Banana car header graphic

The Build Up

Creating the banana shape.

The banana car beginnings.

I sliced a banana and traced round the pieces and then scanned the page into a computer. Using CorelDraw I made all the segments symmetrical and printed out the finished page.

Using a projector I enlarged the images and traced them directly onto full size plywood sheets.

Cutting out the segments.

Once I had all the segments traced onto the plywood I numbered them and cut them out with a jig saw.

Fitting the segments together.

Fitting the banana slices together.

My neighbours helped me dry fit the pieces to lengths of 2X4s

The tall one is Heather and the shorter one is Scott.

Scott is checking the fit for accuracy.

You can't see it very clearly but in his right hand is a micrometer.

Figuring out the length.

Figuring out the length the vehicle will need to be.

To get a rough idea of the length of the finished vehicle and how much space each passenger will need I lined up four chairs and measured them.

Not very scientific but it worked.

This was done before the donor vehicle was chosen and was a factor in deciding what kind of vehicle was needed.

What we started with.

Banana car donor Vehicle a 1993 Ford F-150 4X4

I'm trying to look cool in front of a rusty old pick up truck and the pick up comes off looking better!

We chose a late 80s - early 90s Ford F-150 because the frame is nice and slim, the front springs are coil not leaf and the gas tank is inside the frame rails.

Removing the body and cab.

Removing the cab from the donor vehicle.

Mark and I removed the cab, pick-up bed and front clip from the vehicle leaving just the frame with the engine, front and rear suspension and gas tanks still in place.

The F-150 frame.

The mostly bare frame.

The frame is fairly narrow (as is a banana) and so the body will hide most of the chassis.

The vehicle is four wheel drive which will, I'm sure, come in very handy in some parts of the world we will be traveling through.

Another nice thing about this vehicle is that it has two gas tanks. Very useful for an extended drive such as ours will be.

Fitting the slices to the Fords chassis.

The wooden slices have been fitted to the Ford frame.

The wooden slices were cut and fitted to the Ford chassis. This formed a "buck" around which the banana shape will be built.

The slices need to be moved around to get a better banana shape. The curve at the back is nowhere near correct.

Wrapping the rebar.

The banana shape is being made out of rebar.

A skeletal shape of the banana will be made out of 1/2" rebar and then covered with chicken wire. A layer of foam will then be sprayed over the entire vehicle and sculpted to the desired banana shape. Once it is smooth and "banana like" it will be covered with fibreglass.

(It has been pointed out to me that America doesn't sell fibreglass! Apparently I'll have to use fiberglass instead.
Thanks to emailer
"Steve Whoeveryouare" )

Steering column and emergency brake.

The steering column has been mounted along with the emergency foot brake.

I want to use as much from the original donor vehicle as possible and so the Ford F-150 steering column, emergency brake and dash have all been fitted.

Because we are all sitting in the middle of the car the steering column is pointing directly at the back of the engine. This means that the driver has to be set back a way in order to allow the steering shaft to curve around and meet up with the existing steering box.

Wireframe almost finished.

Banana wireframe almost finished.

We are now in Quakertown Pennsylvania, the wooden forms are gone and the rebar skeleton is almost finished. We shortened up the front quite a bit and I still have to figure out how to make the bonnet open so we can work on the engine after the fibreglass has been applied.

(It has also been explained to me that the banana will need a "hood" rather than a "bonnet" - Again, thanks to emailer Steve for his picky, quibbling little email.)

Windshield mounted.

Windshield (windscreen) mounted

To me this is a windscreen but I know I'll get a winging email from
"Steve Whoeveryouare" pointing out that in America no one will know what I'm talking about.

So it's a windshield!
I wouldn't even have one but to make the banana street legal I must.

Crash cage.

Crash cages being fabricated.

Each occupant will have a crash cage made of 2" square tube with 1/4" thick wall surrounding them.


Bonnet or hood being fabricated.

We will probably want to check the oil every 20,000 miles or so and I therefore had to make a bonnet/hood.

I used the original F-150 bonnet/hood hinges.

Reinforcing the Bonnet/Hood.

Bonnet or hood being fabricated.

To give the front end some extra strength we have reinforced it with 2" angle iron.