|DEARBORN, Mich., December 5, 2005
THE RETURN OF THE MUSTANG PEDAL CAR By: Michael Collins | Ford Communications Network
It wasn't long after Henry Ford began mass-producing Model T's at the
turn of the century that kids took to sidewalks in miniature pedal
cars. The steel covered toys remained high on children's wish-lists
until the 70's when the company stopped producing them.
Just as the 1965 Mustang was a runaway hit, so was its counterpart pedal car, selling over 93,000 units by Christmas of its first year in production. Four decades later, the pedal-car with the Mustang logo is back and demand extends beyond kids, to their parents and grand-parents as well, some of whom may have owned an original. "That Mustang became one of the hottest pedal cars of all time," said Mark Bentley, Ford licensing manager "At first they were simply toys, but now adults see them as collectables. It's a nostalgia thing."
Created as a promotion, Mustang Pedal Cars sold in Ford dealerships across the United States for a discount price of $12.95. But plastic gained ground over metal as a material for toys in ensuing years and the Mustang's initial pedal car manufacturer AMF-the same company that makes bowling equipment-sold the tooling to a Mexican company. In the early 80's that company closed, leaving the original equipment in a warehouse, where it remained untouched for nearly 20 years.
Enter Mark Luzaich in 2004. As the owner of Warehouse 36, a small company in Windsor California, Luzaich started importing and producing pedal cars as collectables. Hearing about the original equipment, he flew to Mexico, bought it, and prepared to produce the original Mustang Pedal Car once again. Despite modifications for contemporary safety standards, it would be exactly the same with all-steel construction, adjustable rubber pedals, a clear windshield and authentic Mustang markings.
The biggest difference from the original pedal car is the price. While Ford dealerships sold them at a discount, in stores, they retailed for $25. But just as the cost of the Mustang has increased ten-fold over the last 40 years, so too has the price of the pedal car which now retails for around $250.