Ford Mustang Pedal Car

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Americans learn to love cars at a very early age. More than just play, ownership of pedal cars, bicycles, and motor scooters is a progressive initiation into the culture of personal mobility, climaxing with an automobile learner’s permit and driver’s license in adolescence. One pedal car manufacturer coined the slogan “Raise the Kiddies on Wheels” to express this extended bonding experience with personal, mechanized transportation. Pint-sized, pedal-powered cars for children became available in the first decade of the twentieth century, soon after automobiles appeared on the market, and they were mass-marketed by 1910. Pedal cars remained very popular for decades and came in a wide selection of styles. Some pedal cars even resembled specific makes and models of automobiles. This Ford Mustang pedal car celebrated the popular “pony car” introduced by Ford in April 1964 at the New York World’s Fair. By the 1960s, many adults and maturing baby boomers were discovering that driving could be fun. They were more inclined to think of their cars as personal possessions and bought models that offered some of the thrill of sports cars and high-performance cars. Manufacturers responded with cars that looked sporty, ran well, handled better than a family sedan or station wagon, and made the owner feel youthful, active, and socially accepted. Ford correctly interpreted this emerging market. Baby boomers were reaching driving age, more families were buying second cars, and women and single people were buying cars. Many consumers were looking for affordable models with flair, excitement, and optional equipment that enhanced comfort and performance. Ford developed the Mustang with these qualities in mind. Its spring debut (instead of a traditional fall debut), world’s fair publicity, and the Mustang’s instant appeal among consumers made this event one of the most memorable new car introductions in history. For children, a Ford Mustang pedal car was the ultimate in trendy playthings.
Currently not on view
Credit Line
Gift of Robert D. Novick
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Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
overall: 18 in x 17 in x 39 in; 45.72 cm x 43.18 cm x 99.06 cm
National Museum of American History
Object Name
pedal car