Along with the acres of rustic community enjoyment up for grabs at last weekend’s Pass Creek Fall Fair there was one especially intriguing mechanical component.
Parked among the assortment of beautiful classic cars and trucks, near the bandstand, was a unique and interesting piece of motorized hardware.Right there beside a stunning two-door ’55 Chevrolet was the unit known as the “Freedom Buggy,” a serious venture into the domain of heavy-duty transportation for those with limited mobility.
On board in a well-secured wheelchair was the teenage Orrin Patton. The unit and the people nearby were attracting their fair share of attention from passing fair-goers.
The Freedom Buggy is obviously built to last with a welded steel structure and a stable looking wide stance.Its designer and creator, Clifford Brotherston of Ootischenia, says he’s often made or adapted machines to suit whatever the situation dictated.
“I worked on different farm equipment and pipeline equipment. I was always into some new type of work that would make something easier for someone else,” he related. It was plain to see the rig looked capable for its intended purpose, but what about gaining legitimacy and, subsequently a foothold in the marketplace?
“That kind of thing is being looked at as we speak,” said Brotherston the Monday following the fair.”I see it eventually being legalized and licensed like a quad, or other recreational vehicle.”
Whether it could end up being seen in numbers like the familiar scooters for physically challenged folks remains to be seen, but Brotherston is actively promoting it and feels it’s future could depend largely on the government’s Ministry Of Transportation.
The unit features a ramp for getting on and off it, a rear-mounted engine and rear wheel drive.The small front wheels have a lot of steering freedom and Brotherston says the unit can be “turned 180 degrees in its own length.”
It was interesting speaking with the inventor, a long-time heavy-duty mechanic, about the robust “conveyance.”A popular TV show came immediately to mind, and a related question was quickly asked.
“I haven’t thought about the Dragon’s Den,” he said. “Well I guess everybody dreams about the Dragons’ Den, but there’s more people who get turned down than ever get accepted. At my stage in life I would probably look for a manufacturer.”
There may come a day when the locally-designed Freedom Buggy will grow from a local effort and the dream of its creator, into a mass produced success story. But if it does it may carry a different name as it appears the trademark “Freedom Buggy” may already be taken.Whatever the case, Brotherston has built this one to last and he’s happy to supply details. Drop him an email at email@example.com.