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Big T's Automotive Enhancement

With all due respect to the fine folks at Fisher Price and the like, one look for a quality 32 scale autoshop and it is Playskool all the way. This stuff is fine until that day when a kid realizes that those cars don't look real. What mechanically curious child over the age of four is going to go for that? No one that I know.

This brings me to Big T. This lucky boy travels to car shows with his dad and has a great time looking at the rides. The day usually ends with Big T aquiring a realistic toy car. He found tool boxes and some tools to repair his fleet, but nobody seemed to know where an auto shop for these cars could be found. Here was a boy that badly needed a shop to pimp out his collection of cars, and to generally keep them in good shape. Up til then he used a series of cardboard boxes and his imagination rather than face the colorful, lame plastic alternatives.

One day I found him sitting next to his driveway with a car on his lap and he was pretending to jack up the car to see underneath it. We sat for a minute and decided that he needed a hydraulic floor jack. Of course there were not any available at that scale and so...into my shop I went and created a working floor jack that looks cool enough. That was the beginning of Big T's Automotive Enhancement. Each time a new piece is created it will appear first, right below this introduction.

This is the piece that started it all. Made from solid maple, the base is a 3 sided box without ends. The lift arm hinges at the front of the frame. 1/4" dowel was drilled and filled with 1/8" dowel to resemble axled wheels, which are glued two to each side. A hinged base plate tops the business end of the lift arm.

This old fashioned mechanical car lift is made from solid maple and is constructed to use dowels as hinges to move easily and are also used to allow the unit to rest in place. While in the down position you simply drive onto the guide tracks until the the tires sit in the front wells to keep the car from rolling any further. Then you jack up the car by lifting the linkages until the top level of the unit rests in place at the top.

In a now never ending quest to equip this thing, we introduce the car hauling tipping trailer. As the name implies, the bed tips rather than use ramps which eventually get lost or, well, lost. Fabricated from maple and a pair of wheels donated by Big T's dad. It has a movable brace to keep the ramp up during load on. The fenders were a last thought and they certainly added the thing. It has movable wheel chocks so he can safely accomodate small and large vehicles.

Enter Big T's Auto shop itself. This model is 32 scale, made from birch plywood, oak, and solid maple. The capper is an overhead light to illuminate during those marathon detailing jobs.

The doors hang from solid oak runners which should wear out in about 50 years. The door hinge pins are solid steel 1/8" dowel embedded into the doors. As you can see they pull out and slide in to open and slide and drop to close.

The door handles keep the assemblies from sliding into the building when opened.

The light is supplied by this homemade assembly which combined the end of a flashlight, a microswitch and a three AA batterybox from an old Halloween toy. The three batteries will last this light quite awhile.

The assembly was constructed on a piece of birch plywood that matched the roof material and fitted the cover before manufacturing the assembly. The whole thing is on top of the roof, behind the sign. The unit lifts off the roof for easy replacement of batteries or bulb.

Be certain to match the bulb to the voltages delivered by the batteries, or you will get a very bright but short lived light show.

An alternative is to use one of the many battery powered LED arrays available that turn on by touch and stick to anything.

This compressor is made from solid maple and it works...sort of. After the shop was built, he decided that a compressor was the next best thing to add. The wheels turn, the hose unwraps and the belt travels, but the compressor does not hold real air. It is a free interpretation of an Ingersoll Rand two stage compressor, or what I can remember of one anyway.