Building a Repli-Car of the 1920 A.O.Smith Flyer

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Blog entry by TaybulSawz posted 11-09-2016 01:41 AM 5735 reads 5 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of the members suggested I start a Blog on my Build. I think this is a good idea too!. I’ll give you all a review of how I got started on this journey.

I have 4 grandkids between the ages of 3 and 11. The two 6 year old Boys asked PoPo if he could build a go kart. PoPo’s NEVER say NO soooo…I started researching the traditional go kart type projects. During my search I stumbled upon this YouTube video

and these pictures of how someone had adapted it to use a Modern Engine.

( I can Only HOPE my version will look as nice as this one!!!!)

on the A.O. Smith Flyer and and electric model called the “Red Bug”.

I had NEVER heard of one or seen one. As soon as I did, I was HOOKED! I HAD to build it. I immediately began to research this machine but could NOT find Plans anywhere. Sooo…I began to make dimensioin calculations based on the information I was able to glean about certain components.

I began by making the Main Body(Frame) and the associated Cross Pieces (Front Axle, Foot Rest and Seat Rest Slats)
I ended up making it 7ft long and 26” wide with a 36” X 70” wheel base.

The Main Frame is made from Quarter Sawn Red Oak. 6 slats consisting of 2 – 7/8” x 3” x 84” 2- 7/8” x 3” x 81” and 2- 7/8” x 3” x 79”.

The front axle is made from solid Oak 2” x 2” x 28”. I used 3 1/2” x 5/16 Stove bolts to attach it to each Main Frame slat with Lock Nuts.

I then Made the foot rest based on what I could see in the pics and video. 3/4” x 2 3/4” x 36”. Again I used Stove Bolts, 2 1/2” x 5/16 in each slat.

I then made an “X” brace from 3/8” x 1/2” pieces of oak.

Next I made the Seat Crossmember Pieces on which the two bucket seats will sit on 4 Beveled risers.

I then began fabricating the Pillow Blocks for the Live axle. Made from Solid blocks of Douglas Fir 2 1/2×2 1/2×6”. I drilled recessed flat bottom holes in each of them and inserted 5/8” I.D. sealed bearings and then made caps to hide them. I used shaft collars to keep it in place. I purchased a 7” V-Belt pulley online for $25. I drilled about 1/4” into the shaft so the Hex Had key would lock it in place.

The Brakes are Friction Brakes. The wood pieces just in front of the axle are the Brake arms that will have rubber pads placed on the ends and when the brake pedal is depressed the arms will pivot and press the rubber pads against the spinning wheel. I Thought of making disc brakes but…They ARE expensive. If the Tires start to wear to much I’ll probably convert to discs.

I then made a Form on which I could bend and glue the 3 pieces of 1/8” hardboard.

I used slow set epoxy and let it cure for 2 days. I then made a paper pattern to emulate the seats in the pics. I think they turned out pretty good. They are 16” x 16” x 10” tall.

I’m an Oklahoma State Cowboy sooo…She’ll be Orange and Black when I’m done.

The last thing I’ve completed is the steering Column and the Steering Shaft and Wheel.

Next on the agenda is getting the Front steering Spindles and Arms made and then Getting the wheels on so I can roll her around.

Thanks for your interest.

-- Still got all my Fingers!!!

9 comments so far

View TaybulSawz's profile


158 posts in 1886 days

#1 posted 11-09-2016 04:06 AM

Look what I Found!!!!

I’m pleasantly surprised at how close I got to the actual dimensions!!!

-- Still got all my Fingers!!!

View Richard's profile


1922 posts in 2894 days

#2 posted 11-09-2016 08:44 PM

Looking good so far , I am sure this will get a lot use for quite a while.

View Mean_Dean's profile


6903 posts in 3351 days

#3 posted 11-09-2016 11:48 PM

It’s great that you started a blog series about this build—I’m looking forward to following along!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View TaybulSawz's profile


158 posts in 1886 days

#4 posted 11-10-2016 03:11 AM

Didn’t get much done today. Wife had “Honey Do’s” so…Happy Wife…Happy Life!!!
I did manage to look over the newly found schematics and decided to re-design the steering column. I’ll try and work on it tomorrow and post some pics of my idea.

The original car had a metal bracket to support the steering shaft at approximately @ the mid point.

I’m NOT a Metal Worker/Welder sooo…I made the one shown previously but was never quite satisfied with it. Looking at the metal bracket in pics and the drawings I’ve decided to re-make it in the configuration shown below. I plan on making it out of 2×2 Doug Fir for a prototype and if it works I’ll make the final out of Oak. I also need to figure out out to make the lower steering shaft bracket with a bushing and the steering arm attachment. Again the original is metal so going to have to try and design one from oak.

By the way, we have a OCEAN port in Tulsa!!! It’s called the Port of Catoosa and the river connects to the Mississippi River and then to the gulf. One of the companies at the port gets a LOT of 4×4 cribbing from the boats and when they get a bunch the post it on Craigslist, First come first served. So far, all the oak for this project has been gleaned from this source. Doing creative cutting I’m able to get quartersawn oak for FREE!!!.

-- Still got all my Fingers!!!

View TaybulSawz's profile


158 posts in 1886 days

#5 posted 12-03-2016 02:16 AM

I’ve had to put the Flyer on Hold for a bit. I build custom Furniture and I’ve had a LOT of Christmas Orders come in sooooo…I’m trying to get em all done before the Day!!!! I hope to get back to the car after the new year!!!

-- Still got all my Fingers!!!

View TaybulSawz's profile


158 posts in 1886 days

#6 posted 01-08-2017 10:25 PM

Haven’t done anywork for quite a while. I had a Heart Attack!!! Slowly but surely getting my legs back under me. Hope to be back in the shop soon and will post update then.

-- Still got all my Fingers!!!

View TaybulSawz's profile


158 posts in 1886 days

#7 posted 01-29-2017 04:03 AM

I’m finally back in the shop after my Heart Attack. Dr. Released me and Hoping to get back on the Flyer. I have 3 sofa tables to build and a coffee table and then I’m gunna STOP taking orders so I can get the car done before the spring. My G-Kids are getting very anxious about it. Don’t want to disappoint them!!! I don’t think I have more than 20 hours work left. At least I hope not. Found a new friend that’s a welder so I have the METAL parts line up for completion. That will give me a rolling chassis to work with and then I think assembly will pick up quickly. Hope everyone is doing well with their projects and I hope to have some updated pics in the very near future.

-- Still got all my Fingers!!!

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21743 posts in 3309 days

#8 posted 04-22-2017 02:14 PM

That is a really cool project. It seems you could use a disc brake and hide the disc somehow!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View TaybulSawz's profile


158 posts in 1886 days

#9 posted 04-22-2017 04:05 PM

Thanks Jim!
The brakes will be the same unless after using them I determine they are unsafe and if that’s the case I’ll be using a disc brake as you suggested I’m in the process of selling my house and moving to be closer to my Grandkids As soon as I get settled I’ll get the project back in full production mode

-- Still got all my Fingers!!!

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