Quarter Scale: The Van Horn Roadster

1930s Plymouth Roadster Cart

At first glance you’d almost think this is a full sized car, but take a closer look at some of the proportions and you start to realize something is off. There are really some great craftsman out there that can and do produce scaled down vehicles. According to the seller of this one, it a quarter-scale 1933 Plymouth Roadster listed here on eBay, parked in Orange, California with a BIN of $6,250.

30's scale car engine

According to the seller: “The little car features a working gas-powered air-cooled Maytag washing machine motor, centrifugal clutch, Ford Model A transmission.” A gas-powered Maytag motor?

30's scale car above

This car was said to have been used as a mascot vehicle for the 1941 Minor League Pocatello Idaho Cardinals Baseball Team. It doesn’t seem to have ever been used as a clown car, but is sure would be a perfect little car for the job!

'30's scale car rear left

This car is referred to as “The Van Horn Roadster”. Sadly, the builder went off to war and never returned. The car is currently a roller, the rear-end is missing so this is a mock up so it will roll. The engine, according to the owner, is not seized. Please note the small trailer-hitch. We aren’t sure how much weight it can handle, but is sure would be a sight to see it towing a small trailer in parades!

Motor-on,
Robert

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Comments

  1. Doug

    Cool little car. Looks like it might need a bit of exhaust work too!

  2. James

    It’s a neat well crafted little car, but I doubt the story of it being built by a teenager. Note that the seller states, “The story goes”. Ah yes, “the story”.

    Also, “features a working gas-powered Maytag washing machine motor…..”The motor is not seized and moves freely”. Thus the motor is not working, eh?

    Don’t forget the US was just beginning to recover from the Great Depression in the late thirties and money was scare. The story of “he” went to war and didn’t make it back vs. “you won’t believe it, I built it when I was a teenager” just doesn’t jive.

    Like you Robert, I cannot find a photo of any Maytag motor that looks similar to the one in the car. That doesn’t mean it’s not a Maytag motor, but then again why isn’t there one like this found when one does an internet search? Perhaps it is a Briggs and Stratton as the seller first suggests. I haven’t searched the internet in an effort to identify so have no suggestion as to manufacturer.

    Nice little Plymouth roadster and the price, $6250 or “make offer” isn’t outrageous.

    The “story” may be one that Click & Clack would have termed “bogus”.

  3. Charles

    Awesome craftmanship, what ever the story…

    Repower it with a V-twin OHV Honda or equivilant.

  4. Fred

    Motor looks like a typical 30’s-40’s engine that would have powered a reel type lawn mower. If free it could probably be running in an hour. Interesting that the car appears to have a radiator?

    Crosley rear end would probably work. This is easily the best built “parade” car I’ve ever seen. Looks factory to me.

  5. Richard Lewis

    That engine does not appear to be a Maytag. See pic of Maytag washing machine engine. A true Maytag engine has no throttle. It was made to turn about 1000 RPM because you don’t need a throttle to run the wash – it runs at one speed. A centrifugal clutch would not work on a single RPM engine.

  6. rusty

    fantastic little fella keep me subscribed

  7. Paul R

    You have to appreciate the craftsmanship for the time period it was built.
    A lot of hours must of been spent on an English wheel by a craftsman that knew how to use it.

  8. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Wow! After seeing the eBay post, I really got an understanding of the scale!

  9. A.J.

    Totally cool but smaller than you think. Look at the picture with the girl sitting in it. No dimensions given.

  10. 64 bonneville

    Maytag did make gasoline powered washing machines in the late teens to the early 1920s’. My wife’s great grandmother had one and used it up until the early 1970s’ She passed away about 1971 or 72. Seems like she may have been about 97 when she passed.

  11. Robert Member

    64 bonneville,

    Thanks for the information. That is interesting, please run the unit outside and/or the exhaust.

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