As a kid, I always wanted a pedal car, and eventually, after a lot of moaning and groaning, I ended up with an old 1950′s built Willys WW2 JEEP, complete with drab green paint and the white star on the side and all the stenciling required, as kids we all raced these by getting 2 mates to push you like a Son of a you know what and boy did we have fun in them.
It’s demise came when some of my mates, decided to chase me around the back yard with the steel garden roller and T boned it, that was the end of that, but by then my Raleigh Chopper turned up, but- that’s another Blog….
First appearing in the late 1880s with the creation of adult three-wheeled Motowagen by Karl Benz, the pedal car has delighted generations of car-loving kids. Soon after its creation, the pedal car was a widespread hit mainly in car obsessed countries like the US, England and Australia. In the early 1900s the Butler Brothers created and listed the first steel molded ‘pedal car’ with their best selling being the Model-t ford for kids.
Pedal cars were in their prime in the US between the two World Wars with Sears & Roebuck carrying many popular models in their catalog. This is the time period when Americans began their love affair with the automobile. These vintage pedal cars, featuring all the details of their parent’s hot rods, cruisers and roadsters, had a generation hooked.
As a kid I always wanted one and my old man managed to dig up a WW2 Willy’s Jeep that we used to have pedal cars races around the estate in the summer, I loved them and always have, in all styles and forms to be honest.
These are awesome to see and wish I could of kept mine, although we have a Fire truck one from mid 1950′s at the shop.
Pedal Car History
When the automobile made its appearance, the pedal car soon followed. Pedal car history goes back to the 1890′s when most were modeled from the real cars on the road at the time. Since their conception, pedal cars were all kids wished for. But at the turn of the century, their cost meant they were playthings for only wealthy families. With many families reeling from the financial devastation of The Great Depression, pedal cars were often toys for upper class children. Those not so fortunate played with basic homemade ride-on toys. In the 1920′s and 1930′s the wealthy were catered to when it came to buying pedal cars since they were the primary buyers. No pedal cars were produced in the mid-1940′s when all metal production was directed to the World War II effort.
Reaching the peak of popularity in the late 1920′s and early 1930′s, pedal cars experienced a resurgence in the 1950′s to 1960′s with chain-driven models. With postwar prosperity in the 1950′s, pedal cars grew more popular and were available in all major stores. From the early 1920′s through the late 1960′s, pedal cars, like automobiles, were produced in many different models and colors. Designed to incorporate the most current trends of the automotive world, pedal cars featured working lights and horns, moveable windshields and ragtops, chrome detailing and hood ornaments, and white wall tires and custom paint jobs.
Later pedal toy manufacturers recognized that there was a huge market for these pedal car ride-on toys and extended their business strategies to include manufacturing of other pedal toy products like pedal planes, namely the Red Baron, Shark Attack and Fantasy Flyer. Manufacturers later extended their idea of the pedal car to all things pedal, including pedal trains, pedal trucks, tricycles, and even die cast models for those who just wanted a model of the models. The idea of owning one of these pedal toys is trendy to this day as many pedal toy owners are not only purchasing these products as gifts for their children, but also as collectible items. They have an emotional attachment to the memory that these cars bring to them. Once upon a time, they were in the original versions of these cars, like the 1965 Mustang car.
In the 1960′s, a fascination with space and air travel, the ubiquity of plastics, and new safety standards for toys brought an end to widespread metal pedal car production. In the 1970′s the plastic car was introduced and the traditional steel pedal cars almost faded out of existence. Children’s car manufacturing continued in plastic, but the design of the vehicles no longer captured the aesthetic of adult automobiles. The pedal car era began almost as soon as the world embraced the automobile and ended when metal toys gave way to plastic.
Until recently, evidence of the skillful workmanship, care and dedication put into the traditional pedal cars could only be found in the few and rare remaining pedal cars. In today’s “throw-away” world, where trends come and go and nothing seems to last for long, Pedal Car Planet endeavors to bring you those special things back from the past when quality and workmanship were highly valued. Our selection of Pedal Cars will stand the test of time and will be considered classics when your children become parents in the years to come. The pedal car really is the perfect antique toy to own. They are very durable and can even be used from generation to generation. Your family can actually experience the fun of the pedal car without fear of destroying a collectible. If you didn’t get to enjoy a new pedal car during your childhood, it isn’t too late. You can also purchase pedal car kits to create a new pedal car. Our Pedal Cars will definitely catch the eye of every kid, parent, and collector.
Today as in the past, the joy of purchasing these pedal products is that they have a fabulous build quality unlike the plastic models that came out in the late 1970′s. These pedal cars and other toys were constructed with pure steel, no plastic parts. This durability along with the exquisite style and detail to the original models of these pedal toys are what keep consumers coming back. Consumers are not only buying these products as child toys, but as adult toys, too.
