Live Auctions

$6,800 Bumper Car! 1955 Gebr Ihle Bruchsal


Here’s one for your daily commute (kidding). This is a 1955 Gebr Ihle Bruchsal bumper car and it’s in Cascade, Iowa, right between Dubuque and Anamosa, home of the National Motorcycle Museum. It’s on Craigslist for a very exuberant price of $6,800!


For being a bumper car, it looks pretty good other than the LF fender which took a hit at some point. This car, supposedly, is modeled after a mid-1950s Mercedes-Benz 190SL, but that’s a bit of a stretch for me. These little amusement ride vehicles were made by the Gebr Ihle (Jhle) Bruchasal Company in Bruchasal Germany. These cars had a fiberglass body with a steel frame and they had pretty advanced features such a rack-and-pinion steering system; just the thing to precisely steer it full speed into the side of other, unsuspecting 1955 Gebr Ihle Bruchsal bumper cars!


This little thing is pretty nicely detailed, actually, but for $6,800 it had better be! I found this one that was for sale in Quebec, Canada for $1,000 Canadian, but it’s not as complete as the green car is. And, that seller says that it was modeled after the Mercedes-Benz 300SL, not the 190SL. Here’s a photo where it actually looks the part! Unfortunately, the grille and headlights are missing on this car, even with a $6,800 asking price! The seller says that these cars were made for “Schottenrings which were amusement parks in Germany built for affluent families to take their children and have them drive miniature cars with small gas or electric motors.” These were rear-engine vehicles, as you can probably tell from the photo above.


D’oh! As you can also tell from this photo, this car has no engine at all, gas or electric-powered. It’s a blank slate for your wacky ideas on what should be powering this little car. “Hey, that thang got a Hemi?” Ok, you’re probably not going to put a Hemi in here, but a nice, 10-12 hp gas engine would do wonders for this relatively lightweight car. Not that you’ll be driving it on the street, of course, but it would be fun to drive around at car shows or flea markets, if you could squeeze in behind the wheel.


Another thing that’s missing, the seats. You’ll probably want seats in here, yeah. This car will need a full restoration, of course, but if you have a son or daughter it could be a fun restoration project to get them involved with something that they could actually drive when it’s done. You’re surely not going to let them drive your ’64 GTO when you finally get around to restoring that! I’m not sure what to think of this one, it’s odd even for me! It’s cool, but my $6,800 would be spent elsewhere. How about you? Would you have a use for this little car? What would you power this thing with?


  1. Coventrycat

    Now why couldn’t they make King Midgets look like that? I want it.

  2. Dave Wright

    I know these toy cars have a following and some value but I just can’t see spending real money on them………too many interesting things to spend this kind of cash on that are better more secure investments.

    Like 1
  3. JW

    Seller is a DREAMER IMHO !!!

  4. S Ryan

    Looks to have been gas powered. One heck of a bump you would take behind the wheel.

  5. daniel wright

    Is this really a bumper car…? The amusement park i went to as a kid had gas powered go karts with fiberglass bodies. The track had a center rail so they could not steer very far. This does not look like it could do a 360 turn either.

  6. Fred W.

    You got it “wright”, Daniel, it’s a gasoline powered car that would have ridden around a circular or S shaped track. I think I’ve ridden in identical cars as a kid. Many of the fairs and carnivals in the US had imported rides. Not sure what engine a German car would have had, ours had mainly Kohlers.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Fred, I think that you and Daniel are correct on it being a center-rail-track sort of car, not a bumper car!

      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

        Actually, this was not a “center rail” car. Look at the large underpinnings on both sides. These cars ran in a tight track with curving boards lining both sides of the paved center driving area. They had long wooden side bumpers [missing on this car] to keep the car pointed straight, and spring steel bumpers front & rear to contact the other car in front of you if they were going too slow [I used to do exactly that, and got yelled at many times by the ride staff.]

  7. JimmyinTEXAS

    Here is an engine to put in it. Dubbed the world’s smallest gas powered hemi…

  8. Mark S

    Id put a 50cc Honda motorcycle engine with centrifical clutch and 3 speed trans, would be a fun fit for 12 to 16 year olds.

  9. stillrunners stillrunners Member


  10. hhaleblian

    For 6 large give my daughter Kate and I a goat to bond with

  11. Kevin

    I think that with a little creativity a nice Honda CB750A automatic would be enough power for it. As is I think value is more like $1200. I’ve driven thru Cascade a few times, seems to be a nice little Iowa town. Pacesetter of Cascade made 3 wheel ATV’s in the 1970’s. I’ve owned a couple of the hard to resell for a profit, easy to tip over 3 wheelers.

    I’ve been to the museum in Anamosa to see my friend’s loaned 1952 NSU Quickly as well as all the other unique bikes. I was pleasantly surprised to see many brands rather than run of the mill boring Harley’s.

  12. Dave

    That’s interesting. Years ago in Youngstown, Ohio there was an amusement park called Idora Park. Bumper cars were the electric cars that got power via a large pole on the back of the car that made contact with a grid on the ceiling. Bumber car – you bumped into each other. Idora Park also had the gas hot rods probably like the type listed here. There was a track and drivers would drive around the track. Very similar to the go kart tracks that exist now, but the hot rods (I forget what Idora Park called them back then) were probably 2 stroke engines.

  13. Shawn Miller

    These are pretty collectible actually and this is one of the most complete examples I have seen. As mentioned above it would have been used on a track with a center guide rail, not as a bumper car. Given the values of 50’s Mercedes these days I can see a collector paying too much for this and having it restored to sit next to his 300SL in his car barn. A lawn mower motor would be the correct engine to use in this BTW.

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