Power Wheels

Power Wheels

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 get from there 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 to 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. Sure, they didn’t burn off the calories like a bike or big wheel, but they hopefully improved those driving skills just a little and better prepared us for that eventual test at the DMV.

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.

3 Responses to “Power Wheels”

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  1. Emily says:

    My brother and I always wanted Power Wheels Jeeps, but never got them, because our parents said that we “already had bicycles,” and battery-powered vehicles “wouldn’t give us any exercise” or “wouldn’t develop our leg muscles properly.” We weren’t poor, so our parents could probably afford Power Wheels Jeeps (or at least one for us to share), but looking at it as an adult, I kind of understand–battery packs are expensive, kids often forget to turn things off (thereby draining the batteries even more), and sometimes leave things outside, our garage was pretty packed as it was, getting us EACH a Power Wheels Jeep would be expensive, and getting us one to share would have resulted in a lot of fighting, the Jeeps themselves looked pretty flimsy, and we would have outgrown them quickly, and, as my mom said, we already had bicycles (and Rollerblades, and a scooter, and a Skip-It), and Power Wheels Jeeps wouldn’t have given us any exercise. So, if I ever have kids, I’ll probably choose the Green Machine over Power Wheels for them.

  2. Ivan says:

    Well I always wanted a bigfoot power as a kid! !!! So naturally like a normal dad all 7 of my kids had at least one each they also have bikes big wheels scooters roller skates skate boards etc….. I my self being born in the 80’s saw all the cool toys and allready knw what my kids would love to oun lol so my sons jeep lasted 4 yrs of rough play and neighborhood kids riding on it on a dailysometimes for kids at a time and right on the thing. All my kids learn how to ride two wheelers love riding their bikes skateboards ect….powerwheels are awesome for kids ages 2 to 7 you can just see their little faces light up when they get them on Christmas or on their birthdays the last power wheel ill get is for my twin daughters ut will be the Barbie Escalade

  3. Degoragon says:

    Ah, my brother and I had these, mine was a Suzuki Quadzilla, his a jeep. I remember when the battery packs stopped working, we just took the motors off and rode them down the hill. They were much more fun then. I ended up breaking mine in two when i was seven, my cousin and I were riding, and we ended up slamming into the side of the house with it. the jeep lasted longer, but it eventually got tin screwed onto it where we ended up breaking pieces of plastic off from crashing or flipping it. Fun times.

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