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Half-Scale Semi-Truck
David Kelm, Earl vine, Ill., spent 3 1/2 years building this 1/2-scale semi-truck that he often enters in shows and parades.
"The engine has a split manifold with dual straight exhaust stacks so it sounds a lot like a big semi-truck. It's pretty loud so it draws your attention right away," says Kelm, who farms and also drives truck part time.
The 1/2-scale semi-truck is 4 1 /2 ft. wide, 5 ft. 10 in. high at the top of the cab, and 23 ft. long. It's powered by a 4-cyl. Isuzu diesel out of an old Chevette car. The automatic transmission and rear end were also taken from the Chevette. The hydraulic power steering is out of an International 303 combine. Kelm used 4-in. channel iron to build the tractor frame and 3 by 4-in. rectangular steel tubing for the trailer. The cab was fashioned out of sheet metal and has a custom-made chrome-plated front bumper and an aluminum grille. The driver and a passenger sit on a pair of vinyl seats de-signed for a fishing boat. The trailer is all metal with a hand-crank tarp roll on top and a hydraulic lift hoist underneath.
"I didn't draw up any plans for it or pattern it after any particular model. However, a lot of people say it looks like a Peterbuilt or a Kenworth cab-over," says Kelm. "It weighs exactly 5,000 lbs. and has head-lights, clearance lights, turn signals, an electric air horn, AM-FM and CB radios with a fake CB antenna, brakes, and mud flaps. I don't have a speedometer on it and I don't drive it on the highway so I don't know how fast it can go. I'm 6 ft. l in. tall so the cab is a little small for me. I riveted part of an old Chevrolet pickup hood to the top of the cab to make a sun visor. The cab tilts forward just like on big semi-tractors. I built it with a fifth wheel and can put legs down on the trailer to unhook."
Kelm used drive axles from a pair of Chevettes to make the tandem axles on the semi-tractor. He cut 7 in. off both ends of the axles to shorten them up. He fitted the cars' front hubs, spindles, and 13-in. wheels to the trailer axles.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, David Kelm, Rt. 3, Box 37, Earlville, Ill. 60518 (ph 815 246-9832).

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1995 - Volume #19, Issue #3