An Early 20thC French Child’s Painted Metal Pedal ‘Special’ Racing Car c.1920-25

Origin: French
Period: Early 20thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1920-25
Width: 27.75”
Depth: 13.5”
Height: 16.75”

In beautifully untouched condition, the child’s pedal racing car, having a wonderfully worn ruby red painted surface, with a pea green interior and steering wheel, accompanied by an original period photograph of the former owner with her cat, the whole surviving from the first quarter of twentieth century France.

In desirable original condition, the car has one wheel being a later replacement and the mechanism is lacking from the pedals that allow them to engage with the wheels, but is otherwise in totally original order. This kind of wear and patination just can’t be contrived and is wonderfully suggestive of its honest life thus far.

The photograph that accompanies the piece shows the young girl in the car wearing a lace bonnet, possibly the day she was given it as a present, and the families black cat is also atop, all making for a special photo.

Pedal car history goes back to the 1890's when most were modelled from the real cars on the road at the time.  Since their conception, pedal cars were all kids wished for, but at the turn of the century, their cost meant they were playthings for only wealthy families. With many families reeling from the financial devastation of The Great Depression, pedal cars were often toys for upper class children.  Those not so fortunate played with basic homemade ride-on toys.  In the 1920's and 1930's the wealthy were catered to when it came to buying pedal cars since they were the primary buyers.  No pedal cars were produced in the mid-1940's when all metal production was directed to the World War II effort.

With the evocative tang of the marvellous original surfaces and the remarkable survival of the photograph to accompany it, this piece has the power of an art installation; intoxicating.