Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Motorcycle Challenge for Kids?

This Should Be made Into a Movie.

I was reading an article about a seventeen year old who asked his father for a car for graduation. His father told him that if he wanted a car then he should go build one himself. Thing is, the kid went and did just that very thing. It took $300 and a couple of years to do it but he did it. I've seen the pictures of it and it looks pretty damned good. So good that I'd like to have it myself.
This thing has three wheels and is powered by an old four cylinder 1931 Indian Motorcycle engine. He scrounged up the parts from here and there and actually made the body himself out of sheet metal that he pounded into shape at his fathers radiator shop.
After completion, the kid, Bob, and his brother, Edward, took it on a trip of over six thousands miles.

That was back in the early 1930s and the kid was Bob Shotwell. Bob kept that car all these years and racked up over 150,000 miles on the car he called Philbert the puddle jumper. Bob had put on a few years himself and was worried that his one of a kind mechanical marvel would be lost and destroyed after his death. So Bob contacted Jay Leno and gave Philbert to him with the agreement that the car would be saved from those who may wish to scarf the Indian Engine from it and dismantle the car. ( I can't imagine anyone in their right mind who would do such a thing)
Jay agreed and spent two years restoring it, with very minor changes mainly for engine cooling purposes, and has been putting more miles on it. But, Jay seems to think that kids these days just don't have what it takes to create something like this. Kids are to busy with cell phones and computers and such it seems to do much on the creative level.
Mr. Leno may be right on his assumption but then again...maybe he's not. (See how I take both sides without actually taking sides? I've learned that from our leaders. lol).

In reality though, I believe that there are many kids out there who can pull something off like that even today. I just can't believe that in some city lot or country barn that there is not some kid building a motorcycle, mini bike or a go cart from scrounged up parts. All they need is a bit of encouragement and parents who'll not be telling them they are wasting their time or making to much clutter and noise.

(We) as parents can not put all the blame on the kids these days in this respect. We keep them so busy with what we think they should be doing and not listening enough to what they wish to be doing. No wonder some kids lash out in frustration and then get labeled as a problem child. We don't allow them room to grow but rather try and mold them into what it was we wanted them to be. To many kids into non constructive things lead to boredom.

If you know of a kid that is doing something along the creative lines like Bob, let me know and we'll do up an article on it for the local paper. There just has to be kids out there who are not glued to the television, computer, cell phone or game machine and are actually exploring and building their engineering talents. If the project is good enough, maybe we can convince old Jay to change his view point. Several years ago I had a couple of wide eyed excited kids come to my place looking for an engine for a go cart. I gave them a couple of old engines I had and enjoyed watching them hurry towards home to build their creation. Did they ever finish the project? I never knew but I was more than happy to help them try.
I have a couple more five horse power engines sitting around just waiting for another kid. And, I'd surely dig some seventeen year old kid building a chopper and letting me see it.

Read the article on Bobs car and view pictures here:

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