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Monster Garage: Mercedes/Handicap Car

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28_3_hzoomEpisode 28: Mercedes/Handicap Car

This time, Jesse wanted to make the ultimate handicap-accessible vehicle. And what Jesse wants, Jesse gets.

Get details on the Mercedes/Handicap Car below. Then, for more behind-the-scenes scoop, see our interview with race-car driver Ray Paprota, the first Paraplegic driver to compete in a NASCAR touring series.

28_2_hzoomTHE TEAM

Jesse James, custom-bike builder/designer, West Coast Choppers, Long Beach, Calif.
Warren Chalker, welder and fabricator, Prime Engineering, Lancaster, Calif.
Scott Deacon, engineer and fabricator, Advanced Mobility, La Canada, Calif.
Stuart Klein, technical trainer, Mercedes-Benz USA, Southern Calif.
Mike Montenegro, automotive designer and owner, Montenegro Designs, Hesperia, Calif.
28_3_hzoomRay Paprota, fabricator and race-car driver, Birmingham, Ala.
Tom Prewitt, custom painter, Damon’s Motorcycle Creations, Brea, Calif.
Ed Sandoz, mechanical engineer, Upton, Mass.


Make: Mercedes
Model: ML320
Year: 1998

Height: 71.7 inches
28_4_hzoomWidth: 72.4 inches
Length: 182.6 inches
Ground Clearance: 8.7 inches
Weight: 4,800 pounds

Hydraulics: Includes an electric winch with a pulley system for the ramp.

Moving Parts: Includes a hydraulic actuator for the rear door.

Special Welds: The team cut out the floor; dropped the rear differential, transfer case and drive line 4 inches; and relocated the left frame rail 4 inches down.

28_5_hzoomBody Modifications: The floor of the car was lowered by about 4 inches, and all the seats except for the passenger seat were removed. The back door was cut up to make room for a ramp that is operated by an electric winch with a pulley system.

Additional Acquired or Machined Parts: Includes the ramp, floor and hand controls.

Biggest Challenge: Getting the floor dropped enough to create clearance for a wheelchair.



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