Dan Hryhorcoff’s innovative 13-foot bumper car: A street-legal marvel

Giant Bumper Car Dan Hryhorcoff
Dan Hryhorcoff's street-legal giant bumper car: a 13-foot nostalgic masterpiece with a Chevy twist. Images courtesy Kathy Hryhorcoff

In a world where creativity often takes a backseat, Dan Hryhorcoff, a retired Pennsylvanian, stands out with his extraordinary endeavor: transforming a nostalgic amusement park ride into a street-legal vehicle. This article delves into Hryhorcoff’s journey from working on submarines to building a mammoth, 13-foot bumper car during the pandemic, showcasing a blend of engineering prowess and artistic flair.

Dan Hryhorcoff’s retirement story is far from ordinary. With a background in submarine work and owning a machine shop, his post-retirement phase was anything but conventional. It was during the isolation of the pandemic that Hryhorcoff embarked on a unique project, one that would combine his engineering skills and his passion for mechanical innovation. His inspiration came from the Knoebels amusement park in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, where a 1953 model bumper car captivated his imagination.

Hryhorcoff’s creation is a homage to this vintage bumper car, but with dimensions that are twice as large. Measuring 13 feet in length, 7 feet in width, and 5.5 feet in height, this bumper car is a gigantic version of its muse. The process began with meticulous research and measurement at Knoebels. Hryhorcoff spent eight hours in the park, studying the bumper cars and gathering every detail necessary for his project. He started by crafting a replica using styrofoam, which was later used to create molds for the final body made of fiberglass.

The choice of materials was crucial in this project. The fiberglass not only added durability but also paid tribute to the original design of the amusement park’s bumper cars. However, it’s the engineering beneath the surface that truly distinguishes Hryhorcoff’s bumper car. Underneath its nostalgic exterior lies the engine from a Chevrolet Aveo. Hryhorcoff ingeniously modified this front-wheel-drive car, transforming it into a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicle, thereby reshaping a conventional car into a unique three-wheeled bumper car.

Giant Bumper Car Dan Hryhorcoff Scale
Twice the fun: Dan Hryhorcoff’s giant bumper car doubles the size of its 1953 amusement park inspiration.

The front wheel of the bumper car, sourced from a motorcycle, provides it with an impressively small turning radius, making it highly maneuverable. This decision also classifies the vehicle as a tricycle in legal terms, contributing to its street-legal status. The integration of a Chevrolet Aveo’s front with a motorcycle wheel is a testament to Hryhorcoff’s ingenuity and engineering skill.

Giant Bumper Car Dan Hryhorcoff Front Wheel
Dan Hryhorcoff’s giant bumper car, with its motorcycle front-wheel, achieves a remarkably small turning radius.

Hryhorcoff, who describes himself as an engineer rather than an artist, has a long history of mechanical fascination. From building go-karts as a child to running a machine shop, his life has been a journey through various mechanical endeavors. This bumper car project, however, stands out for its sheer scale and ambition.

Unfortunately, specific pricing information for this unique creation is not available, as it is a one-of-a-kind personal project and not a commercial product. Nonetheless, it represents a remarkable achievement in automotive design and customization.

Giant Bumper Car Dan Hryhorcoff Fiber Glass
Selecting fiberglass for the bumper car was key, offering durability and honoring the original amusement park design.