The Next Chapter For The Snoopy Funmobile!

We have had some truly incredible stories grace the pages of this site, but none have been quite as amazing as the story of Sid C’s Snoopy Car. Sid is a good friend of ours here in Boise and you might recall that he invited us to come to see his garage a few years back. While his cars were impressive, it was his bright yellow Snoopy Car that stole the show. Well, he recently sent over the full story and it is even more amazing than the car. Here is the story in his own words!

Around the year 2000, I traveled from Boise to visit my sister and brother in law in Rupert, Idaho. While we were walking around their backyard I saw what looked like a miniature Meyers Manx dune buggy sitting behind a shed. My brother in law said it belonged to his son in law, David, who had owned it for a long time. He said David intended to restore it so his children could enjoy it as he had many years earlier. My brother in law went on to say that it originally belonged to Charles Schulz, the famous creator of the cartoon strip Peanuts. It looked like an interesting project to undertake with my son, Robbie, but I never thought much more about it.

One evening a few years later, I was watching a PBS documentary on the life of Charles Schulz. The story showed his estate near Santa Rosa, California. It reminded me of Frontier land at Disneyland with children playing, canoes, a pond and every type of entertainment a young boy could imagine. I immediately thought of the Snoopy car and wondered if I would see it during the program. It never did show up but that set my plan in motion. I contacted David the next day and asked if the Snoopy car might be for sale. I was disappointed to hear that he still planned on restoring it for his kids someday. I later learned that as a young boy David had worked all summer to earn enough money to buy the Snoopy car from his uncle in California who had earlier bought it from their neighbors the Schulz family in California.

Several years went by and one day in the summer of 2007 I thought about the fact that his children were almost grown so I tried again. David said he would like to save it for his grandchildren to enjoy one day. I thought it was another dead end but then he told me his asking price. I guess he thought the price was quite high but I immediately took him up on his offer and the deal was done. The next weekend I picked up the Snoopy car and brought it back to Boise.

As I said earlier my intention was for the restoration to be a project for my son. Robbie was 19 years old in 2007 but unlike most 19-year-old young men, Robbie’s life was quite different. Robbie was adopted by my wife and I when he was a newborn infant. Shortly after that Robbie was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and his life would never be normal. At 19 years old Robbie was living with severely debilitating Autism. In addition to the significant developmental delay, Robbie had a very short attention span. To take on a major restoration project was going to be a major challenge for both of us.

Shortly after getting the Snoopy car back to Boise I started searching the internet for anything I could learn about the Schulz family and the Snoopy car. I happened to find a running Snoopy car for sale on eBay. The listing even included a video so I could see what it was supposed to look like going down the sidewalk. I learned about the Charles Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California. I sent an email and gave a brief recap about what I had. I mentioned I was looking for information and photos so I could complete an authentic restoration. Within minutes I received a reply from Craig Schulz, a son of Charles Schulz. This initial contact turned into a correspondence that has continued on for the past ten years as the Snoopy car was researched and restored.

I learned that George Carter was the original inventor and designer of the Snoopy Fun Mobile or as we now called it, our Snoopy car. He later sold the plans and rights to the Coot Company. George provided a wealth of information and some photos that were very beneficial. With his help, I was able to contact and correspond with other Snoopy car owners. I learned that the design and features continually changed as the manufacturing process was improved and production moved forward.

With enough information in hand, Robbie started taking the Snoopy car apart one bolt, one nut at a time. I didn’t realize how interested he was in the project until one very cold winter day I found him on the side of the garage working away at his dismantling project. Once everything was apart it was time to refurbish and replace parts. Chrome plating, locating NOS parts, bodywork, painting, wiring all needed to be done. Decals were sourced from a specialist in Pennsylvania who reproduced them perfectly.

Then Robbie commenced putting it all back together with Dad’s help. Final assembly wrapped up in the fall of 2014 seven years later. Why so long you might wonder? Robbie achieved what many would consider impossible. Robbie with his attention deficit took everything apart and then reassembled it 15 seconds at a time. That was the most he could concentrate on the job at hand before a fly crossed his line of vision, a sound from outside, a phone ringing or the furnace coming on would cause him to lose his attention, stop what he was doing and focus on something else. I also achieved the impossible. As anyone in my family will tell you I am not a patient man. The impossible achievement for me was having the patience to direct Robbie back on task and finish tightening a nut. The progress was incredibly slow but with enough time I learned anything can be accomplished.

In the spring of 2015, we entered the Snoopy car in the Boise Roadster Show. While coming up with a theme, my wife recalled that there was a large stuffed Snoopy animal in the attic that she had received as a gift in about 1969. That was all we needed to put together a winning display. The Snoopy car won first place in the small vehicle class which included peddle cars, go-karts, ATVs and anything smaller than a full-sized automobile. Robbie was thrilled to see his Snoopy car on display for about 15 seconds before becoming totally distracted as he searched the buildings for an example of his favorite car, a blue Mustang.

