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World record attempt thwarted, rescheduled for October 21
by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · October 12th, 2017

Rob Zimmerly brought his mini-car to the local Shriners' headquarters in Hiawatha Saturday in hopes of setting a new world record. He had planned to break the current record for driving the farthest distance on a mini-car while tipped on only two wheels. However, rain thwarted his hopes and caused the attempt to be rescheduled for Saturday, October 21, -- at the same time, 9 a.m., and the same location, the corner of Stamy Road and Tower Terrace.

We arrived good and early for his attempt last Saturday morning, and the first person we saw was Rob's number-one helper, Travis Chambers. Travis explained that he would be accompanying Rob in a pick-up during the run.

Although he didn't get to try to break the record, Rob brought his little car inside the building so we could examine it, ask questions and take some pictures. It is a most interesting little vehicle.

The mini-car is only 33 inches long and 17-and-a half inches wide. It is one of only 600 mini-cars built specifically for Shriners, and was produced in 2013 by E.Z. Burger Co. of Phoenix. It is a quarter scale model of a 1932 Ford Roadster and hence sports a chrome Ford emblem and a license plate that says MINI FEZ 1 on it.

The Shriner model comes in two colors, red and yellow, and Rob owns one of each. His yellow one was out in his big long trailer along with other Shriner gear and a vintage bright red Triumph, a 1969 model mk3 with LIL FEZ on its license plate.

Here are some of the amazing facts Rob shared about the mini-car: It has a .9 horsepower engine, somewhat similar to a weed whacker engine. Despite its small size, its top speed is around 30 miles per hour. (Golly, you could get picked up for going 30 mph in a 25!)

For his ride on the two right-side wheels, Rob said he probably will not go that fast, though - probably between 10 and 15 miles per hour.

It uses a mix of gas and oil for fuel. This little red one has about 1200 miles on it so far and was built in 2013. The battery is a marine type. Rob said the battery will last him through four parades before he has to take it out of the car for recharging.

However, here is the most amazing fact: it gets 384 miles to a gallon of gas! That means we could make almost 100 trips to the grocery store before we would have to fill up. Wow!

Rob said if you'd like to buy a civilian model of the mini-car, you can actually purchase one. The base model starts at under $2,000. It has the same frame and motor as the Shriner version, but it is on an Indy-style race car body.

He has added lots of extras to this car. Among them are mag wheels and cute little red caps for the tire tubes.

Rob's car has amber blinking lights low on the front. It has four chrome tubes out each side that resemble exhaust pipes. And in the middle back, underneath the frame, is a metal piece which ends with a little caster-type wheel that allows him to pull the front of the car up off the ground, settle the back onto the caster, and turn wheelies.

There are also some sophisticated electronic components, so Rob can carry an on-board video cam and other equipment for communication and monitoring weather, etc. He had planned to carry it during the run and will do so on October 21.

There are lots of different noise makers, including an "oogah, oogah" horn and an air horn. As Rob put it, "Anything to get the little kids to laugh!"

The grin on Rob's face and the gleam in his eyes let us know the kids aren't the only ones who have a lot of fun when Rob appears with his mini-cars.

We hope you will plan to have some fun, too, by coming out and cheering him on as he tries for the record time in the mini-car on October 21.
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