Episode 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.
• 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.
• Ray Paprota, fabricator and race-car driver, Birmingham, Ala.
• Tom Prewitt, custom painter, Damon’s Motorcycle Creations, Brea, Calif.
• Ed Sandoz, mechanical engineer, Upton, Mass.
Height: 71.7 inches
Width: 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.
Body 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.