PEDAL CAR RESTORATION–Al Nyquist 

PEDAL CAR RESTORATION

In 2002, I retired from GM as a Powertrain Engineer after 36 years.  During the years at GM, I had always worked on my 2 full-size antique cars as a hobby, as well as also enjoying woodworking.

Murray V-Front

For about the last 25 years, I had an old Murray V-Front stored in the barn–I had picked it up at a yard sale for a couple bucks–it was missing a wheel.  Every once in a while, the kids would take it out and ride it, the missing front wheel not seeming to be a big detriment!
Once retired, I decided to restore the car.  I knew very little about pedal cars, but did some searching on the net and found Blue Diamond. I spent about $100 ordering a wheel, tires, and a T-bird decal set, and amateur restored the car.  That got my interest sparked.  Then, I found out about the “Wheel Goods Trader”, and phoned John Rastall.  John and Marge live about 45 miles from me, so Virginia and I went down and visited, and I started learning a lot more about Pedal Cars.  John is a great source of information, having a very extensive literature collection, as well as a Pedal Car collection, and, he also knows everyone and anyone having anything to do with Pedal Cars!
Through John, I fell into my second stroke of luck.  I spend my Winters in Arizona, and John mentioned that Dave Kleespies was in Phoenix and restored Pedal Cars.
While in Arizona last winter, I looked up Dave and Sno, and Dave was nice enough to take the time to teach me how to properly and professionally restore a Pedal Car– an un-restored Steelcraft 36 Ford that I purchased on E-bay while in AZ.  I can tell you that if you ever have a Pedal Car restored by Dave (D & S Pedal Car Restorations) you would be absolutely thrilled to see the results–his restorations are absolutely stunning!
Armed with my new knowledge (stripping, bumping, straightening, priming, sanding, priming, more sanding, more sanding, and painting) I started buying some more cars on E-bay.  Here I learned a valuable lesson–“buyer beware”.  I got totally “taken” on several purchases.  The seller then would say–“sorry, no refunds”, or, “didn’t you see the pictures?”  (you cannot tell condition from pictures), or, “what do you expect from something 70 years old?”.  Well, I expected the item to be as represented.
The one vehicle in particular, a small fender-less Steelcraft, represented as having original paint, had in fact been “over-painted” years ago with a brush.  There was a bright side to this however, Dave had told me that once a Pedal Car had been repainted, you now have license to restore it properly!

Dan and Linda Portell

 Next came the first week of May, 2005, and away Virginia and I went to Pigeon Forge, TN.  Well, we thoroughly enjoyed it, met a lot of very nice people, made some more new friends, spent a lot of money (just too hard to resist some of the wonderful cars–and a real benefit to be able to see and touch what you are actually buying).  There, I had my third stroke of luck–we met Dan and Linda Portell, and now I know where to get most any pedal car part needed (Dan does amazing things with sheet metal), and we have 2 more new friends
Besides the Pedal Cars, I purchased from Dan some headlights, hood ornaments, tire rubber, decals, bumpers, etc. (Dan had plenty of spending money after meeting me)!  In September, I finished restoring that little Steelcraft-my first “proper” restoration all on my own.  Since car was all one color, I painted it with single stage PPG Urethane.  Chrome Plating by Midway Plating in London, Ontario; misc. hardware by Dan Portell, consultation and free advice from Dan and Dave; pin striping by a local new friend Ted May (he loves striping the “little” cars).
This hobby is absolutely addictive for me, and I’m really enjoying it.  I have now restored 4 cars, and the house is starting to fill up–you have to watch where you are walking.  See you in Tennessee in May!
Al Nyquist

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