In the world of 70s kid-friendly transportation, there was the Big Wheel and the Green Machine, both of which relied on plenty of pedal-power to from here to there. In the decades that followed, kids expended a few less calories, thanks to the far more plush, battery-powered vehicles known as Power Wheels. The streets would never be the same.
Introduced in 1986 by the Kransco toy company, Power Wheels were pricey and loaded with realistic features. For those whose parents could afford such luxuries, there were a number of models available. You could get all Indiana Jones with a Jeep or a dune buggy. There was a sophisticated, stylish luxury car and classic roadster for the more discerning preschooler. You could also pretend to break that imposed five miles per hour speed limit with the sleek sports cars and motorcycle models. All in all, there have been over 100 different models released for this transportation toy, the most popular of which was the 1999 Harley-Davidson.
Of course, the exterior was only part of the allure. Besides the expected steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, Power Wheels also included an assorted array of impression options (depending on the vehicle) that included power lock brakes and working FM radios. Many vehicles had hoods that could be opened as well as working doors.
Power Wheels carried a pretty hefty price tag, especially in the early years, leading more than a little neighborhood jealousy towards the kid sporting his very own tyke-sized Chevy Silverado. But, at least there was enough room in the cab for a passenger. Keep a reign on your feelings of animosity and you might just get to ride shotgun, or better yet, take it for a spin yourself.
All told, millions upon millions of Power Wheels (now owned by Fisher-Price) have sold over the past 25 years, and their popularity shows little sign of decay. If you were once a proud owner of one of these vehicles, or always dreamed of having one, we’d love to hear your recollections in our comments section.