I remember watching with envy while adults got into what amounted to their very own amusement park ride. Sure, my friends and I had Matchbox cars to feed our imaginations. Sometimes, if I was really lucky, my dad would sit me on his lap and let me steer the car while he drove (this was well before child safety seats and air bags). But nothing beats having a car of your very own.
Vintage pedal cars have become quite collectible. Costing up to several thousands of dollars, most merely display them. Replicas of these historical “machines” provide the perfect solution to the quandary of kids who are just itching to get behind the wheel. Offering much of what a real car does (save for the engine and horsepower for double-digit speeds), these foot-powered vehicles are both fun and exciting.
I would have been happy to pedal around in any of these cars when I was a little girl, but my favorite has got to be the stake bed truck (preferably in red/burgundy). This adorable pedal car looks like it drove straight out of the 1930s. I can picture my grandfather driving a truck like this, the stake bed piled high with bales of hay.
Of course, what kid doesn’t like to fly? New replicas of WWII fighter planes (like the Silver Pursuit) feature moving parts. A little exercise and imagination and our pint-sized pilots can take off on daring missions over the Atlantic, and still be home in time for dinner.
Aspiring engineers can also get in on the fun of pedal cars. Perfect for kids who yearn to ride the rails, the Bumble Bee pedal train was inspired by an antique steam engine. This incredible train even sports a working headlight and bell, so everyone will know a little conductor is en route.
With the increasing rarity of original pedal cars (many were actually destroyed during the war effort), quality replicas are becoming very popular. Just like many of the originals, they are made to endure, which means they can be passed down generations. Most are constructed with solid steel bodies and painted with a shiny, lead-free powder coat.
Of course, the fact kids have to power the cars (rather than simply sit and drive a battery-operated vehicle), makes them an attractive find for parents. And for the wee-ones who aren’t quite yet ready to power their own vehicles, rockers can be attached temporarily (and repeatedly).
Did you have a pedal car when you were growing up? Do you have any special memories of getting your first set of wheels?
We’d love to hear your story!