Grandpa Built a Car


When my father was 5 years old, he was riding a tricycle on the street in Alameda and a train came along and the wheel cut off 4 of the toes on his left foot. When he was in the hospital, his dad promised him he’d build him a car. Which he did. I just discovered this photo in the family archives. My dad didn’t let the injury slow him down, he played tennis in high school and was an avid duck hunter and fisherman. I’m so proud of him, for his courage, and grandpa for his soulful kid’s car (with bicycle wheels).

(I just discovered this photo in an old family album, with my dad’s explanation written on the back; I’d never heard the story.)

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

5 Responses to Grandpa Built a Car

  1. oddly enough ,I have enough tin, rivets ,old motorcycle parts ,wheels and engines and car parts and paint to build one of these things,LLOYD ,I have enough unfinished projects around here already.COULD YOU ,just for once,put out an UN inspiring Idea or Photo?!!! sheeesh!

  2. Oh my, this was also inspiring to me. Now just think of this…your dad and granddad inspiring so many others by JUST WRITING THIS STORY ON THE BACK OF A PHOTO. What value in keeping some sort of journal. What a treasure this photo and story is. Thanks so much. Love Charles’s comment…yep, “just for once….” aloha, irene

  3. That’s an amazing looking hot there Lloyd. It IS an actual car isn’t it! Or is it push pedal powered one wonders. Amazing too that your dad survived it. It’s like…”Here son….this is for you…now please try not to kill yourself. If you actually want to stop, pull the lever on your right.” Your grandfather set the stage for the grandson.

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