BARSTOW - Wesley Messick remembers having a little red Radio Flyer wagon as a kid. He remembers riding around in it like it was a car, and he remembers two main problems.

"You had to find someone to push you, and it didn't stop," he said. "So I got a small block Chevy in it, and I got brakes."

The small block and brakes are two crucial components to Messick's Radical Flyer, a Radio Flyer on steroids - or more appropriately - on a 1983 half-ton truck chassis. Messick, who used to live in Barstow where he made a name for himself drag racing motorcycles and building similar monster machines with former Barstow resident Rodney Rucker, said his wife encouraged him to build something that whole family could take out and enjoy. So he and his son, Ben, built the eight-seater, flame thrower equipped Radical Flyer in about 15 months.

"It started with two pieces of metal on the floor for the frame," Ben said.

The wagon runs a quarter mile in 18.73 seconds at a top speed of 71 miles per hour, Ben said. Wesley thinks the beast gets pretty good gas mileage but has not calculated it yet.

The two have taken the wagon, finished on St. Patricks day this year, to a few parades and car shows around Fort Collins, Colo., where they live, and have used the wagon to benefit The Children's Hospital in Denver, which uses the more consumer-friendly Radio Flyer version to pull kids to surgery.

On Saturday night, the Messicks parked the wagon in front of Foster Freeze to let Barstow have a peek. Wesley said Ben wanted to bring the wagon to Barstow to show it off to his friends. Ben said few have been disappointed with his handiwork.

Taylor, 7, and Madison, 4, Morrow came out on Saturday to look at the wagon. Taylor said he has a little red wagon at home, and his dad sometimes pushes him and his sister around in it.

"But I don't have one this big," he said, looking up at the Radical Flyer.

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