I want to share a more complete and accurate story leading up to the building of our Chariot. I know my experience will resonate with many here. Some excerpts of this are included in our earlier videos:

One only remembers the most impressionable and significant events of their youth. September 15th, 1965 was one of those events. Lying on the living room floor, hands propping up my chin, wide eyed and fixated on the TV.

‘Lost in Space’ was the greatest thing I had ever seen. Every 12 1/2 minutes, I would turn to my dad and ask ‘is that it dad, is it over?’ By the third asking he just cut me off and said ‘eat your TV dinner’.

What an adventure and what six year old didn’t want to be Will Robinson, the coolest kid in the galaxy. Shooting monsters with laser rifles and saving the day. I was hopelessly obsessed.

Fast forward 30 years and raising a family, I always kept tabs on my favorite show. In the 90’s, I stole a few hours away from my kids, attended a Lost in Space reunion in Boston and had a Polaroid picture taken with the B9 robot looking thoroughly exhausted. The robot hadn’t changed a bit!

I always hoped to see the Chariot at a Sci-fi event or car show. It was an amazing vehicle and like other Lost in Space fans, I had tracked the original back on and off the ski mountain to a dead end. I reached out attempting to inquire about the original Chariot and offer assistance with restoration. Online photos of the Chariot frame after its re-use on the Mountain were heartbreaking and so many different forums asked about the Chariot’s status and whereabouts. The one common sentiment was that it was one of the greatest Sci-Fi vehicles of all time.

Knowing that the Snowcat was built around a Ford 6 Cylinder engine with intentionally easy to replace stock components, I thought ‘that would be a straight forward restoration’.

We had just celebrated the New Year, 2015 and it was a quiet winter’s eve and all had gone home. Leaning against the window overlooking my shop, I was thinking about the challenges of a new year and how time passes so quickly. This year would be the 50th anniversary of the Lost in Space premiere and my mind drifted back to that moment on the living room floor, with my father. It was a moment of pure innocence that gave a child so much happiness and optimism. Anything was possible. A smile came across my face and I shook my head in affirmation that it was a really good time. I wonder if Irwin Allen ever fully realized the impact and message the show provided for so many fans. I’d like to think so. I was a bit saddened to think that since there was no word on the original Chariot, it probably wouldn’t be available for any celebration in September, for the fans, the cast and as a tribute to one of the greatest Sci-Fi adventures.

As my eyes scanned the shop, I could see the places where my crew and I had worked on our cars, motorcycles, boats, basically anything with a motor. Again a smile came to my face and I said to myself ‘I bet we could’ve built the Chariot back then, we’ve got the talent, the equipment, space’.

Then I thought to myself, ‘why not?’ I bolted to my office and immediately searched for a 1965 Thiokol Snowcat Spryte. As if meant to be, one, and only one came up. It was at that moment that I decided to give it a go. We had all waited so long for something tangible. It would be an amazing build for us and I knew so many fans of the show would appreciate it.

I called the next morning. It was available. I brought my team in to show them my intentions and they were in. They wanted to build this amazing vehicle. For the next three weeks while I waited for the Snowcat to take the 2600 mile journey to our shop, I became a student of the Chariot, researching as much technical info as possible and reaching out to Bill Hedges, Chris Pappas and others for additional support.

In Late February 2015, our Snowcat arrived at our facility in Lynn, MA. and the work began. It’s now been 6 months since its arrival and after numerous scraped knuckles and with the help and encouragement of an amazing group of friends, our Chariot is complete. We will continue to refine the details and work to get the Chariot around the country.

It’s our intentions for all fans to experience the Chariot up close and relive those great memories. Thanks to all our friends on Facebook whose kind words are our inspiration.

Our website will be updated soon to include a schedule of events and I will notify immediately with news, new videos and info about our Chariot.

As usual…to be continued.

John Antonellis, August, 2015

www.http://chariot.elevatorid.com

Chariot Inspiration

8 thoughts on “Chariot Inspiration

  • August 24, 2015 at 11:15 pm
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    Hi just an incredible piece of work guys! The fans will drop there jaws when they see this Chariot in all its glory! I will surely promote your Chariot on our website. Please keep me posted here! Any early stage photos of this prop being built I would truly appreciate here!!! Thanks in advance!!!

    Robert – “Uncle Odie”

    Reply
    • August 24, 2015 at 11:35 pm
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      Hi Robert! Thanks for the great comments. I will get information and pics to you tomorrow and would love to be a part your site.

      Thanks again.

      John

      Reply
  • August 26, 2015 at 8:25 am
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    John,
    You perfectly described how I felt when I watched the show as a kid. We were probably both at the same reunion show in the 90s posing with the robot and I did the same research on the Chariot and used Snow Cats. Thanks for bringing our dream to reality. Looking forward to the future shows. Hopefully you’ll get the entire cast to see it!

    Reply
    • August 26, 2015 at 11:55 am
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      I agree Mike. That would the ultimate experience and the best any fan could hope for. To have all together for one great celebration with the Chariot and the Robot.

      Reply
  • August 27, 2015 at 11:03 am
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    My fantasy would be to see Mark Goddard at the controls and the rest of the surviving cast all in the Chariot just doing a short drive around a parking lot if that’s all there is. I think fans would be 20 deep trying to see and get pictures. And, I think the cast would do it if logistics allowed.
    I too remember sitting on my living room floor watching the premiere of the show.

    Reply
    • August 27, 2015 at 1:12 pm
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      Hi Dana! That is our dream and wouldn’t if be the perfect combination of events.

      Just having the cast there would be huge for the fans. It would be like, well, like they had finally come home.

      Reply
  • August 27, 2015 at 2:07 pm
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    I was fortunate that in 2001, with an internet LIS group I belong to, we went to a Con in Cleveland, where we met the entire cast (except Guy of course). Bob May and the Green Lady were also there. A restaurant across the street was rented and a good number of us, as well as all the cast members, had dinner together. We had an extra room rented in the hotel for “relaxing” and Mark Goddard joined us and spent a couple of hours playing bartender and telling us stories (some just a little bit naughty) about LIS.

    It was pure magic, the kind that will never be forgotten!!!

    Reply
  • January 16, 2016 at 8:49 pm
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    Fantastic job! I hope someday someone will build replicas of the Jupiter 2 and Space Pod. I think the Space Pod would be a fairly easy project with the right talent. I for one would love to contribute. I am an working Avionics Technician. Keep the dream alive . Hope to see you and the Chariot soon!

    Reply

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