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The Story of 'Lil Chino

The Story of 'Lil Chino

Today, we've got something a little different and very special for you. Instead of our regularly-scheduled nerd-talk about wiring, voltage, and tires, we have a heart-warming story from a lovely customer of ours who built a carriage-inspired golf cart to pay homage to his father, who custom-built the horseless carriage seen below, back in 1925.

Keep reading for the inspirational story as told by Bill Connolly Sr... 

Lil' Chino Wooden Wagon Golf Cart

My father, Edward T. Connolly (Chino), built this horseless carriage for my mother, Anna Mae, many years ago, before I was born. In this picture are my grandparents and my uncle taking it for a ride. My father passed away when I was only 7 years old.  

My wife and I live in Fun-N-Sun RV Resort, a 55+ community in San Benito, Texas. Everyone drives a golf cart to all the activities in the resort.  In fact, many residents own two carts.  I have been refurbishing and customizing golf carts for the past 10+ years as a hobby.  Four months ago, in June of 2022, I got an idea.

In a tribute to my parents, I would build a custom golf cart similar to the actual horseless carriage that my father built for my mother. After my wife and I enjoy our precious time with ‘Lil Chino, it will be passed down to my children, their children, etc.  

I used a standard golf cart chassis with the actual motor, axles, wheel hubs, etc. This project would not have been possible without the individual talents, skills, and resources of some of my dear friends. 

The project began with a 2002 48-Volt Club Car DS.

2002 Club Car DS Electric 48 volt

 The cart was stripped down to the aluminum chassis.

Club Car DS Stripped down

Four generations of Connolly men working on this project!  Myself, my son Billy Jr., my grandson Michael, and my great-grandson Landon.

How to build a custom golf cart with family

Added heavy-duty rear leaf springs, a 6-inch lift kit, all new electrical wiring, new batteries, custom steering wheel, custom dash, 6 and 7-inch aluminum wheel extensions on the rear and front, and inserted an 8-inch extension to the front chassis.

Custom Golf Cart BuildHow to build a custom golf cart

Designed and built a cardboard pattern for the body. 
Cardboard Template for custom golf cart bodyCustom Golf Cart Body fabrication
Replaced the cardboard pattern with ¼ inch plywood. Next, a coat of weatherproof sealant and fiberglass was added over the plywood.

Custom Golf Cart Body - plywood frame Custom Golf Cart Body - Plywood Frame

An Amish craftsman custom-built these 34-inch, spoked wagon wheels. 

Custom Wooden Spoked Wagon Wheels for golf Cart

The body is primed and ready for paint, clear coat, and pinstriping. After the paint, it was time to install the lights, wheels, and custom upholstery. 

Lil Chino Wagon Golf Cart primed for custom paint job

Ta-da!  Here I am with… ‘Lil Chino!

Lil Chino Custom Wooden Wagon Golf Cart

Custom Golf Cart Build Final Product

Lil Chino Golf Cart Story

Golf Cart Custom Build - Lil Chino

Custom Golf Cart Seat Upholstery

Lil Chino Horseless Carriage

We would like to sincerely thank Bill for sharing his journey with us and for allowing us to share this beautiful story and his breathtaking craftsmanship with all of you.

In addition to this passion project, Bill customizes Golf Carts for the lovely folks in and around San Benito, Texas, and creates lovely wood-crafted art pieces. You can see more about 'Lil Chino and everything else Bill does by visiting his website here.


Let your inspiration guide you!

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Golf Cart Stuff Helpful Blog Content Writing What would you get if you crossed a scientist and a golf cart? It would be our Senior Content Writer, Amber Ripley! If you have a question, she knows how to research to bring you the information you need. Before joining the ranks at Golf Cart Stuff™, Amber was in sales and marketing for industrial tool and die products, so digging into all the nitty gritty, technical details about Golf Carts is par for the courseIn the words of a famous songwriter: “If you got a problem, Yo! She’ll solve it!”
Email: sales@golfcartstuff.com
Phone: 574-333-2494
Text: 574-612-5195
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