1989 - Volume #13, Issue #2, Page #17[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Home built car has a one-horsepower engine"People can't believe their eyes when they see it," says retired rancher Don Godard, Cornville, Arizona, who built a first-of-its kind "horse-powered" car that's equipped with conventional steering and brakes. The horse walks in back and propels the car, harnessed into a rear "corral".
The horse walks straight ahead and simply follows the car wherever Godard steers it. He starts and stops the car with voice commands to the animal, applying the brakes, if needed. There's also a rearmounted whip that's tied to a rope that runs up to the driver.
Godard started with a junked Alfa Romeo sports car. "I wanted a small car. Just about any make would do. I cut away everything except the front end. We use the original steering column. I bolted 1/4-in. steel plate to the sides of the front end and ran 8-in. channel iron from there to hubs from a Plymouth at the rear of the car," says Godard.
He encloses the big U-shaped "stall" on the rear end of the car with 1 1/4-in. steel pipe that's mounted on the 39-in. wide channel iron frame. The pipe frame slants in
about a foot from the channel iron frame in order to hold the horse away from the frame of the car to avoid leg injuries.
Godard fits the collar with a workhorse harness collar and runs two chains from it to the car frame. "I tried many different methods and this was the simplest and most effective way to propell the car. We can't go backwards, however, because the horse will come up against the rear bar."
It wasn't difficult to teach horses and mules to power the car. "I work them into it gradually, petting and rewarding them when they do it right. I have a very smart mule that learned how to run the car in about an hour. He'll even push the car at a trot. We don't try to go any faster because they can bruise their shins on the framework," says Godard.
The car is fitted with red lights and horns powered by a battery under the hood which he recharges after each ride.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Don Godard, P.O. Box 105, Cornville, Arizona 86325 (ph 928 634-4046).
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