WW2 Homemade Racer

Being a young boy growing up during WW2 found yourself without lots on your wish list. A cart, sled, pedal car, or anything made of steel was impossible to have unless it was a hand-me-down. The best place to find a treasure was the dump, the “weekend store,” usually with a  broken or missing a part.

Being a country boy with a clever father, many finds could be repaired. Cast away baby carriages would supply the wheels and axles for a wagon or push car racer. The hardware to hold a cart project together — nails, screws — all had to be on hand. Nothing came from the hardware store or the lumber yard. All was found, and at no cost.

My first wartime toy was a race car that mostly got pushed up and down Station Street. The wheels came from a cast-off wagon. The front wheels were on a pivot for steering. A rope tied to each side of the axle: a pull on the left rope turned you left, and so on. The rear wheels had rub sticks for braking. If you were lucky they slowed the racer slightly. The hood was from a steel barrel. One would sit straight-legged into the barrel, and lean against a back support.

That’s me, 10 years old in my racer.

On occasion we would haul it to Seager’s Hill. Steering was a feat and stopping was impossible.
Crashing was inevitable! Most of the crashes were rolling on its side. No helmet, no safety belt, no elbow pads. I hauled my racer home numerous times with bent wheels! I have no idea why none of us got hurt coasting that hill!

by Ray Freden  Seaview/Marshfield, 70 years

“There are memories that time does not erase.” – Cassandra Clare

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