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Chuggin Along

Steamy Beach

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Chuk... and his homemade Steam Car.

Chuk Williams grew up on a farm and like other farm boys he learned the value of self sufficiency at a very early age. As Chuk (the way he has always spelled it) would put it, you learn quickly to work your way through problems and rely on your ingenuity.

On a farm, often you have have to be your own plumber, pipe fitter, welder, electrician, and all around everything. There, you rarely have the luxury or even the option of calling the repairman.Steam Car

Chuk parlayed his earlier experiences and interests to a variety of careers. He was a commercial pilot, a commercial diver, and he became involved in nuclear research. He has owned and operated several businesses over the years both in the US and in Australia.

Now that he is retired, Chuk has returned to what he likes to do more than anything... play guitar and tinker in his shop. And by the way, one look at his shop and you can tell that his tinkering can get quite serious.

For example, not everyone can take a Ford Model T chassis, a steering box from a Nissan, an authentic steam engine, a steam whistle, and various parts off of Ebay, cobble a custom designed boiler, and then bolt and weld it it all together and end up with a fully functioning steam powered car.

Chuk's interest in steam and music hasn't yet evolved into creating a steam Calliope, but he has managed to combine those interests none the less.

During the season, many of you who have been to the downtown Venice "strolls" have seen Chuk's car before.

Once a month on a Thursday afternoon, various musicians position themselves on street corners downtown, and others are towed around on a trailer. The power to pull that trailer comes courtesy of the steam car. Since the car runs on steam, it uses a lot of water, and every so often they need to make a prearranged stop to a spigot to "top it off". The musicians, a jovial bunch, barely notice as they move from song to song.

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