After the car show, the Snoopy car went on one field outing that lasted about two hours at Robbie’s current home. This facility houses, treats and provides therapy for severely developmentally delayed adults. Their goal is to eventually integrate them back into the community and live in a residential group home setting with other similar clients along with their care providers. Robbie has transitioned two times but so far has not been successful in this situation. Anyway, we spent the day enjoying the Snoopy car as it was intended.

Then it was back to a corner in the shop where it was always a subject of interest to visitors. In early 2018 I was contacted by Craig Schulz who asked if the Snoopy car might be for sale. Craig told about how the 2017 California wildfires had destroyed his home, his mother’s home and many irreplaceable family treasures. Craig went on to say that he would like to place the Snoopy car in the Charles Schulz Museum along with restoration photos of Robbie. In our opinion, there was no doubt this is where the Snoopy Funmobile belonged.

The final obstacle was asking Robbie what to do. At first, Robbie objected so I asked him if there was something else he would like to get with the money that might be more fun to enjoy. Immediately Robbie shouted “A Blue Mustang”!! Well, the deal was done and the Snoopy Funmobile was headed back home to California. Concurrently we found a Blue 1966 Mustang convertible only a mile away that met all Robbie’s requirements. It is in the garage waiting for an outing and a little wrenching by Robbie and Dad.

If you ever watched the 1988 movie “Rain Man” with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise you have some idea of what I experienced at Robbie’s side. One minute frustration, one-minute impatience, one minute anger followed up by full-blown guilt for my lack of patience and understanding, but in the end… success. If you know Robbie, you know the monumental task he accomplished during the dismantling and reassembly of the Snoopy car. One or two home visits every few weeks, one or two hours during those visits working on the Snoopy car…. fifteen seconds at a time with constant distraction and interruption…..for SEVEN YEARS.

I want to personally thank Sid and Robbie for sharing their story with us! If this doesn’t inspire you to get out to wrench on your project(s), well I just don’t know what will. Robbie’s success, with Sid’s help, is truly amazing and having seen the car in person, I can attest to the quality of the restoration! While it’s a bit sad that it’s no longer with Sid’s family, it’s good to know that it is in a good home with the Schulz family.

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Comments

  1. Evan

    Which one of you is chopping onions in here??

    Like 26
  2. edh

    Best thing I have read on this site.

    Great job!

    Like 16
  3. Pat L Member

    That was a very heart warming story Sid. I’m so glad that it had such a happy ending for everyone involved.

    Like 7
  4. VwbussEd

    What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing!

    Like 7
  5. Michael Yentzen

    What a great story! Thanks for sharing!

    Like 7
  6. egads

    Inspirational !!! Thank you for this.

    Like 8
  7. Gerald

    It looks kinda like a miniature Shalako,,,

    Like 4
  8. Gaspumpchas

    Thanks for posting the story! I have an autistic grandson, Hi Functioning, thankfully, But I know know exactly what you are going thru and what its like . You are a good man.

    Cheers

    GPC

    Like 5
  9. Coventrycat

    Coolest story ever. Thanks for that.

    Like 3
  10. Kenneth Carney

    Great story! I too have a disability that forbids me from ever driving a
    car, but it never killed my love of all things automotive. Like this young
    man, i could only build the very thing I loved most. Robbie, I commend
    you for your fierce determination to see your project through from
    beginning to end. You sir, are an inspiration to anyone that ever picked
    up a wrench to breathe life into a machine that has sat idle for many
    years. If all of us were like you, I’m certain that there would be many
    more cars and trucks brought back from the dead. Keep that Mustang
    rolling! I salute you.

    Like 5
  11. joel zdanoff

    A truly moving story. I have learned patience and compassion while teaching my son, and he has taught me more. The longest journey begins with the smallest step. Well done Robbie!

    Like 2
  12. stillrunners Stillrunners Member

    How cool is that ! Funny my Aunt b….had three Aunt Bettys…bought me Snoopy models for years…still have them !

    Like 3
  13. Wrong Way

    OMW, what a amazing article, and story! I am so happy for Robbie!

    Like 3
  14. Comet

    you go Robbie!!!

    Like 3
  15. David meichelbock

    Awesome job guys Robbie you rock dude that was a great choice I hope you have a blast with the mustang maybe you guys will come to California and enter the car in the rute66 car show & Cruse it’s in San Bernardino Calif good luck on future projects

    Like 3
  16. half cab

    Here I am 6’4″ 230 lb n almost whelped up big tear’s. Great story and snoopy was the koolest beagle ever.

    Like 3
  17. Fiete T.

    Very cool!

    Like 3
  18. Steve

    It’s all about memories, great story, thank you.

    Like 3
    • David Lee

      You can’t help but be inspired when you get the opportunity too be in the presence of children with these disabilities.

      Like 1
  19. Bryce Banks

    Wow, what a great Dad. It was already inspiring, but the twist at the end where it ends up back with the Schulz family makes it even more so.
    Bravo!

    I have had a Snoopy Coot funmobile for several years. There is really no information on them online. Mine is missing parts and I could really use any information that he gathered. Is there any way I could contact him?

    Like 1
    • Sid Member

      Bryce
      contact Jesse at BF and he will put you in contact with me.
      Sid

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