Old-time Sapulpa toy maker

Monday, August 22nd 2005, 10:11 am
By: News On 6

Remember pedal cars? The metal cars with the pedals underneath to provide the power? A room full of old pedal cars would be something to see, wouldn't it? A room full of pedal cars either restored or made by hand would be even more impressive.

News on 6 reporter Rick Wells has found just such a place in Sapulpa.

Terry Smith is a collector, tire ash trays, anything Popeye and metal toys. "It's still a viable toy." It's the first one he remembers having as a kid. The pickup is the first metal toy he bought as an adult, for $10 in 1982. "So you know exactly when this started." And look how it's grown, tricycles, toys and pedal cars, lots of pedal cars.

Some are restoration projects others, are reproductions of very rare cars, he's made from scratch. "The bottom line is I simply can't afford to go buy one of these pedal cars, so to have one you either build it or you don't have one." A little Stutz was the first and then a Skippy fire chief. He's made pedal cars and pedal planes; the first step was just making up his mind to do it. “They made pedal cars in 1920-something with a hammer. You know you ought to be able to make it today."

Not only does he build the cars, he built the shop he builds them in. Inside there is every kind of metal working machine. Some to put the grooves in the fenders and some that shrink metal to make curves. “Everything in here either bends, mashes, cuts or curls." He even built a rotisserie like thing to help him get the most even, drip free paint job when he's finished.

So how’s he doing it? Pretty simple. "If it's not right, you just hammer on it a while longer til it looks better." Good philosophy for living life too maybe.

Terry Smith says he had no experience working with metal before, but learned what he needed to know as he went along.