1980 - Volume #4, Issue #4, Page #33[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Car Built For Wheelchair Drivers
FAM-CAR is built around the frame of an Oldsmobile Toronado. Use of a car body, rather than a van, gives the FAM-CAR a lower frame for easier access in a wheelchair and much larger windows for better viewing, according to Appley. "And," he adds, "a Toronado has a ride no van can match. For many wheel-chair drivers, such as those with multiple sclerosis, that's impoartant."
The FAM-CAR is completely accessible to those with limited dexterity. A driver needs only the use of both hands to enter the car, lock the wheel chair in place and drive.
And, unlike most such vehciles, the FAM-CAR is not a converted car - it's totally built over, from the frame up, into a vehicle tailored specifically for the handicapped.
Appley cites these advantages of the FAM-CAR over existing "converted" forms of transportation:
Features a ramp rather than a typical elevator, which sometimes requires assistance for use.
. Rides as smooth as a car. This is important since the wheel-chair bound person remains in the chair, which isn't as soft riding as regular seat cushions.
FAM-CAR has excellent visibility. Features oversized windshield that lets chair-bound driver, who sits higher than normal drivers, see easily.
. Caters to persons with a wide variety of upper limb impairments. For example, the brakes can be applied easily with just a touch from one finger-no matter how fast the car is traveling, Appley explains.
The FAM-CAR is not just for the handicapped. There are regular seats in the back and a seat can be installed on either the driver's or passenger side.
The first FAM-CAR prototype was built around the Toronado because of it's front-wheel drive (no hump down the car's middle). However, Appley, who did most of the actual building on the car, says any mid-size frontwheel drive would work equally well. And, something less than 400 Cu. in. would get better gas mileage, he notes.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Robert Appley, Vice President, FAM-CAR Corp., 902 Birch Ave. Shelby, Mont. 59474 (ph 406 434-5081).
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