Friction driven pull-back-and-go cars have always been a lot of fun, assuming of course you were trying to race them across a hard floor surface and not the livings room deep pile carpet that is. Pull the car back, let it go, and watch it crash straight into the bottom of the kitchen larder. Cool!
Most of these cars tended to be fairly large in size, certainly bigger than your average Matchbox or Dinky car, until that is the Penny Racers came along. Originally created by Japanese toy company Takara, but released in the UK by Tonka, Penny Racers came out of the Japanese talent for miniaturisation, yielding a tiny little car barely an inch wide and not much longer. They’re tiny size and weight meant that they zipped around like greased lightning.
However, the Penny Racer did just stop at being fast. On the back of each car there was a tiny slot that could comfortably take a one pence piece. Why was this useful? Well, it provided just enough weight and air resistance so that once the tiny vehicle got up to speed it would tip back into a wheelie and career around on just it’s back wheels.
The toys were popular enough that they spawned at least four different videogames, the latest being released in 2002 for PlayStation2. The official Penny Racers brand doesn’t seem to be available any more, at least not in the UK, but fear not, for the good folks at Seven Again have come to the rescue with five Penny Racers for the modest sum of just Â£2.99!