohio, began building the truck as a college project. Other students laughed at the idea of converting the 1978 Chevrolet pickup over to articulated middle-pivoting steering but he made it work. The rest of the $10,000 he's invested in the machine came later.
To convert to articulated steering, Curtis cut the chassis between the pickup box and cab. He then built a new frame which lengthened the original length of the pickup about 22 in. Two 2-way hydraulic cylinders, controlled by valves activated by the steering wheel, control the steering.
"It's patterned after an end loader. I made a lot of trips to look at articulating loaders to see how they're built," says Curtis. The front wheels on the 4-WD pickup are locked in place so articulation provides the only way to steer. He says it works fine under most conditions but is a bit tight on side streets because of the shorter 26? turning radius.
To turn the pickup into an amphibious vehicle, Curtis modified it to accept big 66-in. tall, 43-in. wide Terra tires. The tires hold so much air they alone are enough to float the big pickup out of the water. He installed a pto shaft off the engine to run a 22-in. dia. boat prop and installed a steering wheel-controlled rudder for control in the water.
"The tires can be used to propell it but because they're more than half buried in the water, they tend to churn up too much water. The prop moves it along slightly faster than you can swim," says Curtis who plans to add a larger, 3-ft. prop next year for more water speed.
The pickup has so much flotation he's carried up to 16 passengers on water. He needs lots of help because the big tires, which can't be driven down the road, require at least 6 men to put on and take off.
In order to operate in the water, Curtis had to equip the pickup with everything required for a boat, including approved marine lighting and gas tanks. He says he can run it in waves up to 3 ft. high before water threatens the engine compartment.
"When I first took it in the water, people couldn't figure it out. They figured I'd driven in accidentally," notes Curtis, who'd like to find sponsors for the truck to take it to water carnivals and other such festivals.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Sidney Curtis, 108 W. Union, Walbridge, Ohio 48465 (ph 419 666-2578).

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1986 - Volume #10, Issue #6