Today we take a look at the ultimate Christmas gift for car-minded youngsters during the mid-to-late twenties, the “Red Bug” Electric Roadster and the smaller Junior Electric “Red Bug” introduced in 1927. The lead image is a photo from an advertisement in “The Spur” magazine December 1, 1927, issue by Mayfair Playthings Stores located at both 741 Fifth Avenue, and 9 East 57th Street in New York City, introducing the new Junior Electric “Red Bug.”
Mayfair described the new Junior model as just large enough for “your five to ten-year-old to take their little friends out riding. It’s the simplest thing imaginable to operate. You just press the pedal, and the car runs smoothly and quietly – not to rapidly and not to slowly – about as fast as you can walk. Press the other pedal and the car stops instantly. Nothing could be safer or simpler.”
- “The Spur” magazine Mayfair Playthings Store Christmas advertisement December 1, 1926.
As early as 1924 the Automotive Electric Service Co. in North Bergen, New Jersey, brought out the new standard-sized “Red-Bug” electric version. It was powered by two automotive storage batteries in a covered metal box behind the seat and an electric motor that drove the right-rear wheel by chain and sprockets as shown in the Mayfair Playthings advertisement above. Later versions were powered by a Northeast starter motor as was used on the Dodge four.
You can take a look back at our previous extensive coverage of the earlier A.O. Smith and Briggs & Stratton “Auto Red-Bug Flyers” powered by a two h.p. gasoline-powered motor wheel. The advertisements are courtesy of Alden Jewell.
- “Boys’ Life” December 1928 issue below gives further details of the “Red Bug” that was then produced by Automotive Standards Inc. in Newark, New Jersey.