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Following up on our post about the pedal car collection of the NATMUS museum in Auburn, Indian, I spent some time with Carl Kriewall of C&N Reproductions, in suburban Detroit, one of a handful of American companies selling reproductions and original design steel pedal cars. Carl’s background is in machine design and his brother operates a stamping company so when he discovered that there was a demand from pedal car restorers Kriewall started to reproduce pedal car parts. Besides loving pedal cars he’s an aviation enthusiast. Kriewall eventually made all the parts needed to build the 1941 Pursuit Plane originally designed by legendary industrial designer and artist Viktor Schreckengost.
The Pursuit Plane has a full steel body, a 35″ wingspan (to fit in 36″ door openings), rear wheel steering just like a tail-dragger, and the propeller spins, driven by a pulley on the pedal crank. Built with the quality that steel toys are known for, high end stores like FAO Schwartz sold Kriewall’s reproduction pursuit planes for thousands of dollars. As baby boomers aged and started collecting the toys of their youth the cost of original and restored pedal cars went through the roof. Companies started sourcing reproductions made in Asia, including knockoffs of Kriewall’s pursuit plane, selling them for 10% of his plane’s retail price. If you can’t beat them, join them, and Kriewall now has a number of pedal cars of his own design that he imports from China. C&N no longer makes the pursuit planes, but Carl told me that he’s still got a couple left that he’ll let go for $1000 each.