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Published on Dec 22, 2010
Good things can come in small packages and that was true of the Maytag Toy Racer. Here is a bit of history about the small but very significant racer that was popular in the 1920s and 1930s. The Maytag Toy Racer contributed to the launching of two major children's racing associations that exist to our day and was the predecessor of the modern racing go-kart with its sidewinder mid-mounted engine.
In 1915 Maytag introduced the Multi-Motor gasoline powered washer which enabled homes without electricity to have the convenience of a washing machine. "Starting the wash" meant Mom had to mix the oil and fuel mixture, put the 30 foot exhaust hose with muffler outside the back door, add the detergent and kick start the motor to life. The 1920's brought electricity to many more homes and the retired Multi-Motors began to stack up at Maytag dealers as the older washers were converted to electric power. Eventually some of these motors found their way into kid's homebuilt race cars and in 1934 Maytag introduced the factory produced Maytag Toy Racer. Production continued until 1941 (WWII). There were 498 toy racers built with only about 35 surviving cars today. An original Maytag Toy Racer now commands $20,000+ and is a prized Maytag collectible. Maytag powered racers were the predecessors of Quarter Midget Racers that launched the careers of many famous drivers. The original Soap Box Derby racers date from this time period and probably both provided and received some inspiration from their Maytag powered counterparts. Both of these fine racing associations continue to this day introducing thousands of kids to basic driving skills, racing competition and good sportsmanship. For a few gifted individuals these early racing ventures can be the beginning of a future professional race driving career.