Look Ma, I Can Lift a Car!

By Deane Barker on June 7, 2004

Here is a pretty cool thing in Sioux Falls. The local arts and sciences center had a big platform and lever built. They stuck a car on the platform and a rope on the other end of the lever, which is about 40 feet long.

Kids visiting the center can pull on the rope and actually lift the car about a foot off the ground. There’s a little display next to it that explains the physics behind levers and how this has improved life through the ages.

I drive past this display to and from work (that’s my maroon Accord parked in the background behind the leaf), and you should see the line at the rope when there’s a field trip to the center — dozens of kids wait in line to do this, and the smiles on their faces when the car comes off the ground are pretty priceless.

Car on the lever at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls, SD

I want to give some recognition to the two companies that donated this: Bell Incorporated, who built the structure, and Billion Automotive, who is rotating a brand new Scion onto the platform once a week or so. It’s nice to see local companies step up to an educational project like this that kids get pretty excited about.



  1. I’ve always been curious as to what made them choose the Scion for this. I imagine it’s a lightweight vehicle that looks big?

    The whole Kirby Science Center is really cool in general, and well worth the entry fee. My son Ben was mesmerized by the simulated tornado, and bewildered when it disentigrated when he put his hand in it.

    They also have a young’n-sized table with water flowing over it they can play in, and (my favorite) giant lincoln logs made out of foam that you could make your own little house with. I found them online, and when the lottery rolls in, I’m getting 5 sets of these bad boys: http://www.kindertimber.com/

    We had a good time there last weekend.

  2. I’ve always been curious as to what made them choose the Scion for this.

    It’s a new brand and I’m sure they’re trying to get some exposure for it. I saw it and my first reaction (after, “What the…” of course), was, “What kid of car is that?”

  3. I’ll be in SF next month, will have to check it out. My uncle hs been buying Olds from Billion as long as I can remember… wonder what he’s buying now.

  4. The company referenced in your article that built the structure seems to be a food packaging :s is this correct or have you mistaken the actual name of the designers of this structure please let me know as im looking into doing something similar.

  5. That’s correct. I don’t know if they just had additional shop manpower or what, but they are a packaging company.

    If you want to talk to someone about it, I would start with the Washington Pavilion here in Sioux Falls. They would know details about how it was put together.

Comments are closed. If you have something you really want to say, tweet @gadgetopia.