You made a what out of a what?

I bought this Tonka Winnebago at a flea market a few years ago for $5. I’d found out about these things after running across a thread where someone made it into an R/C car/tool box/tow vehicle for his other R/C cars. I really liked the battered look of this one, but didn’t know what to do with it, so it went into storage.

After moving it twice, I was looking at it again and decided I needed to either do something with it, or get rid of it. I’ve wanted to display it, but it takes up so much room, and the lid was broken. I then had a brain wave and decided to turn it into a planter for my g/f’s ever-increasing plant collection.


After measuring the roof opening, I was able to locate an appropriately sized planter, and went to work. With the header over the windshield unscrewed, the entire interior comes out easily. Without it, I understood why that guy had turned it into a toolbox, there is a ton of room inside.


Next I sawed off the front of the interior, I needed the back gone to fit the planter, but this way I still had the front seats. I’m keeping an eye out for some appropriate action figures to put here. I also measured & cut down the roof as well.


A sheet metal screw was added to hold the partial interior in place, and glue for the roof bit. Lastly I bent & cut the old roof prop-rod to serve as a brake for the wheels. It wedges into the spokes inside the wheels and keeps it from rolling around and dumping itself an a bunch of plants on the floor.


All that was left then was to drop the planter tub in place and call it done. I got lucky and found one at Home Depot that was exactly the right width. The planter isn’t secured in as I wanted it to be removable for watering or repotting. It should be ok supported on the edges, but if it looks like it is sagging when filled with dirt I’ll add some wood blocks inside the winne to support the bottom.

All told it was a quick fun little project that let me do something useful and fun with something that was otherwise sitting in storage collecting dust. Plus now our living room looks that extra bit sillier.



They aren’t kidding about this thing hauling.

I ran across this 1953 Chevy sedan delivery at Home Depot while picking up house supplies. Just as I was entering the store this burbled through the parking lot. I dashed around getting my shopping done as fast as possible in hopes it would still be there when I was done.


Luck was with me, and it it was still there, parked a few spaces away from where I’d left my truck. “Moving Violation” seems to have been built in the classic 60’s gasser style with a straight-axle front pointing at the sky, big slicks in the back, and a worked over V8 under the 1-piece flip-front hood.


The car was rough around every edge, but had the look of something that gets driven, and driven hard. And the very fact it was driven to Home Depot of a Saturday was awesome in my book.



I spent a good long time looking the car over and admiring all the details through out. It was clear the car was well-loved and built by someone with a sense of humor. But the best part was the large sticker on the rear window, which made it clear how the owner feels about people giving him shit for the car not being perfect.



Had a bit of an accident this weekend.

I was continuing the epic job of rewiring the house and removing the ancient knob & tube wiring. Saturday found me in the 110+ degree unfinished attic digging through ancient insulation to find and trace the circuits for the second floor lights & plugs. I was balancing on the ceiling joist and a collection of old boards when I mis-stepped and put my foot through the ceiling of my bedroom.

Fortunately I caught myself before all of me went though the ceiling, but I was still left with a 10″ x 48″ hole with the plaster spalled off around it.

And where it all that plaster, lath, nails, dust, dirt and ancient insulation end up? Why on the bed & carpet of my bedroom of course.

As frustrating as it was to have just messed up like this, the worst parts was I still had a bunch of half-wired circuits and hacked up old wiring in the attic. So I had to ignore what I’d done and keep working up there so I’d have the lights and working plugs needed to be able to clean this up.

I don’t have photos, but as of now there are nice new lights in the upstairs bathroom & my bedroom, the one in the bathroom now even has a switch instead of a pull-cord.

The hole now has a piece of drywall screwed over it, and will eventually be re-plastered(when I feel like plastering over my head and wearing half of it).

Box’s new look

Box recently got a makeover. He needed some attention, so I decided to have fun with him.

I was tired of the battered bumpers, which had suffered greatly through the last winter. They were cracked and scraped and the lower lips(which I never liked) were half-destroyed. In addition the custom aluminum grilles had started to corrode, and the wheel paint I’d done four years ago was getting worn & tired.


So off came the bumpers & wheels. I’d been buying up 90’s Jetta front lips as I found them at junkyard, with a plan to use them to make new lower bumper lips that were about half as low as the factory ones. I’d tried just removing the factory lips, but the bumpers looked unfinished, it was obvious there should be a lower lip on them.

First up was the wheels. I scuffed them and painted them with some Rustoleum paint. I’d been aiming for a dark hunter green, however the color turned out to be more of a military olive drab. I wasn’t sure at first, but the color has grown on me. The hubcaps got a coat of aged copper.


For the bumpers I sanded out the worst of the scratches & chips, and painted them the same green. As the color is a satin rather than a gloss I wasn’t worried about perfection(plus there is no way these bumpers would ever look perfect).


The Jetta lips were obviously not designed to fit  the xB bumpers, so I spent a lot of time cutting & trimming them to match. They are not a perfect match shape wise, but look good in general, and have the right shape to give the bumpers the look I wanted. I also fixed the cracks in the bumper using zip-ties to stitch it back together. I could have used epoxy and made the repair virtually invisible, but this amused me much more.

All total a hundred or so zip-ties were used to put it all back together. The grilles were painted the same aged copper, along with the fog-light covers and the tow hook cover on the rear bumper. Then everything was re-assembled.

I also removed the side skirts, and with a bit of stenciling the project was done.

All together it came out exactly as I’d hoped. I was able to fix several issues that were making box look beat-up, fixed the lips that always bugged me, and made a major change in his overall aesthetic. So I’m calling this a win.