When automobiles made their first appearances, it wasn't long before pedal cars followed. The history of these toy cars goes even back to the 1890s and most were modelled from real cars at that time.
By the turn of the century, many children longed for one. Unfortunately, they were so expensive that they were only playthings the wealthy kids.
The very first pedal cars created at the end of the 1800s, were handmade wooden models, but from the 1930s, metal-bodied versions became popular. Modeled after the real cars then seen on the roads, these small cars allow children to actually "drive" a car, just like an adult in a real car (well, not on the road of course). Like Hot Wheels and Matchbox, these iconic toys remain popular today, both with a new generation of kids and with adult collectors.
Interest in vintage pedal cars in the USA has grown to an unbelievable level in the past years.
There were five well known early manufacturers:
In the 1920s and 1930s, luxury pedal cars were bought by the wealthy, and it's very difficult to find a vintage one in really good condition. Some real size car collectors are selling their cars and going into vintage pedal car collecting, since there is little maintenance to them.
Of course, the very early models are expensive to buy because of their history -much the same as any classic car- but there are now many models available in reproduction format, often built to the exact specification and quality of their counterpart models.
Pedal cars of the 1920s and 1930s are a big part of our history. They have moved from sidewalks into our living rooms for decorating, displays etc. They are nice to admire under the Christmas tree, in the dining room or in the hall. Wherever you place your car, it will always attract the attention of others and become a focal point of conversation. Nowadays a lot of classic models are re-produced.
What's your 'Pedal Car' worth? Here are some recently sold items (USA):