Most men love fast cars. We don’t necessarily have to see it go fast. It’s enough sometimes that we know it does. And red is a favorite color. I don’t know exactly why. Red is flashy. Maybe it’s because we remember what it’s like to go fast and want to do it again. Or perhaps because we want to experience that speed for the first time. Maybe it’s the beauty of the machinery. Or the artistry of the design. Do fast cars look like women? Different shape, but mainly sleek.
Toy cars gave always been popular as gifts to children. At least since the development of the mass-market vehicle. Cast iron toy cars. Plastic models to build. Pinewood derby. Soapbox derby. Cars you can sit in. Kid scale. Today the popular thing is drivable battery powered vehicles. My kids had one a while back. But they are not the same as what was available in the 50’s and 60’s. Metal pedal cars.
I never had one as a kid. I don’t know why. Maybe I didn’t ask for one. My parents were pretty good about providing me with everything I needed, or wanted. Although, I never did get that Stingray bicycle all my friends had. Maybe these were really for kids born a little earlier than I was.
You sat in the car and pedaled with your feet. The thing went and you could steer and it was just like driving a real car! Fun. Prelude to a bike maybe, or adjunct. I didn’t have one, but I wanted my kids to.
In the late 80’s I liked to go to an antique market in Atlanta. At the old fairgrounds. One day I found a rusty old pedal car. It was in pieces, and a few were missing. It needed new rubber on the wheels and was missing a hubcap. I think it was supposed to be a fire truck. It had some kind of step on the back instead of a bumper. And here was a bell on the hood. Missing its string. It was a mess. But I took it home.
Over the next few years I found new wheels. With rubber. And a new hubcap. Never found a ladder or the bell so I just turned it into a regular car. I did some sanding, laid in some bondo and gave it a coat of red paint. It was cool. Ready. And waiting for me to have some kids.
The kids came along but somehow they weren’t interested in the car. And eventually they outgrew it. Never having ridden it as I had planned. And so it remained in the basement. For years.
And now it sits proudly in my store, Living History Antiques. Waiting for a new owner. With children who will want to ride it. Or at least a father or grandfather who has dreams of some kid riding it.
That’s part of my story. What’s yours? www.personalhistorywriter.com