At 8.5-feet tall and 12 feet long, this pachyderm has a lot of presence
Some folks buy a flashy car to make sure people see them, but the person who truly wants to be the centre of attention on the road needs to consider buying Wendell, the Ford-powered mechanical elephant. This 8.5-foot tall pachyderm stamps across the auction block on Saturday, September 3, as a part of an Auctions America sale in Auburn, Indiana. The company expects the mammoth animal to sell for $250,000 to $400,000 (approx. $328,000 - $525,000 CAD).
Elephants aren’t known for their sprinting ability, and buyers need to be ready to take things slow when going for a ride on Wendell. Power comes via an eight-horsepower engine from a 1939 Ford Anglia, and there’s a three-speed manual gearbox with reverse. The powertrain connects to a chain-drive lever assembly, which lets this giant get around.
You can still have a lot of fun during the slow journey because the elephant can spray water out of its trunk. It also has a CD player with speakers, which should entertain bystanders. We’d suggest playing something with a touch of irony like the song "Mammoth" by Interpol or anything from the band Mastodon.
A firm in the United Kingdom constructed Wendell, then named Jumbo, in 1951 as a promotional item for Cunningham Drug Stores in Detroit, Michigan. He was one of just two known gasoline-powered examples from the builder. The elephant changed hands several times but eventually made an appearance at the 1980 Republican National Convention.
After a few more sales, Wendell received a complete restoration in 2013. The builders re-covered the frame in vinyl and airbrushed it for a look closer to a real elephant. The team also installed new parts for the trunk and eyes.
Now, Wendell can have yet another new owner after Auctions America sells it. He’s still looking really good, despite this pachyderm’s old age. Plus, some of the proceeds go to an Indiana charity that donates books to children in the hospital, so you can feel especially good about buying this beast.
Photos courtesy of Auction America
Source: Auctions America