Kar-Bike Photo Gallery
Kar-Bike Literature
Rare Kar-Bike prototype discovered.
Here we are, my brother Mike (on right) and
I, on our brand new Kar-Bikes. It was
Christmas 1947 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We
were really happy that there was no snow on
the ground that year as we were anxious to
cruise our Bolivar St. neighborhood to show
off our new wheels to our envious buddies.

    When the Metal Specialties Company, Incorporated, of Cudahy, Wisconsin,
    came out with this nifty sidewalk cruiser in 1946 they decided it looked like a
    cross between a pedal car and a bike, hence the name, “Kar-Bike.”  

    The odd-sounding name didn’t matter to my brother, Mike, and I who both
    received one as Christmas presents when we were five and six years old. As
    two adventuresome lads we were eager to take them out for a spin around the
    block, regardless of the weather.

    The biggest selling feature for this toy was the pivoting front axle. When you
    took a corner a little too fast both front wheels stayed on the ground. This was
    accomplished by a simple bearing where the frame tied into the front axle. A
    drag-link mechanism enabled the steering to function as the body tilted.

    My brother and I had two different versions of the Kar-Bike. Mine used a
    double tube frame, whereas my brother’s had only one tube. His eventually
    broke in half at the steering column after an “accidental” head on collision.
    Dad used the parts of the broken Kar-Bike and a large plank of wood to craft
    another vehicle upon which we rode many more miles.

    In April of 1947, Metal Specialties announced another model designed for
    children 18 months to 4 years. It featured enclosed pulleys and a pedal
    housing. It is not known if this version, Model S-2047, was ever built. The ad
    stated they were to be released in June of 1947. (Note: see update above).

    By February of 1948 the Kar-Bikes were still on the market, but were now
    being sold by Weller Products, Inc., of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who, strangely
    enough, claimed to be “the originators and designers.”  They labeled their
    1948 version, Model No. 1000.

    Weller continued production of the Kar-Bikes until at least February of 1949. It
    is not known how many were produced or when production finally ended.

    These were wonderful ride-on toys to which my brother and I were almost
    constantly attached. We spent many happy hours prowling the sidewalks of
    South Milwaukee on our Kar-Bikes. Today they seem quite rare and probably
    had a very limited sales run. Finding a nice one that is complete with its
    original Torrington Jr. pedals, aluminum steering wheel and unique
    adjustable seat, will be a difficult task.