|Doepke Railroad Toys
||About Doepke Toys
|Yardbird - Version1
|Yardbird - Version 2
|#2027 - Super Yardbird - 1956-59
|The toy industry was stunned in 1956 when the Doepke Super Yardbird was introduced. No first-line toy
manufacturer had ever dared undertake so ambitious a project. The magnificence, scale, engineering,
and most significantly, the cost of production, were beyond what any other toy company could even
imagine. The Super Yardbird was spectacular in every respect. The example shown here was restored
by me, following the "Warbonnet" paint scheme of the legendary Santa Fe Railroad, a personal favorite.
|The front end was styled after the famed F-7 diesel engines of the 1950's. The first of these were the
300 series. Young engineer, James, was thrilled to be operating such a powerful machine.
|I took a bit of poetic license when it came to adding
some extra bells and whistles to the original. The paper
gauges shown at right are not functional, but other
controls are. A sound module from model railroading
provides the special effects - albeit not really loud enough
to suit me. The speed control was made as simple as
possible for safety. There is no reverse gear even though
the original did have this feature.
|When I acquired the engine
it had no mechanicals left
under the hood. I therefore
invented my own using a
12-volt starter motor in
place of the original 6-volt
and a throttle from an
electric golf cart. The small
9-volt battery powers the
headlight and sound effects.
Originall Super Yardbirds
came in either an electric
version (6-volt battery
powered) or a gasoline
version using a variety of
lawn-mower brand engines.
Battery edurance was a big
|Power was transmitted through a v-belt from the horizontal pulley on the end of the vertical starter motor
to another horizontal pulley inside the rear truck. Here a worm-drive gear transferred the power to one of
the rear axles. At full throttle it moves quite rapidly. Pulling a load reduces the battery life considerably.