These “dwarf” cars descend from 9 refrigerators and a lot of elbow grease
The idea of recycling parts and materials to build more cars is as old as the automobile itself. Many of the first horseless carriages were essentially repurposed handcarts powered by engines plucked from industrial applications. So when we heard about an Arizona man who builds cars out of refrigerators, we didn’t think it was impossible; but we certainly didn’t think the finished products would look this good.
Ernie Adams has had a lot of practice, though—a museum’s worth. From a humble garage in Maricopa, Arizona, Adams has steadily been creating and producing “dwarf” cars that, without a nearby reference point to break the illusion, could easily pass for a full-scale car.
The first car Adams built, back in 1965, was a quasi-replica of a 1928 Chevrolet sedan. Powered by an Onan two-cylinder, it probably even sounds the part of a full-size prewar car. The three-speed manual transmission certainly ups its authenticity.
The Chevy might be Adams’ first car, but his most popular is a Mercury lead sled that he completed around 2009. It is known as Rebel Rouser and sports all the period-correct ’50s custom touches that make these builds so cool. The small hood hides a 1.3-liter four-cylinder sourced from a Toyota; Adams claims a 100-mph top speed, a figure that doesn’t seem out of reach considering the aerodynamics and power at hand.
Adams has been building these dwarf cars for over 50 years now and has never sold a single one. Each creation has its own space in his small museum. We aren’t sure if the showroom is at capacity, but Adams says that the 1904 Oldsmobile pie wagon he is currently building will be his last. Either way, his custom creations prove that size doesn’t matter when it comes to custom cars.