Children could live out their dreams of becoming a racecar driver in this coin-operated Indy car ride. The sleek auto is crafted of fiberglass, and, with the flip of a switch, it begins to rev and roar and move to and fro, mimicking a real racecar. Racing took off in America in the 1960s due to recent speed and performance advances, as well as the fact that the sport was being telecast for the first time. Suddenly, winning drivers were household names and childhood heroes, and this toy illustrates the sport’s newfound popularity within American popular culture.
The coin-operated ride, or “kiddie ride,” was the creation of Missouri inventor James Otto Hahs, who built a mechanical horse as a present for his children in 1931. Called the Hahs Gaited Mechanical Horse, the idea took off, winning design awards and distribution contracts. By 1953, kiddie rides were described as America’s fastest-growing business by Billboard Magazine, and some department stores were even replacing entire soda fountains with these toys. Today, vintage children’s rides like this are extremely difficult to find, especially in such excellent working condition, and they are highly coveted by collectors of antique toys and Americana.
73 1/8“ wide x 35 1/4” deep x 40“ highClick here to view a video of this item.