Thursday 26 April 2018

Couple convert pick-up into wagon

Judy Foster and Fred Keller in their giant red Radio Flyer wagon (AP)
Judy Foster and Fred Keller in their giant red Radio Flyer wagon (AP)
The converted pick-up truck is fully operational and licensed for road travel (AP)

A full-sized pick-up truck has been converted into a road-licensed wagon modelled on the red toys sold by American company Radio Flyer.

Fred Keller and Judy Foster worked on the vehicle for 11 months, using the base of a 1976 Mazda B1600 pick-up truck.

The couple got the idea for their to-scale replica of the beloved childhood wagon after visiting a car show in summer 2009 in Oregon, and seeing another Radio Flyer - albeit that one on a hot rod.

Foster, 67, said of the pick-up: "We said, 'We could use the Mazda for that'. We came home from our Portland trip, and about a day after, he was tearing the Mazda apart."

Keller, a 68-year-old retired telephone worker, had all the expertise in composite construction he needed to convert the pick-up. His hobby is building home aircraft, and this wasn't too different.

He said: "The basic structure of the wagon is marine plywood, foam, fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin. It's a very strong structure."

Many components of the Mazda are still in the flyer, including its instrument panel, steering column, levels, frame and engine.

Keller completed the frame, added smaller wheels, hubcaps painted white and used old laundry detergent caps for the hubs.

The wagon was completed in August after making a few adjustments required by the state motor vehicles department to make it legal for the road.

Since then, it's been an instant hit whether they're driving around Wasilla or taking the 50-mile trip to Anchorage.

Press Association

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