Car beats heat with personal parasol
Michael Stanley used a patio umbrella connected to his SmartCar's trailer hitch to shade the vehicle.
Like most of us, Michael Staley didn’t much care for getting into his hot car after it baked for hours in a shade-less parking lot.
Unlike most of us, he created his own shade.
While much of the nation broiled under a humid heat dome, the industrial designer fabricated a bracket that attaches a patio umbrella to a trailer hitch on his little Smart car.
The result was his very own portable covered parking space.
Thursday was the first day he raised his shade in the parking lot of Insight Innovation Group, an office of Insight Design/Display at 3401 E. Truman Road, where he designs retail displays and fixtures.
Staley bought the red patio umbrella last year on eBay, but it wasn’t until this summer — motivated by burning his fingers on his car’s steering wheel after work — that he started tinkering with parts he had in his workshop.
The collapsed system fits in his car, as long as he doesn’t have a passenger.
“No, I don’t drive with it up,” he said, answering what was a common question from co-workers and others.
His car already had a trailer hitch, used to tow a mini-camper he built last summer. He said it “includes all the comforts of home, including ducted-in air conditioning.”
As for the parking lot umbrella, “it’s getting lots of reaction,” Staley said. “But nobody’s asked me to make one for them yet.”
If they do, it’s too bad that “Carbrella” is taken as a trademark for a different product. It would be perfect.