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He Built A 2-Ton Tonka Toy Tow Truck
As a kid, Brad Doane loved playing with Tonka Toys. A few years ago Brad’s mother found an old Tonka Wrecker at a garage sale and gave it to him as a gift. “When I saw that it was like ‘bingo,’ I decided to build one just like it that I could drive.”
  Over the next year, Doane labored nearly 1,000 hours to build a 16-ft. long, 10-ft. tall and 2-ton life size wrecker replica. The chassis is a 1984 Chevy short box pickup he bought from a private party for $700. He stripped the body and kept the motor and transmission. Then he carefully calculated every piece of the original toy and built life-size enlargements. Every detail, down to the headlights, bumper, cab details and hand-operated winch are in exact proportion to the toy wrecker. Even the steering wheel, placed flat and next to the driver’s seat rather than at an angle in front of the driver, matches the toy truck details.
  The framework for the platform and sides is made of 1 by 2-in. and 2 by 2-in. tubing bolted onto the original truck chassis. Formed sheet metal sides and front attach to the frame. Diamond plate steel is used on the floor and a sturdy 18-in. tall metal fabricated bumper reinforces the back and front.
  During the summer of 2013 Doane’s classy wrecker has kept him busy. He drove it to the Wisconsin Towing Association’s Annual Convention and he drove in a parade in Mound, Minnesota, where Tonka trucks were originally manufactured.
  Doane says people don’t just look at his truck when he drives by—they stop what they’re doing. “The truck weighs about 2 tons, so it’s big enough to actually tow something if I wanted to,” says Doane. That might be a little difficult, since it’s only set up with a hand-crank winch, not a fancy electric or hydraulic version like real wreckers. The hand crank was essential, says Doane, because it’s a replica of the original toy.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Brad Doane, Irvington Garage, N4351 410th St., Menomonie, Wis. 54751 (ph 715 235-7439).

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2013 - Volume #37, Issue #6