This is an original and unrestored Supercar Dodgem from the 1960s, known as the “Rolls-Royce of bumper cars” by those in the British carnival trade.
The very first bumper cars were developed by Max Stoehrer and his son Harold in the 1920s and patented as an “Amusement Apparatus that would follow a promiscuous, irregular, and undefined path over the floor or other area, to not only produce various sensations during the travel of the vehicle but to collide with other cars as well as with portions of the platform provided for that purpose.”
The concept of the bumper car was refined over the course of the 1920s and 1930s into vehicles we would recognize today, the two biggest manufacturers of the time were Stoehrer with their “Dodgem” and the Lusse Brothers with their “Auto-Skooter.”
The vast majority of bumper cars, or dodgems as they’re popularly known, are powered by what is called an Over Head System (OHS) – a conductive floor and ceiling with opposing power polarities and a pole rising out of the back of the car to create connection.
The cars themselves are exceedingly simple, as was necessary as many of their pilots would either be excited children hopped up on sugar or adults in much the same condition.
The controls were typically made up of a steering wheel and a single accelerator pedal, the steering wheels can often be turned almost 360º which allows the vehicles to be driven in reverse when needed – this can help when it’s time to get the cars out of the pile ups in which they often find themselves.
A large rubber bumper is fitted around the base of the vehicle, this helps to reduce the severity of impacts and it helps stop the cars themselves getting damaged. Most bumper cars can seat two abreast, this allows parents and kids to ride together, though the parents rarely get a look-in when it comes to actually driving.
The bumper car you see here was made by British company Supercar Dodgems in the 1960s. As mentioned further up these Supercar Dodgems developed a reputation for quality and were nicknamed the “Rolls-Royce of bumper cars.”
This specific Supercar Dodgem remains in unrestored condition, showing all the patina from what appears to be decades of carnival and fairground use. It has the name “Fats Domino” emblazoned on the front, a popular rock n’ roll pioneer whose career stretched from the 1940s right the way through into the early 2000s.
This bumper car is now due to roll across the auction block with Iconic Auctioneers on the 11th of November with a price guide of £1,100 – £1,500 or approximately $1,300 – $1,800 USD. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Iconic Auctioneers
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Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.