Take a look at what original pedal cars would cost now:
- 1940 Silver Pursuit Plane $2000.00
- 1942 Shark Attack Plane $2100.00
- 1941 Sports Racer $2800.00
- 1960 Giordani Racer $4000.00
- 1949 Comet $1500.00
- 1930 Sad Faced Fire Engine $2400.00
- 1948 Comet (Pink & Blue) $2000.00
- 1955 Chevrolet $1750.00
- 1930 Trike $3000.00
- 1922 Model T Ford $2800.00
What will cost you around two thousand dollars plus for an original (if you can find one) can be purchased new here for around two hundred dollars. Your pedal car will eventually gain the appreciative value of the listed cars above. This is a big reason why pedal cars have become so popular and why so many people are collecting these pedal cars. Very little investment, for maximum inflation values. We predict the limited editions will increase in value the fastest. Of course, others just want a stylish, all-metal ride-on toy car for their child, and at the same time helping them to get their exercise. So what are you waiting for? Get your pedal car(s) now!
The old Black and white photo’s are awesome and shows that everyone around the globe were into pedal cars.
The Good old Austin was around for many years, as a kid and up in my teenage years, I remember these J models actually being used on roundabouts on the fair grounds as rides, and always wanted one of those and now they command a big price if you are lucky enough to locate one.
Now that’s a cool pedal car, looks to be an E-Type Jaguar, getting pulled by what we ca. ” the Old Bill “.
Now what a cool photo this is, back in the day and the kid with his Saddle shoes on, repairs his pedal car on the race track, brilliant stuff.
Oh yes-learning young is the name of the game and wonder what happened to the little steel car that this youngster seemed to be really attached to.
Ha Ha,here we go, learning the highway code as well as pedal car etiquette.
I am not sure which one I like best, the cool whirly bird or the Mk1 Corsair that the youngster is sat in.
So envious of these young lads that’s for sure.
That is right, take another look, a pedal car assembly line, I wonder if they gave you one as a company car?
Now remember son, don’t let them make you take a steroid test after.
Yes please, either of these would be welcome at my shop that’s for certain.
Now, that truly is an awesome shot, wish I could of had some taken when I was a youngster as I think I spent more time repairing mine back then, than actually pedaling the dame thing.
Can never get enough of these great shots of youngster under their rides trying to get it repaired and back on 4 wheels again.
Yes please, either of these would be a nice Christmas present.
I think this is a buddies of mine in Burbank that they hand made and is a really cool Gasser.
Bloody hell, an Aston Martin DB1, lucky Git !!!
I actually built one like this for a friend in the band and boy did it come out nice, but this one above is an Original Kiddilac.
Early 1944 pedal car jeep advert looks great.
Looks like an early Nascar driver to me, high up on the bank into turn 3.
Gonna have fun,fun,fun, til my daddy takes my T-Bird away !
Just beating the rush hour on an old Brick built road, his poor old teeth will be chattering that’s for sure.
Well how about that, a choice of cool Pedal cars in one show room.
So, the right pedal down and the left up, correct?
Very cool Corvette pedal car and this lad must of been a favorite at the school playground?
Wow! That is a very cool ride, a little resemblance to the Delahaye automobile back in the late 1930′s/40′s.
This has no roof on the car, but then again, neither does their house.
Yeah-Dad cut the front of my hair to match the MG front end.
Early photo as there are NO cars around at all.
Don’t worry Sis, I will get this sorted right out!
Looks like and old Saab or Citroen?
What a great looking Roadster, complete with white walls too.
” Yep, Nailed it ” !
This kid must be fast, look at the size of his feet.
Now come on- I’d f jumped on this if I was a kid, what a great set up this is.
But how cool is this little time bomb below?
Aw- Come on dad, I want my car back.
Man! What a cool thing it was to be a kid back then, how awesome is that little Midget set up?
Well, this is so amazing, I cannot stop looking at it, imaging what your mates would say when you rocked up at the local playground in this Jalopy.
Need a lift buddy?
Here are some more great shots that I thought you would enjoy on this Blog.
Oh, I see the problem, its a bloody sock !
Who has the biggest Horse power then Girl?
great photo of youngster trying to find a 7 1/16ths open ended wrench.
Two steering wheels, no back seat drivers in this car.
Santa looks as happy as a termite in a steel factory.
The kid doesn’t look too happy having is photo taken whilst washing his pride and joy.
Oh Oh, early Car jacking in Los Angeles.
Grand prix Winner gets to kiss the girl.
A couple of cool VW Transporters, I would love one of these as I had a Blue type 2 many moons ago.
Hey, if ya want to build one from scrap parts, here is the advert for you.
Then, for the kid who wants a New pedal car to look like their mum or dads ride and have plenty of loot, well here are some that go a little way above and beyond the Norm.
I am sure that most are now in the pedal car junkyard in the sky, but thanks for taking some time to check out just a few of the things I still enjoy seeing.