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This has been one of my favorite projects. I think I officially started the build in 2011 but was planning on it since 2010. I have never had a project go on as long as this one has and still end up getting finished. This has been my most unconventional build from the start, and not everyone was exactly on board with the idea. Being that most people have never heard of the term Doodlebug or the context in which it is being used was probably the biggest issue. Anyway… here is a short recap on my little project.

Background

"Modern" example of the concept

“Modern” example of the concept

A Doodlebug was originally a term used for a truck (commonly a Model T) that was converted to be used as a tractor in order to save money as formal tractors were very expensive. The trucks were geared lowered using a second transmission commonly. This was popular during the depression particularly. Being that this was a “value engineering” technique, the type and variety of these rigs was extensive.

 

 

Diving in

I didn’t feel the need to get overly detailed with my planning on this build like I normally do. I stripped the paint off of chassis before doing anything, I wanted to let this truck rust for a unique look. I went over the DMG for the fabrication of the cage/roll bar, while a roll bar is not typical on a Doodlebug I still felt the need to take my own liberties. The general idea was to fabricate a simple roll bar, structure for mounting a bench seat, and some sort of flatbed. Beyond identifying those items, no planning was done. I started out using the hood off of an Axial CF100 truck body, but plans were to get a hold of one of the Axial Rat Rod bodies and use just the hood area.

 

Now that the metal work was mostly done, it was time to do some wood working. I made a bench seat and flatbed out of basswood from Hobby Lobby. Everything was rough cut and and then textured with a wire brush to add some character. Next I finished the wood with a variety of different wood stains, followed by some motor oil, dirt, and a little fire in places! Then the part that took the most time… setting it outside and letting it rust. The “aging” process was fairly extensive (meaning it sat outside, then on my shelf for the better part of a year).

 

The body

The Axial Rat Rod body was not readily available, I was able to talk with Axial and after a very long wait I was lucky enough to receive 2 bodies in the mail. This got me inspired to pick the project back up and get to work. Fist off, I am not a painter, never have been and likely never will be. Making a lexan body look aged was not the simplest task for someone with my minimal painting skills either. However I came up with a plan that even I was able to execute well.  I first gave the inside of the body a dusting of metalic orange and then coated it with some racing red. This was to give the body a base color that would appear like rust after the next steps were completed. To add to the aged theme I first painted the outside of the body blue and covered that with black. After some light sanding in several places it gave the appearance of an old worn body that had seen better days. I was pretty happy with the finished product.

Details

09I added some little details slowly as I was finishing up the truck. A simple bumper was added which I covered with another strip of wood, also an RC4Wd winch was thrown on just for fun. You can also see that I installed a leaf spring kit and chassis mounted servo. I used the kit from RCBros.com for this. It was a great little kit that really helped with packaging up front. It was tough to fit shocks up front (especially some fancy looking coilover) and still make this thing look like it might belong on a farm!

 

Wrapping up

I still toy with this every once in awhile, I can’t say it is ever “done”. I have some awesome hood sides that were made by Eyeball engineering with some hand formed louvers that I still need to install. I also plan to put a formal dash in as well. However, for now, it’s been a fun little truck to tool around with.

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