I've got a new project. Just what I needed, with about a hundred projects already started, but this one seems like a good idea. Particularly when gas is now at $4.00 a gal and rising.
Actually, I have been interested in an electric car for many years. I even drove a Citicar back about 1975 or so when a fellow at work bought one. I thought they were a great idea, but then I had kids, a real job, and not a lot of extra money. My comute to work was also beyond the range of an electric car.
Now Im retired, so Ive got lots of time. I still dont have much extra money, but I do live where an electric would work very well. We live about 5 miles out of town, in a very rural setting. None of the roads around here are suitable for faster than 40 or 45, and a typical trip into town, to the grocery, or the library is about 12-15 miles.
A friend in the New England Model Engineering society had this car. At our club show in February I asked him about it, and he said he would likely never get around to working on it. He thought $600 was a fair price, and I said Ive give it some thought. I changed my mind about 10 times, but finally decided to go for it.
This is what it looked like when I went to pick it up.
The plexiglass hatch on the front was added by the previous owner. He said someone else had cut the hole to get in to service the brakes, he decided to make a clear hatch to cover a photocell array to charge the accessory battery. He had the piece that was removed, I expect to restore the front, although I will likley make it some kind of removable pannel.
As I tried to load it onto the trailer I discovered the front wheels were locked up solid. The car is light enough I was able to just drag it onto the trailer. When I got home I pulled the front wheels and found the disk pads were simply rusted enough to stop the wheels turning. It was fairly easy to pull the pads apart, clean the rotors and pads and get everything turning free. Of course, one of the four bolts I had to remove broke, but I guess that is to be expected on old cars.
The trailer I used to bring the car home belongs to a friend, Jim Lea. When I told him why I wanted to borrow it he became interested in citicars, and within a week he found one on Ebay, bought it, and had it delivered to Maine. Here is a photo of Jims car, its actually a later model, called a Comuta-car
Jim has restored several antique cars, so he has lots of info and contacts that should be helpful to me, and my electrical experience should be helpful to his project.
My car has several craks in its plastic body, and will need a good bit of restoration. But I decided to first get it running, then next winter I can bring the body parts into the shop and work on them.
From reading the Yahoo Group on citicars I understand brakes are a major problem, so Ive got the car up on stands and pulled the brakes. The Master cylinder is stuck, but all the rest of the parts seem to be fine.