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Ohio Farmer Builds Horse Powered Car
You've never seen an attention-getter like the "horsemobile" Dick Frey, Forest, Ohio, built to take to parades and shows, and just for horsin' around. The "engine" in Frey's creation is a draft horse driving a tread-mill that's hooked to a standard transmission with four gears forward and one reverse.
Frey built the "horsemobile" after he saw an article in FARM SHOW (Vol. 8, No. 2) about the first horse-powered car, built by an inventor in England. Just four months after he saw the story, he was driving his own rig in a 4th of July parade.
The horse-driven car is built around the frame of a Chevy pickup. The treadmill on top drives rollers that came from a junkyard. A shaft out of the middle of one of the rollers runs directly into a gear box that Frey salvaged from an old International cornhead. The driveshaft running to the transmission came from a Gehl silage chopper, and the bell housing and crankshaft bearing were taken from a junked New Holland baler. The remaining parts of the transmission jack shafts, gears, chain and the side-slung transmission that transfer power to the rear axle came from old Minneapolis-Moline, Deere, and Allis Chalmers tractors. The seats and brakes were taken from an old school bus and the metal structure surrounding the horse and driver was built from gas well pipe.
"All we got from the article was the idea. We had to figure everything out ourselves and there were lots of problems to work out. For instance, we had to rubberize the main roller so the treadmill would grip it and, because of the direction the roller is driven, we had to reverse the transmission so we'd have four speeds forward rather than four in reverse," says Frey, noting that he also built a box right behind the treadmill to catch manure.
There are two fins at the rear of the horsemobile. Before starting a parade, Frey fills them with dry ice and, via a hose from the driver's seat, occasionally squirts water into them to make fog puff out, simulating exhaust.
The car drives like a conventional 4-speed with a clutch and brakes. It'll move down the road at about 8 mph and climbs right up hills. When Frey shifts into reverse, the horse keeps walking forward but the horsemobile goes backwards.
"It took some training to get the horse to power it. At first, it was like putting a pig on ice," says Frey. He says that some people have accused him of cruelty to animals but he feels it's a lot easier for the horse than pulling a plow.
Frey spent about $1,000 to put the horsemobile together.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dick Frey, Forest, Ohio 45843 (ph 419 273-2295).


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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #3