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1928 Chevrolet Doodlebug

'28 Doodle Bug left side

“Doodlebugs” were home-built tractors based on cars and were popular in the late thirties and forties. DIY plans were even published by Popular Mechanics Press in 1939 and reprinted in 1941. This one was built using a ’28 Chevrolet truck and looks like a fun little thing to doodle about in. Find it here on craigslist out of here on craigslist in Mora, Minnesota for $6,000.

'28 Doodle Bug

The owner states the images were taken on 10-27-15 and that the “camera” date is incorrect.  The designer of the plans printed in Popular Mechanics Press claimed the “tractor” could be built for $60.  During World War II it was almost impossible to purchase a tractor and farmers needed a solution so with a wrench, hacksaw, some welding, a drill press and other bits someone could turn a car into a tractor.

'28 Doodle Bug engine

This unit, as per the owner, has a newly rebuilt motor, transmission, clutch and rearend.  There are no details on the hardware.  The plugs aren’t wired in this image.

'28 Doodle Bug front

The date on the image, once again, is not correct.  This is a clean looking machine which the owner says has a professionally built body and frame.

'28 Doodle Bug dash

The owner says that is minor finishing is needed to be done.  Which includes some of the wiring, (plugs for one), and running/or finishing the gas-line.

'28 Doodle Bug rear

If you are interested, the owner asks for a call.  Wouldn’t this be a nice ride for a “gentleman farmer” or even if you’re not?



  1. Avatar photo JW

    Never heard of these, pretty cool find.

    Like 0
  2. Avatar photo redwagon

    convert a car to a tractor? would there be enough torque to do plowing? or are we just talking about moving machinery and/or wagons? if the latter then ok i can see it. if the former i do not think doodlebugs worked really well – at least not with their original drivetrain.

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    • Avatar photo Mark E

      Remember in the 1930s you’re talking about a single or perhaps double plow only, and the tractor conversions I’ve seen pics of usually had way bigger wheels which would help…

      Like 1
    • Avatar photo john peters

      my 1925 chevy doodlebug actually has 2 transmissions. Imagine 1st gear going into another 1st gear. That’s stump pulling power until something breaks.

      Like 1
  3. Avatar photo Fred

    This era of car (based on the 1919 Chevy 490 I once owned) is ALL torque. Just about as much torque as my dad’s Allis Chalmer Model B, or his Ferguson TO20 (same as red belly Ford). You can pull stumps with all of them.

    Like 1
  4. Avatar photo Mark E

    Interesting that the seller did not do the seemingly minor amount of work left and have a running vehicle. The dust on it seems to indicate that it’s been assembled and sitting for some time also. I’d be interested to know the story behind this one.

    Oh and it’s MORA, Minnesota. Looking for Mona would lead you to a place…which does not exist!

    Like 0
  5. Avatar photo Robert Member

    Mark E,

    You are correct, we are sorry for this error and it will be corrected ASAP.



    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo MacVaugh

    That looks to be a worm drive rear axle. It has enough torque to handle small tasks, and certainly more torque that those sandblasted rear spoke wheels can withstand.

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  7. Avatar photo Robert Member

    Here’s another one, a ’28 with a BIN of $5K.

    Like 1
  8. Avatar photo Dennis M

    Doodle-bugs rarely had this level of fit and finish! when I was a kid the next farm down the road from my uncle’s place had a doodle-bug made from a cut-down Reo truck from sometime in the teens. That sucker could pull anything – most often I saw it pulling a hay rake, a baler and two or three hay wagons with no effort at all.

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Tundra/BMW Guy

    Wow! This thing speaks to two of my favorite hobbies, woodworking and mechanics!!!!!!! The quality of both, based on pictures, looks to be top notch. I don’t believe that this was built for “the farm”. My thought is that this is just a fun little run about. Now, where can it be “run about” is the big question. I cannot imagine this could be street legal??!?! I mean if the lights that are needed, were put on and seat belts installed…………………. nah, still couldn’t be legal, you think????!

    Like 0

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