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    Auction Finds

    From race cars to fire trucks, a plethora of pedal cars

    This auction was obviously for the men, and plenty of them turned out for it. It was also for those of us who like nifty little things, and we got our eye-full, too.

    We all came to see – and some to bid – on nearly 75 pedal cars that had once been part of some soul’s collection. Most were red fire chiefs trucks that were rusty and dirty with age, along with fire trucks, metal baby walkers, race cars, Volkswagen Beetles, a few Mercedes (one in not-so-good condition sold for $10 plus a tricycle), antique pedal cars, tricycles and pedal cars with bells.

    Most came with names that were likely familiar to those who collect pedal cars: Murray and AMF/BMC. There were even two Volkswagen Beetle pedal cars. I was surprised to see a bright yellow and green car – not a tractor – with the John Deere name on it.

    pedal car

    Early 1950s restored AMF/BMC “Fish Face” pedal car with two gears, $70.

    The most expensive sold at this auction was an antique with a manufacturing date of 1910, and others were younger, dating to the 1950s. One of the few racing cars was from 1972.

    They sold for prices ranging from $10 to $875, but most sold for less than $50. Pedal cars apparently are sold by grade or condition, and those in the best condition obviously bring in the big bucks. Most of the ones at this auction were not.

    The first pedal cars were made in the late 19th century and purchased by people of means. Called the MotorWagon, they resembled cars that were available at the time.

    pedal car

    1910 Columbia pedal car. It was the biggest seller, $875. It drew applause when it was sold, after two bidders went after it.

    By the early 20th century, pedal cars for children were very popular in this country and abroad. Collectors, such as the one who consigned his cars to this auction, tended to prefer automobile-style pedal cars. Around the 1940s, pedal cars became available to more than just the rich. Here are some great old photos of cars and their owners.

    Even the Model T Ford was made in the form of a pedal car. These cars became even more popular in the United States from around the 1920s to 1940s. By that time, the cars could be ordered from such mail-order catalogs as Sears and Montgomery Ward. They were shipped by train – not mailed – and were available moreso to folks who lived near train tracks.

    Here are a sampling of cars sold at the auction:

    pedal car

    1950s Garton Spin-A-Roo. It sold for $325.


    pedal car

    John Deere pedal car, $90.


    pedal car

    A Volkswagen Beetle.


    A selection of fire chiefs pedal cars. There were plenty of them, selling for xx to xx.

    A selection of fire chiefs pedal cars. There were plenty of them, most selling for $50 or less.


    pedal car

    Mobo Pony Express pedal cart, 1937. I believe it sold for about $45 to $55.


    pedal car

    This was described as an oak stroller. It sold for $220.


    pedal car

    Jr. Firefighter fire truck by Murray, $120.


    pedal car

    This restored pedal car sold for $150.


    pedal car

    A bright green race car.


    pedal car

    Fire cars with and without bells that could use a little cleaning and fix-up. They sold for $70 to $80.


    pedal car

    An array of tractors, which sold for $100 or less.


    pedal car

    This was a more modern pedal car.


    pedal car

    There’s probably a lovely car beneath the rust, at least the auctioneer thought so. He noted the “patina” on it. It sold for $100.


    jeep pedal car

    This Hamilton fire jeep sold for $130.


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