Rusty 1940s Pedal Car Is Lovingly Restored By A Handy Crafter

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

If you grew up in the middle to later part of the 2oth century, you probably played with a pedal car.

A miniature car without a bottom, these pint-size cruisers let kids experience the thrill of the open road — at least, kind of. The car would be driven by tugging it along with your feet, Flintstones style.

If you were born in the later years of the 1900s, you might remember the classic red and yellow version in plastic, but if you’re a little older, you might remember when, just like the real thing, pedal cars were made from metal.

In a classic case of they-don’t-make-them-like-they-used-to, these metal pedal cars are really charming.

So when Instructables user tylerham came across a little metal car from 1941, he knew it was worth sprucing up, even though it didn’t look like much at first.

Antique and vintage toys are not just linked to great memories, but they’re also great little slices of life in the days passed, as these old childhood favorites show us.

Check out how tylerham turned a forgotten childhood treasure back into a swanky little (and we do mean little) ride.

[H/T: Instructables]

When Instructables user tylerham first spied this old pedal car from the early 1940s, it admittedly didn’t look like much.

But he knew that under the rust and neglect, it was still a seriously quality toy. It’s all metal, and even after all this time, it hasn’t been too badly banged up.

A child would have sat in the seat and used their feet to scoot the car forward.

Underneath, tylerham could see that the original color had been a deep teal, which served as an inspiration for its eventual makeover.

First things first: get rid of all that rust!

And even before that, he had to disassemble the whole thing. Some of the screws would have to be replaced after this step.

This was, according to tylerham, the most tedious and grueling step. This photo was taken after hours of sanding and applying rust-dissolving chemicals. Eventually, he rented a sand blaster.

Some of the components had to be replaced, namely the rubber tires, two of the rims, and the plastic pedals.

Luckily, these old pedal cars apparently capture more imaginations than his, and he was able to find replica parts fairly easily.

As with anything, you have to prime before you paint. He opted for a powder coating, which is more durable than regular primer.

And after all that sanding, you can understand why he’d want the new coat of paint to last!

The metal parts were also primed.

Finally, it was time for the most fun part, the painting!

Tylerham is lucky to have some friends who own an autobody shop, therefore being able to get access to professional equipment.

He opted for a two-tone look, using the original teal as an inspiration.

When the paint was dry, it was time to assemble!

The finished product is adorable, and any kid would love to take it for a spin. The two-tone teal is at once modern and classic, and looks perfect with the car’s streamlined shape. It’s perfect for a tiny road trip — at least to the end of the driveway.

SHARE this adorable blast from the past with anyone who remembers their own pedal car from childhood!