When the grandparents arrived with an old Peg Perego John Deer Gator, the kids were ecstatic. The gator was over ten years old, found at a garage sale for about thirty dollars. After some searching around the net, I found a site that provides replacement parts for nearly every model of gator ever made (including ours). But when Maherly saw this Batmobile-themed Cozy Coupe on Pinterest, the Bat-Gator idea was born.
The gator was in rough shape. These things are actually built to take a beating, and this one had been put through its paces. Vinyl lettering had been applied (and now partially worn off), the frame was roughly sanded (presumably for a paint job that never came), and there was dirt and gravel in every nook and cranny. The two batteries that came with the gator wouldn’t hold a charge for more than ten minutes. And the gearboxes were stripped; when there was juice in the battery, the car would slip out of gear, only managing to stutter forward.
Dissembling the Gator
With a little work, a Philips and flat screwdriver, and a socket set, I was able to dissemble the entire gator, exposing every part. Once dissembled, I cleaned everything individually, getting each surface ready for paint. If you’re trying this at home, a word of warning: some of the body joints require a good bit of pressure to dislocate the plastic connections — but proceed with caution: break a tab/slot connection and you’re ordering another replacement part.
I covered nearly everything with black spray paint (I used about eight cans of Valspar flat black from Lowes). I didn’t have to sand many surfaces thanks to the condition the gator was in when we got it, but it still took several coats to cover well.
I used a Rust-oleum hammered silver spray paint to highlight the trim, and hammered black over most of the hood, bed, and body. Lastly, I used Rust-oleum John Deere Yellow spray paint over the seat and a few trim pieces.
To give an added dark-knight touch, I cut sections from 3M anti-slip tape and applied them to the front fenders, raised sections of the bed, and the recessed detail areas on the rear fenders.
Lastly, I bought a battery-powered Super Soaker squirt gun, dissembled and painted it to match the gator, and mounted it to the passenger-side fender. Because it’s a fixed-mount, I positioned it upside down to keep the battery access door exposed.
Unfortunately these aren’t designed to be used upside-down, so I had to trim the feed tubes inside each water clip. After taking apart the squirt gun, I’m pretty sure I could have rebuilt the gun’s engine and water supply into something mounted internally in the vehicle. But where’s the fun in that?