Friday, December 16, 2005

Ed's Sparrow

Since the Sparrow was so long out of commission sitting in Ed's garage all summer, he decided to loan me his bird shortly after Thanksgiving. This gave me a chance to see what his Zilla controller was like. The Zilla is air-cooled and quieter than what I was used to. It's also a good bit more powerful, overkill really and I did not try to put it through its paces at high speeds. I was already nervous driving someone else's vehicle, but I could feel its power just on acceleration. The Zilla was Ed's upgrade. His original controller was a DCP.

The first Sparrows were smaller, what are referred to as the Jelly Bean model and have a window in the back. There's a platform behind the seat and a pocket for the cord. One Sparrow owner could fit her dog in that space, but it had to have been no bigger than a terrier. Ed added brackets to suspend a briefcase above the platform. He also installed a four-point harness, which means that if you put anything on the back platform it will hang up the harness. His door didn't open from the inside, anymore, due to the warping of the fiberglass parts. I think the tight shape of the Jelly Bean allowed less leeway for the door fitting. To get out you have to roll the window down. Then one night I couldn't get the door open from the outside and had to climb through the little hatch in the rear to reach for the door handle. Ed told me the trick later, which is to press on the door as I was opening it.

In a way it was more frustrating to have his Sparrow than not to have mine back, particularly because I couldn't fit much more than my lunch, but I did get to drive emission free for a number of my trips.

Ed's Sparrow does have some sophisticated battery reading instruments in it. He has a meter on the dash with a graphic reading of each battery as it uses up its charge. This was his own modification along with the box we all got installed that allows you to test each battery without actually having to touch them.

Interestingly enough, his bird didn't get nearly the reaction from people as my yellow friend does, though they were still intrigued and the "powered by American electrons" bumper stickers delivered more of a message. The Jelly Bean model looks like a more serious car, while mine just looks plain ridiculous - an oversize kids toy, a giant banana, a clown car. Domino's Pizza is responsible for the shape of my car. They asked Corbin to make them a model they could use for delivering pizzas, thus the pizza butt was born and I am forever grateful for that relatively voluminous trunk space. I also missed the clown car aspect of driving around my yella friend. I'm just a clown at heart, I guess.


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