Tom Wright’s Street-Legal Bumper Cars

Bumper cars were crazy fun when I was a kid.  Even as an adult today, they still look immensely entertaining and I'd probably be on one every weekend if only everyone else lined up to ride them weren't in grade school.  Instead of drawing power from the floor or ceiling like regular flat rides, these bumper cars seen around the San Diego area not only run independently - you can drive them down public roads.

That's right, these bumper cars, which have been reconfigured to run on four wheels, are completely street legal.  Even if they're not, though, I doubt cops will pull you over for a ticket - they'll probably ask to try it for a spin around the block, instead.

bumper-dmv-ok

Created by California-based builder Tom Wright, the original set of modified bumper cars came from the Long Beach Pike amusement park's discards.  Instead of watching them join the trash heap, he took out the Harley motors, replaced it with 750cc Honda and Kawasaki boxes, and redesigned them to pass city driving standards.  His fleet now consists of eight crazy-looking street bumper cars (culled from different amusement parks), all licensed to give your hottest ride a run for its money.

A couple of the cars can reportedly go up to 160mph, which seems awfully scary for a car with such a short wheelbase.  There's no word on whether he's selling any of these rides, but I doubt he'll have a hard time moving at least a couple hundred of them.  Seriously, who wouldn't want to cruise down the streets on a real bumper car?

Update:  We found some more pics for you on MR38's Flickr Page

Another Update (01/30/2010) : Check out some more info here at Little Guy Street Rods.

[via Jalopy Journal, Jalopnik]

189 Responses

  1. steve biagi

    Love these things. Can you buy them? Are they available in Canada? If so how much are they. If they are not available
    in Canada can they be shipped? I live in Toronto Canada.
    Any info would be appreciated
    Thanks
    Steve Biagi
    Toronto Canada

    Reply
  2. Charlene

    My grandson and our family will be in San Diego in July, 2012, for our “grandparent week.” Is there any chance we can see one of your bumper cars? He lives in Oregon and is thinking about making one! Please let me know if this is possible. I think they are very cool, and I would like to “make-a-wish” for him! Thanks

    Reply
  3. John Morris

    After looking at these beauties wonder what kind of frame they sit on and how hard it would be to build one. Also wonder if the Chinese have thought about manufacturing them. looked on the web and one can buy the bumber cars just doing the converting would be the hard part. maybe. Am thinking of trying to do one and see how they come out if good then will see about manufacturing them on a custom basis.

    Reply
  4. gary graham

    I would like to purchase one of your bumper cars. Please contact me at my e-mail address.

    Reply
  5. Louis Guillory

    Interested in purchasing one. How much. Do they vary in price.

    Reply
  6. Troy Wunderle

    Do you sell your street legal bumper cars on the East Coast? If so, what is the approximate cost? They are FANTASTIC!

    Reply
      • Sharon Yokanovich

        To John Stephenson. Did you ever receive any info about these cars?

    • Sharon Yokanovich

      I’m from British Columbia, Canada & would like information on how to purchase one of these cars, very much so.

      Reply
  7. Richard Auck

    I would be interested in purchasing one of these. Are they on the open market for sale?

    Reply
  8. Sharon Davis

    How much? and can you put a convertable top or removable top on them for winter?

    Reply
  9. Jerry Cunningham

    I like the rest of the individuals that have responded to your bumper cars would like to know if you sell them or if you may have kits or prints on how to build one.

    Reply
  10. Wolfman

    Cool American Icon Bumper cars saved from destruction. Thank You Tom Wright

    Reply
  11. tom yahnke

    i live in carlsbad and would like a lot more information about your cars. i’m a fan and am interested in getting one !!! please reply asap… thankyou

    Reply
  12. Roberta Marochi

    Please let me know if there are any for sale and what the cost would be. aloha

    Reply
  13. Darin

    LOVE these Street legal Bumper Cars!!!! What a fantastic way to keep these fantastic amuzement rides alive!

    Reply
  14. Kevin McOwen

    Where can I get one used to build my self? I’m handicaped and lost my leg so I need to get around to my Dr appt’s. I’ve been looking for some way to get around town to go fishing an such. Thanks for listnig… Kevin
    God bless

    Reply
  15. bill caggiula

    I have 14 bumper cars that i would either convert into street legal one’s like Tom Wrights, or sell as is and let someone else deal with the conversion.
    I wonder if there is a way to get in touch with Tom Wright, to find out what it would cost
    to build these cars, and if there are kits one can buy.
    Thanks
    Bill C

    Reply
    • guy tucker

      Bill, did you ever find out anything about these Bumper Cars?

