It’s the stuff from which legends are made. Endless skids and donuts, the gravel flying through your hair, a blur of green energy that made a Big Wheel look like kid’s stuff. This was a tricycle with attitude – this was the Green Machine. Join us as we remember this tyke transportation from yesteryear.
What made the Marx Green Machine stand out from the big-wheeled competition? It was about the steering mechanism. Whereas the Big Wheel used a front-wheel steering system, the Green Machine had two mean looking levers that connected to a rear wheel axle which pivoted and steered the vehicle. Jerk the handles in opposite directions at a decent rate of speed and you were skidding like a pro. The Big Wheel, for all its strengths, just couldn’t match the maneuvering capabilities, nor the flashy lime-green exterior, mag wheels and adjustable bucket seats. It was nearly tip-proof and just the thing for future daredevils of both sexes to practice on.
When Marx Toys debuted the Green Machine in 1975, it not only could spin like a ballerina but it also strengthened the moral compass of a nation. Ads for the Green Machines encouraged parents to instill good values in their kids and be that special role model in their lives. Granted, it’s a little hard to talk to the kids about their moral responsibilities when they are driving around you in circles and kicking up gravel all over your shoes but at least the toy company tried to do their part to improve the fiber of the nation, even if it was via a green plastic vehicle with “racing slick tires.”
Marx Toys would eventually merge their two popular products and rename the Green Machine the Big Wheel Sidewinder, but everyone knew it was really still a Green Machine. Marx would go on to become Empire Industries, who continued production of both the Big Wheel and the Green Machine, ahem, Sidewinder until the company closed its doors in 2001.
Fond memories of the Green Machine are commonplace and there are plenty of former kids who probably, as an adult, dream of having one more opportunity to take a spin on a Green Machine, then realize that they probably couldn’t get their adult rump into that bucket seat – adjustable as they may have been. For those who fall into this category, you’ll be happy to know that your dreams have been answered. Huffy eventually released an adult-sized version of the Green Machine. It is unclear as to whether it came with any moral advice but it’s probably still a heck of a lot of fun to take for a spin.
If you were the proud owner of a Green Machine in your youth, share your exciting stories with us, here at Retroland, as we fondly remember the Big Wheel’s big brother, a champion in its own right.