Maytag Toy Racer

Rare Maytag Toy Racer nearly restored to perfection

| December 1999

Doc Comstock, Walnut Grove, Mo., gave me photographs of his Maytag Toy Racer at the fall swap meet at Pittsburg, Kan. Doc is a Maytag collector, and has been lucky enough to find and purchase a Racer from another collector. The Maytag factory started numbering the cars at 500. His car is number 755, made on Sept. 27, 1935, one of seven Racers produced that day. 

The car was in fairly good shape, Doc said. The original serial number name tag is still intact on the dashboard. It was missing some of the accessories, such as the hood ornament and parts of the original-style clutch. The original tires were in bad shape, and Doc is looking for good originals to make the restoration complete. He needs four to complete the restoration, which is almost finished.

Doc has completely disassembled the car, rebuilt and replaced worn parts, painted it to the original factory paint scheme, and reassembled the Racer.

The history behind the Toy Racer is also very interesting. It seems that a few Maytag dealers around the country began building toy racers in the early 1920s, utilizing the one-cylinder Multi-Motor. They were used in local parades to promote the store and Maytag washing machines. Some dealers promoted races, going from town to town getting out the word about Maytag washing machines. Many of the shop-built Racers had flaws in both construction and appearance. As word got back to the factory about the success of the Racer promotions, the decision was made to have a factory-built Racer.

The Racer's origins are detailed in a November 1934 article in the Maytag News.

"Many a manufacturer learned long ago that when he got the kids of the country rooting for him, his product's success was assured, and for a proof of this statement, one only has to look on every side and note the campaigns directed toward the youth of the land. Once their interest is aroused, their enthusiasm is no half-way proposition. They go all the way."