Five-year-old Evan Burgess drives the coolest Lightning McQueen Power Wheels on the planet, and as a result, a lot of people think he also has the coolest Dad. Watch the video, which is closing in on 400,000 views since being posted to YouTube on Sunday ... and then read my interview with the Dad.
Here's the basic background from the YouTube description:
At the age of 2 Evan received his Lightning McQueen Powerwheel for Christmas of 2009. After three years of use he had worn through the plastic wheels. We decided to upgrade the OEM plastic wheels to metal rims with rubber tires. From that point more modifications were added every few weeks. Now, Evan's Lightning McQueen Powerwheel is equipped with an aluminum back half chassis, dual sealed gel batteries with an output of 24 volts, a 500 watt .66 horsepower electric motor, disk brake, throttle modulated variable speed control with reverse and sparco battery cut off switch.
Dad is Sean Burgess, founder and co-owner of FFTEC Motorsports in Hayward, Calif. He answered a few of my questions via email:
How long did it take start to finish? Can you estimate the hours of work?
Evan and I started the project near the end of March and have been working on it steadily a few nights a week until its completion on Aug. 4. I couldn't estimate the hours of work because there was so much time put into teaching Evan about the tools around the shop and letting him do much of the work on his own.
How much did the project cost?
Just shy of $600 if you don't include the initial cost of the Lightning McQueen Powerwheel and the labor involved.
How fast can the car go now?
Without any parasitic drag the combination of parts is capable of 15 mph, however the entire assembly is too heavy to achieve that speed and there has been a throttle stop installed to prohibit the top speed it is capable of.
What has Evan had to say about it all?
Evan loves the car for several reasons. He has had the car for 3 years and he would drive it frequently with me by his side or actually riding on it behind him while he drives. He also takes great pride in all the work he did on the car telling people that I helped him build it. He already wants to do more modifications to it. Next up are a roll bar and a five-point safety harness instead of the three-point that was in there before.
Some parents might look at that video and say the thing is too fast for a kid that young. How would you reply?
Evan can ride a 2-wheel bicycle and has me time him racing around our court. Just like most boys he is already going as fast as he can with his bicycle just to see how long he can make a skid mark. His Lightning McQueen car is only marginally faster than him riding his bike and he is not allowed to use it without my supervision or without safety equipment.
Others are saying you're the coolest Dad ever. Any thoughts on that?
I really appreciate the kind words but I thought I was just doing what many other dads out there would do and share an experience with my son that would teach him about how things work, what it is to work towards a goal and be able to enjoy the whole process.
(Update Wednesday morning: YouTube viewer count now approaching 900,000. And I meant to mention this yesterday: The use of the Sheryl Crow song, "Real Gone," which was featured in the Disney movie "Cars," would seem to raise the spectre of a DMCA takedown notice here, unless cooler legal heads recognize the PR disaster that would be. Of course, if it could happen to an Apple video hailing Steve Jobs, I suppose no one can be considered off limits.)
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