Formula Toddler: collection of classic pedal cars for sale


A collection of 53 classic pedal cars, some dating back to the 1920s, is being auctioned online

Speedway pace car pedal car

1960 Speedway 500 Pace Car | Estimate: $1,200-$1,500

Forest Casey/RM Sotheby's

Junior racers with a sense of style can now dabble with a classic, as dozens of vintage pedal cars are being auctioned online.

Hot-rod, Formula 1 and saloon racer pedal cars are among the 53 lots, some of which date back to the 1920s.

They formed part of the collection of the late Bruce Callis, a US-based enthusiast who bought and restored them until his death in 1999. RM Sotheby’s is running the sale, which closes on June 24.

Oreo F1 pedal car

1977 Oreo Formula 1 Racer | Estimate: $300-$500

Forest Casey/RM Sotheby's

The cars include a 1977 F1 replica, plastered with Oreo, Ritz and Chips Ahoy decals from the Nabisco company. Performance is optimised thanks to the use of a lightweight plastic frame over a tubular chassis, but the non-metal bodywork isn’t as highly-prized as steel and the estimated price is a relatively low $300 to $500 (£240-£400)

A steel recreation of an Indy pace car (top of page) is estimated to sell for $1,200 to $1,500 (£950-£1,200). Purists will spot that, underneath the eye-catching livery, it has the same late 1950s Murray-Ohio Manufacturing Company body shape that also saw service as a ‘Thunder Jet’, ‘Astronaut’s Car’ and ‘Dude Wagon’.

Hot Rod pedal car

1959 Hot-Rod Racer No5 | Estimate: $600-$900

Forest Casey/RM Sotheby's

Not all of the cars were restored, and a yellow 1959 hot-rod racer maintains its patina. Sold for $18.95 six decades ago, it now carries an estimate of $600 to $900 (£480-£715).

A price of up to $2,500 (£2,000) is expected for a 1935 Skippy Racer, designed after the racing cars of the day, with streamlined front wheel covers that move with the steering wheel.

The collection was on display at the McLean County Museum of History, in Bloomington, Illinois until earlier this year, and is being sold by the Callis family.

J40 boot

Mini Austin has an opening boot with spare wheel

Forest Casey/RM Sotheby's

J40 bonnet

Under the bonnet is the battery to power the headlights

Forest Casey/RM Sotheby's

As with the conventional classic car market, it pays to have a sizeable wallet. Estimates rise as high as $3,000 (£2,400) for a 1955 J-40, which shows how meticulous the engineering can be. The car was built by the Austin Motor Company in Wales using steel offcuts from the A40 production line.

Its bonnet and boot open; there’s a spare tyre, working horn and battery-powered lights. The car is estimated to fetch between $2,000 and $3,000 (£1,600-£2,400).

Probe 3 pedal car

1969 Probe 3 | Estimate: $600-$900

Forest Casey/RM Sotheby's

Many of the cars reflect the era in which they were made. It comes as little surprise that the three-wheel, streamlined Probe 3, which used levers instead of a steering wheel to turn the car, went on sale in 1969, the year that Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon.

Scroll down for a gallery of more of the lots. More information on the sale and bidding can be found at RM Sotheby’s.