I've been shopping for the perfect Power Wheels for my daughter, much to the dismay of the good folks at Walmart and Toys-R-Us. Some genius decided that they would put all the good ones on the top shelf (read: three layers up in the bike department) and they also decided it was against company policy to retrieve said vehicles for customers to try them out.
No problem, says I. My and my friends climbed the rack and brought them down. Haha.
The Walmart folks weren't thrilled about that, but they liked it more than when I started disassembling the cars. Haha. I learned that there are no Power Wheels jeeps or rugged trucks that I can fit in while the seats are installed. Some of the cars (like the 911 GT3 and Viper) are big enough for me to fit in them and operate the pedals and steering without incident. My knees stick out, but I can make it work. However, we're going for a military assualt vehicle theme, so a 911 won't do. Further, I'm the only one who can fit in it.
I really wanted this one to work:
But I just couldn't make it work. Try as I might, I couldn't pretzel my way in it at all. One thought I had was to build a pull-behind trailer that I could stand on and mount the gun to the roof. The problem with this is that I would never be able to drive it if my daughter gets tired of driving it or wants to operate the gun.
I also considered this one:
It's basically the same vehicle as the one above, only it doesn't have the rollcage. Alas, the footwell still tapers inward as do the side beams of the rollcage. This conspires to push me toward the middle of the car, and my daughter would really have to squeeze in. Not going to work.
I really like both of those because they are well-built (they have metal frame rails, believe it or not).
This one also really appealed to me:
It mostly works. I have to yank the seats out and sit in the bed of the vehicle, but I fit pretty well. The only real issue I have with this one is that I'd have to thread myself through the rollbar (it would rest on my thighs like a lap belt), which is not conducive to types of playground, er, uh, terrorist compound raids we intend to perform. Also, the vehicle would flex under my weight, so that didn't seem like a good recipe for success. Haha.
Then I found the holy grail of rugged Power Wheels:
The F150 has a good sized bed. If I remove the seats, I can comfortably sit in the bed (with room to spare). My plan is to make a drivers seat that can be swapped into either position. if my daughter wants to drive, we'll put the chair there. If she wants to ride shotgun (or fully automatic foam ball blaster, as it were), we'll move the seat over there.
This thing is built like a brick poo house, so it supports my weight without incident. It's rated at 130 lb capacity, and I'm about 25 lbs. over that. Add in my daughter and we're going to be putting it through its paces.
The good news is that the aftermarket world has responded. You can buy metal gears, uprated motors, and all manner of battery configurations. I suspect that we'll be going to a 24 volt system in short order. Allegedly, when you add all the upgrades, these things can go about 15 mph!
The first upgrades (aside from painting it black) are going to be to add a PVC pipe brush guard and pneumatic tires. I figured some tires with air in them will provide a little suspension to lessen the impact my big butt will have on the chassis.
I'll post pics when it comes in.