How to build a chariot

The chariot was one of the first vehicles introduced by humans. Chariot races grew into a time-honoured source of entertainment for many and a way to display one’s wealth. There are plenty of reasons to build your own chariot today.

Maybe you want to recreate your favourite scene from a gladiator movie or just cruise around your neighbourhood in style. Using common parts, you can build a chariot that will carry you anywhere.

You’ll need a cockpit (the place where the rider stands), wheels, a way to propel your chariot and a way to connect your chariot to your propulsion system. A team of horses can propel your chariot like in the ancient days, or you can have friends take the reins and pull you along.

You can build your cockpit from wood or use a pre-existing structure, like an old trash barrel. Consider whether you want a big, intimidating chariot or a sleek, fast one. Make up a rough blueprint so you have something to guide you as you build your vehicle.

Build the cockpit if you’ve decided to go that route. Select a thick piece of wood for the bottom and ring it on three sides with a waist-height guardrail. Be sure your base and guard are connected tightly. Bolt the pieces together and use brackets as well to ensure your chariot stays together under stress.

Bolt an axle to the bottom of your chariot and add the wheels. The wheels should be large; at least a foot in diameter. Spin the wheels a few times to make sure they move freely without coming loose. You’ll also want to add a stand that keeps the chariot upright when not in use. This could just be a thick beam that extends from your chariot at a 45-degree angle.

Take your chariot on a shakedown cruise. Attach some reins to whatever will be pulling your chariot along. Be sure that your chariot gives you a solid ride. The chariot should feel like a part of you, and you shouldn’t have to do a lot of work to stay inside and steer. Mobility is also key for a chariot. If you’re not getting the response you want, try attaching smaller wheels.