      Thanks, Guy

      Reply
    • Bill Sanford

      what are the 14 cars that you have and general condition. Could be interested on a couple of them for a personal work project. If pics & price & location are available please send info as well direct contact info.

      thanks for your time

      Reply
      • bill caggiula

        like i mentioned in my comment, i have 14 dodge em bumper cars for sale at $2000 each, or best offer. They are located in Dixville Notch NH. You can buy as many as you like. Would like to sell them all at one time if the price is right.
        Sorry it has taken so long for me to get back to you
        Regards
        Bill Caggiula (cell- 727-409-2455)

      • Paul Watt, Sr.

        other than contact by cell phone is there another way to communicate? also, do you have pix?

        thanks

  16. bill caggiula

    in reference to previous comment, i also have an extensive machine shop where we can make just about anything.
    Again, thanks Bill

    Reply
  17. Donna

    Where do I get more information, availability, price. These are the coolest “rides” I need one

    Reply
  18. Charles Mangiaracina

    I see many questions to you about buying one of these cars and I do not know if you replied to those questions, but would you just build a chassis for me that I could mount a bumper car to? And if so how much would an assembled chassis cost?
    Thanks. CHARLIE

    Reply
  19. Peter Wentworth

    Would you please add my name to the list of those inquiring about pricing?
    thanks -and great jobs on those bumper cars!

    Reply
  20. Hans

    I am also interested in a street legal bumper car! These are awesome! I will be going to South Cali this winter and I will be making a trip to San Diego to check him out. I will post what I find. Anybody else get any info? From Hans

    Reply
  21. Geoff

    I am really interested in getting one of these. How do I get more information on them or in touch with Tom, to find out details.

    Reply
  22. Ann B

    OMG – I want one – I do I do !
    Baby Boomers should be the ONLY people
    allowed to own one – our appreciation
    level is higher than everyone else’s (lol)

    Reply
  23. Karen

    WoW! WoW! WoW! I love your idea :) Can you please forward me more details of pricing and availability…

    Regards
    Karen :)

    Reply
  24. Greg

    I was in San Marcos California and stopped in a shop, with my Dad, that had these or similar…about 9 years ago. He passed away a couple of years ago and was the Manager of the Navistar store down the street. Dion International. Was this you? Curious and just remember just how cool they were. The gentleman was the owner and builder and took time out of his day to show us around. I was impressed!

    Reply
  25. Richard Gugliuzza

    I am interested in purchasing one of the bumper cars please send me the price and any info. You have.

    Reply
  26. Candaaes

    I really love these cars? I also, want to know where I can buy one and how much they cost. I hope you will reply to let me know.

    Thanks So Much.

    Reply
  27. BENITAH

    I’m really interesting to own one of this car if it’s possible

    Please, i’m waiting to ur answer

    Reply
  28. Paul Watt, Sr.

    Really interested, however would really like to see pix of the cars.

    Thanks

    Reply
  29. Michelle

    I would like to know how much cost me. I want buying one. I am interested in that sicko Bumper car

    Reply
  30. Bill Del Biondo

    Boy were these moterized bumper cars exciting to see. Brings back the late 1940’s when I was a kid at Lakemont Park, near Altoona PA. Is their anyway to see if these would be available for sale, the approximate purchase price, and hopefully a bit closer to Pennsylvania?

    Great stuff!

    Reply
  31. Marie

    I have a bumper car – looks like a MGB from the 40’s maybe 50’s – has motor etc…was driven under the Toronto Ex’s old Flyer Roll-o-coaster – want to sell it – anybody interested?

    Reply
  32. Dave C

    I have a reconditioned Duce Bumper Car for sale. Frame has been ‘bead blasted’ to remove rust and a base coat primer sprayed on. The body is in excellent shape, repainted, R and L mirrors, newly covered seat, with new power pole and new bumper tire with tube. This is NOT an operational bumper car, but perfect for a conversion. Located in Pueblo, CO. CO state law does not allow an ATV frame to be on the street, so project has been halted. Photos upon request can be attached to your e-mail. Price is set at $1850. Buyer responsible to pick up car.

    Reply
  33. Dave

    I have a restored Duce Bumper car for sale. New paint and new bumper tire. Frame has been beadblasted to remove rust. Newly covered seat. Located in Pueblo, CO. Contact me for full details and photos

    Reply
  34. Anthony

    I am big into off road and Harleys. I am thanking about a new bike, but after seeing a bumper car like this I want one!!!! How much?

    Reply
  35. Dave

    Excellent condition Duce Bumper car for sale which includes a new bumper tire. New paint and trim work. Pueblo, CO

    Reply
  36. Dave

    Excellent condition Duce Bumper car for sale which includes a new bumper tire. New paint and trim work. Pueblo, CO.

    Reply
    • Dave

      can you send me pics of your B.Car? I have been thinking of building one for a sidehack for my motorcycle.for a few years..
      Thanks ,Dave.

      Reply
  37. Dave

    Duce Bumper car for sale, ready for conversion. Check e-bay starting November 2, 2013 for details and photos. Ad will run for 10 days.

    Reply
  38. Theresa

    ME TOO! I’m interested in a price on one of these cuties! Let me know ASAP, please! How fun! “Boomers in Bumpers!” That’ll be me……. ;-)

    Reply

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