ROCHELLE – One local man who purchased his dream car just two years ago, is now restoring a scaled down replica pedal car as close to his full-size version as possible.
Xavier Valdivieso, a Rochelle resident and owner of an original 1968 Mustang convertible, was flipping a house when the previous owner of the property mentioned an old pedal car was left in the attic. Once Valdivieso asked what kind of car it was and heard it was a Mustang, he said that he had to have it.
“We were inspecting a house in Ashton and the previous owner had found the car in the attic above the garage,” said Valdivieso. “I asked what kind of car it was, and once he said it was a Mustang, I said that I wanted it.”
The previous owner had no connection to the car, so he sold it to Valdivieso. Valdivieso said the type of pedal car that he acquired was fairly rare.
When Valdivieso acquired the car, it had been sitting for a long period of time, so it had become very dirty and rusty. He sandblasted it, cleaned it up and began searching around for someone who knew how to paint a pedal car like his.
After some time of calling around, he found a person at Kunes Country Chrysler dealership in Sterling, who was experienced in painting pedal cars.
“They treated this just like a real car,” said Valdivieso. “He put a primer coat on it, body filler to take the little dents out, then another primer coat. He then sanded it, put a third primer coat on it, applied the Acapulco Blue paint and topped it off with three coats of finish.”
According to the painter, normally a regular car only gets two coats of finish, but he put a third coat on the car for extra protection.
The pedal car is a replica of a 1965 Mustang, while Valdivieso has a 1968 Mustang, his goal is to make the peddle car look as close to his car as possible. To do this, Valdivieso searched online for wheels, rims and hubcaps to match the specific model and year of his car.
The detail put into matching the two cars is very precise, from wrapping the steering wheel with identical materials, to copying the exact decals.
“I want to match it to the 68 that I have, so Russ Barber from Printing Etc. made all of the decals,” said Valdivieso. “These are the exact decals my car has, and we even scanned my license plate to put onto the car.”
Valdivieso purchased the car and began his restoration project on Aug. 13, 2019 and hopes to have it all finished within the next two weeks. This is the second pedal car that he has worked on, the first one being a fire truck.
One of the main reasons behind completing this project is because he has grandchildren on the way, but he also looks forward to bringing it to his first ever car show.
“We will be taking it out when we do some shows with the other car,” said Valdivieso. “I have never been to a car show, but when I do, I will bring this along and it might even be more popular than my real car.”