Chester the Fire-Breathing Horse


We’re just a day away from the launch of our 8th annual Maker Faire Bay Area and it’s always so exciting to see the exhibits take shape and the installations roll in. The best thing is that you never know what’s waiting for you around the next turn. It could be Chester the Fire-Breathing Horse Art Car, built by Jason Anderholm and Rebecca Anders solely for the purpose of being awesome.

The frame is from an Econoline truck, and it’s topped with a viewing platform and driver’s seat, 7 feet up. Chester’s stunning mane is made by Rebecca from recycled tires that have been welded and carved. Jason is an electrician by trade, and this is his first time creating an art car. Did we mention that Chester’s eyes light up read and he shoots fire out of the nostrils and sides?

Here’s a story about how Chester was born, as told by Jason:

The concept of Chester was first a dream sketched out on a napkin. Next thing I knew, he was in full on production at the Department of Spontaneous Combustion (DSC) in West Oakland, the heart of the industrial art scene in Northern California. His original intention was an art car for Burning Man. He continues to be a Burning Man mutant vehicle as well as reaching out and doing other events in Northern California.

I realized my art car dreams could come to life when I began working on the Temple of Flux at Burning Man 2010. The Temple crew consisted of highly skilled artists, engineers, and builders of many different fields of expertise. My volunteering for The Flux Foundation on the Temple was a life changing event that helped me to realize that my big dreams could come true. I sought the expertise of a few of the people I met through building the temple including Don Cain, Rebecca Anders, Aaron Dana, Aaron Scott, and a few others.

Starting our build in the April of 2011. The original vehicle was a perfectly running and registered Ford Econaline 250, at this point there is not much left but the frame. I had no Idea how much the art car would take over my life and how much money he would cost. I also had no idea at the time that Chester would bring so much happiness and joy to myself or others.

Chester is a living art project, that is constantly being improved upon. Every time something is done we become aware of future upgrades to be made. Nearly everything on the vehicle has been done and redone, except for his appearance which was made perfect from the beginning.

Today, Chester lives at the “UnStable” in American Steel Studios. He continues to travel to Burning Man, Fire & Steel Festival, Oakland First Friday, Mad Haters Parade, Sea of Flames, Maker Faire, and many other local events. Chester often travels with our featured acrobatic pole dancing performer Feather Pistol.

I had a chance to get on board Chester, and it was awesome! Jason even let me light the fires.
MAKE Senior Editor Goli Mohammadi rides Chester, a fire breathing horse made from used tires.

Come check out Chester in person (he’ll be in the West Lot), along with over 900 other maker-made exhibits at Maker Faire this weekend, May 18 and 19, at the San Mateo Fairgrounds. Don’t forget your camera.



Here’s another great shots of Chester that Aaron Scott took at a different event. Chester is so photogenic!

aaron scott chester2

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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