Dealer Doings: Schaumburg Toyota

A Hip Transformation
by Dan Nied
Jan/Feb 2015
Dealer Doings: Schaumburg Toyota
Ease On In – It may only be half a car (or less) but the repurposed 1995 Corolla wagon turned out to be exactly what hip-replacement patients at Northwestern Memorial Hospital needed for therapy.
The request may have been one of a kind, but it was certainly intriguing to Lee Wulbert.
When he heard Northwestern Memorial Hospital, one of the largest medical facilities in Chicago, asked Phillip and Nancy Resnick for a car to help post-surgical hip-replacement patients learn how to enter and exit vehicles properly, Wulbert let his mind wander.

Magic Man – --   Schaumburg Toyota mechanic Ty Travers (above) played a key role in the repurposing, as did Collision Director Tom Hoch.

And when the Resnicks, of the Restnick Automotive Group, asked him to figure out how to make the car a reality, he put his ideas into motion.

As the vice president of operations, Wulbert had a workable vision, even with a few mitigating factors.

“We went downtown to the hospital so we could see what their needs were,” Wulbert says. “They had a small room with a fake shower, a bed and all the things you have to learn to relearn when you get your hip replaced. The first thing I said was, ‘How did you think you were going to have a car in here? It’s on
the 14th floor.’ ”

But those obstacles didn’t stop the vision.

Wulbert turned to the team at Schaumburg Toyota – part of the Resnick Automotive Group – and got to work. After measuring the hospital room, doors, hallways and elevator, Wulbert and Schaumburg Toyota body technician Ty Travers picked out a 1995 Corolla wagon with 269,000 miles on it, and started carving and gutting.

They didn’t need the back seat. So they took that out. They couldn’t have tires, so they took those off and created a stand for the car.

“Ty could see my vision,” Wulbert says. “We basically pulled the engine out; took the interior out. We left the firewall on and cut everything else away. All the edges had to be rounded and protected. We had to clean up the interior. The interior had to be vinyl so the hospital could disinfect it after each patient. So we sent it to an upholstery shop.”

Add a removable roof to fit the contraption in the door and a few coats of paint, and the end result – delivered to the hospital in October after about three months of work – is more of a Corolla pod than a car.

Still, it’s exactly what the hospital needed.
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