Every once in awhile, you feel the urge to leave your armchair and cruise around the neighborhood. Unless you’re Daniel Helton and his father-in-law, David Ferguson, who did want to cruise around the neighborhood but did not want to leave their armchairs. So they didn’t. They added wheels and a motor and the Armchair Cruiser was born.
That was three years ago. Today Helton and Ferguson have a fleet of handcrafted motorized chairs, gas or electric, starting at $2,900. Their latest creation is the Rumble Bee, a sleek sofa in yellow leather accented with black — thus the name. It features a stereo sound system and, like most models, comes with a matching ottoman.
The Armchair Cruiser is designed for gated communities, campgrounds — anyplace a couch potato might decide to get a little fresh air without getting up. Though the gas-powered model reaches 40 mph, these vehicles are built for comfort, not speed, says Helton. “If you’re in a hurry, buy a Ferrari.” Although the Web site, Armchaircruiser.com, does suggest a means of evading police detection: hold a newspaper in front of your face.
It sounds like a joke but Helton and Ferguson are quite serious. How serious? Helton taught himself to sew. “Am I grateful I took the time to learn?” he asks rhetorically. “Yes. Because now I know how to teach other people to do it for me.”
The Armchair Cruiser was an immediate hit. Helton and Ferguson found their first buyer on their debut test drive around the block: a 94-year-old man who took a look, flagged them down and a few minutes later was a proud owner.
The duo have learned a lot from their business, such as managing family time — a must for any armchair enthusiast. They are now planning a hybrid Armchair Cruiser. But not too much time. True to their roots, they declare themselves the hardest-working lazy guys on the planet.