Kansas inventor builds his own car from random items during pandemic

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — While idling at home during quarantine, one man put his brain to work.

Johnson County inventor, Tom Trompeter, didn’t allow coronavirus to steal his creativity. When Trompter, a retired engineer, takes you for a spin, he does it in a car he built from the wheels up — from scratch.

When the COVID-19 pandemic pumped the brakes on many industries, Trompter went to work building a car out of random items, some of which came from yard sales.

Trompter’s “Model T” uses pieces of bicycles, metal shelving, a shower door, and a broomstick among others to form a car with an old-timer feel to it.

“I’ve always built things. I’ve always been that way, even when I was a kid,” Trompeter said Friday.

The car uses two electric motors, and it even has a backup camera system.

Trompeter said he finished the multi-year project last week, most of which involved work done in his basement. Trompeter said he used downtime during the pandemic to make his creation hum. The car tops out around 25 mph.

“You always want to find something to do. This really worked out great for me,” Trompter said.

Francisco Litardo, Trompeter’s neighbor, said this would-be Elon Musk is genius. Litardo laughed that he wants to take the car for a special spin of his own.

“This is a fun thing to have in our neighborhood. When my wife and I want to go on a date, I’m going to ask if I can use it,” Litardo giggled.

“I’ve always said, ‘I could use that for this. That would work really good,’” Trompeter said. “A lot of people throw things away. Sometimes, I look at things and say, ‘I don’t want to throw that away. I might need that.’”

When all the pieces come together, his car makes his neighbor wheels start turning.

Trompter said this two-door version might eventually lead to a sedan style of his car.

Neighbors are hopeful his car will appear in an upcoming Independence Day parade. But Trompter said his car isn’t licensed, and it isn’t street legal, so he uses it only for short rides around his home.

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