Dave’s toys include a custom built replica of Speed Racer’s Mach 5 and the Canyonero
The sound of a diesel engine rips through the warm evening air in an otherwise quiet central Plano neighborhood. A larger-than-life vehicle, hand-painted white and brown with red metal lettering on the side, bumps its way from the driveway of a modest two-story house across a concrete alley into a half-acre field of dirt and grass.
Dave Hendrickson is the owner of this monstrous vehicle, as well as an air conditioning business and a house-flipping venture that he calls Crackpot Realty. For the latter, he employs halfway house residents and together, he and his employees remodel houses that Dave said essentially start out as the worst of the worst.
Dave has two custom vehicles that he built entirely himself: the 20-foot long Canyonero described above and a replica of the Mach 5 from the cartoon “Speed Racer.” The two vehicles occupy spaces in his driveway and in a garage behind a custom-built gate.
The Canyonero (yes, the name is a nod to the “squirrel-squashin’, deer-smackin’ driving machine” from “The Simpsons”) started out as a green four-door long bed Ford pickup truck, but Dave had other plans for it. He transformed the truck into a massive vehicle constructed with a steel frame, some well-placed lights, four nearly 500-pound tires (with rims on), a corrugated metal roof painted like the Texas flag, and a much-needed ladder on the back.
“My dogs… used the old cab as a doghouse [when I was building it],” Dave said, referring to his and his wife’s two pet timber wolves, Brew and Bear. His hearty laugh fills the room. “Isn’t that cool?”
A makeshift metal barrel bar installed into a rear corner of the giant rectangular vehicle has cutouts for alcohol bottles. Next to them is a red Solo cup dispenser, which Dave has also installed into the side of his custom-built, seven-foot frost top in-home bar.
Similarly to the Canyonero, the Mach 5 was built from an existing vehicle — a 1980 Chevrolet Corvette, the same model from the original cartoon. Dave spent two years remodeling the car, which he bought for $1,000.
Even though the interior was torn up and destroyed — down to the wiring — Dave said one of his friends tried to pay him back the $1,000 for it just so he wouldn’t “cut the car up.” Unswayed, Dave continued his pursuit of a childhood dream.
“I loved the cartoon when I was a kid,” Dave said. “My mom told me those were my first words: ‘Speed Racer.’”
Dave first sawed off the front of the car, a nerve-wracking experience, and shaped the three points on the front of the Mach 5 with Great Stuff expanding foam, which required seemingly endless amounts of sanding, reapplying, and smoothing, Dave said. He also used the substance on the vehicle’s rear to shape the rounded fin supports.
Dave bought the marine fiberglass used on boats for his beloved car — much stronger than car fiberglass — and covered it with Bondo body filler.
“Bondo after Bondo after Bondo after Bondo,” Dave said. “A lot of Bondo… sand and smooth it, sand and smooth it. There’s just dust everywhere. I had to buy a new air compressor.”
He cut the bottom off a nitrogen bottle to make the steering wheel, which has six buttons and lights up like the cartoon’s car, and added saw blades to the front of the car for authenticity. Two stuffed animals also occupy the hand-cut trunk, representing Speed’s little brother and his pet chimpanzee.
The Mach 5 accompanies Dave to Comic Cons, red carpet events and sometimes just around Plano. It’s his pride and joy. The Canyonero is his trusty companion for hunting trips or just for joy rides through the grassy field near his home.
“Life just comes easily to me,” Dave said. “I don’t know why it’s so hard for everybody else.”
Meet Dave and check out his custom Mach 5 and the Canyonero at Slingfest in Oak Point Park on Sunday, Oct. 30. Tickets available at SlingFest.com.