Wisconsin Man Builds Life-Size Functional Tonka Truck

Brad Doane is living his childhood dream of driving a life-size Tonka Truck. The 40-year-old tow truck driver from Menomonie, Wisconsin, has spent a year converting a Chevy pickup drive train into a scaled-up functional replica of the 1969 Mighty Tonka Wrecker Tow Truck.

As a little boy, Brad collected every Tonka truck there ever was, but it wasn’t until a few years ago, when his mother brought back an old Mighty Wrecker she had bought at a charity auction that he ever considered building a life-size one. Having grown up at his family’s towing garage, Brad knew a thing or two about building a car, and inspired by the new Tonka toy, he decided to put his plan into action. He spent $700 on an old Chevy pick-up and spent a whole year, cutting, bending and welding steel to transform it into a drivable Tonka Mighty Wrecker 12 times its original size. The white body of the vehicle is identical to the classic toy down to the mini cabin and hand-crank-operated towing arms, and Doane even added a tiny steering wheel for ultimate authenticity. It’s a fully functional and registered vehicle that turns heads everywhere he takes it.


Photo: Brad Doane

This Sunday, Brad Doane plans to drive his 16-foot-long, 10-foot-tall Tonka to the Spirit of the Lakes Parade, in Mound, Minnesota, where the legendary toy company was founded and named after Lake Minnetonka. The all-metal Tonka trucks were sold around the world and earned a reputation as being indestructible. From the late 1980s onwards, metal was gradually replaced with plastic.


Photo: Brad Doane

For more photos of the building process, check out Brad Doane’s blog, igmightyone.


 Source: KARE11

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