The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ushered in a wave of positive changes for citizens with disabilities, including better access to public places via wider entrances and much needed wheelchair ramps. This took several important steps to ensure equal opportunity and full inclusions for people with special needs, but it didn't answer the question on everyone's mind: Yes, but does it make wheelchairs kick loads of ass? The answer was a resounding no. But that's okay, because it forced these five stories into existence. Stories of people taking matters into their own hands which, in this case, means turning their disabilities into an excuse to make the craziest, most tricked out and insanely badass mobility assistance vehicles around.
As his name suggests, Lance Greathouse is an incredible man. His goal, according to his website, is to "make cool wheelchairs," and the question that guides every one of his designs is a simple one: Why drive something that looks like a medical device when you can drive something that looks like a weapon from our inevitable war with the zombies? Now, we'd never even considered asking that question, but now it haunts our dreams because holy crap he's totally right!
Because Greathouse is a man of his crazy, crazy word, he designed something he's calling The Fire-breathing Electric Wheelchair, because that's exactly what it is.
The seat comes from a Marine rescue helicopter, and the vehicle is capable of running on just about any terrain, which is good, because you never want your total rampage to be stalled by sand or snow. With a top speed of 22 mph, it's not the fastest wheelchair on our list (not even close, actually) but it's certainly the most flamethrower-havingest.
In case it wasn't obvious, Greathouse got into flaming-death-wheelchair-inventing as a hobby after his previous job, designing fighting robots for the show Battlebots, came to an end. This is a man who literally can't not design violent, deadly machines and for that, he has earned our eternal respect.
It is said that ever since man first discovered independent thought, he would lay awake at night, staring at the stars thinking "But wouldn't life be better if everything was a tank?"
"How many epochs until World War One finally gets here?"
Fed up with a cold and tank-less world, and sick of the limitations of his standard wheelchair, Jim Starr decided to take matters into his own meaty, crazy hands. He wanted a new wheelchair, something that could traverse roads, snow, sand, and whatever else came across his path, so he and his friend put together a severely tricked out motorized wheelchair that can go as fast as 12 kilometers per hour. Jim swears that it's really just a customized wheelchair that allows him to spend more time outside with his wife and kids, but ... come on. Look at it. Look at him.
Unless you come from a family of desert gun turrets, there is no way you're using this chair to get closer to your wife and kids. If there's one thing about which Cracked.com is an expert, it's the concept of applying ridiculous cartoon logic to real life situations, so think of us as somewhat of an authority when we say this: That, Sir, is a freaking wheelchair tank. We're very impressed with your engineering, beardiness and general commitment to badassery, but please don't lie to us and pretend this is anything other than a $24,000 personal tank that you control with a joystick and fuel with, if we had to guess, the souls of all of the bears you've clearly murdered in your life.
Via TC Mobility
You can rent these things too, if you feel like spending a week with an all-terrain supervillain throne.
Jim, (or, let's be honest, someone who in all likelihood demands that people call him "Big Jim"), has actually run into some trouble with the law recently regarding his chair. Because it is wider than 85 centimeters (107 cm), it is technically considered a "tank" in the eyes of the law, (and also everyone), and as such can only be driven on private land. Big Jim says he's going to try to make some changes that make the chair more road-friendly, which we can only assume means lots and lots of guns.
"Is this better, officers?"
We know what you're thinking: "I love rolling around in my riding mower, but I hate how uncomfortable the seats are." Or, if you're not thinking that, you're probably thinking "Man, I love getting drunk in my favorite lounge chair, but I really wish I could drive around and shout things at people while doing it." Whatever your problem is, the answer is a lounge chair that sits on a riding mower engine. Also we've thrown in a radio, and some headlights, for night-driving. And a nitrous oxide boost system, for stupid night-driving. Also a drag racing steering wheel, and cup holders because ... because it's faster or better for the environment or something? Look, we don't need to explain ourselves, you don't care what we have to say. You've got a riding mower with a foot rest and turbo drive, we've already lost your attention.
At 62, Dennis LeRoy Anderson built the above chair, based, we assume, on a mixture of his fantasies and that sweet, sweet chair from Roundhouse. This "chair" can travel up to 24km/h and also has a parachute, because what the hell, right? He loved his chair very much and, unlike Big Jim, he was allowed to drive it wherever he wanted. Until, that is, he got drunk and drove it straight into a parked car on the way home from a bar in Minnesota. His excuse was that some "girl jumped on the chair," but that seems to be in conflict with the fact that he a) is 62-years-old and b) had a BAC of .29 at the time.
Via The Smoking Gun
Of course it was plastered with bumper stickers.
Anderson is currently living in Minnesota, serving out his probation on legs, like the rest of us chumps.
Via The Smoking Gun
Moments later, the most epic joyride in Minnesota police history.
If you can call that "living."