DIY Garage Sale Bat-Gator

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.

Mick and Rose, Peg Perego Gator
Mick and Rose on the Gator, pre-transformation

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

The Gator Dissembled
The Gator dissembled, cleaned, and ready for paint.

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.

Paint

Paint applied to each part of the Gator.
Each part repainted.

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.

Finishing

Finishing details applied to the Bat-Gator
Non-skid tread tape from 3M, cut and applied to the fender and bed.

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?

The Finished Product

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