Hamilton Pedal-Drive Jeeps


From the brochureHamilton Steel Products of Chicago manufactured a popular series of pedal-drive Jeeps during the 1950s and 60's. They even made an operating tow truck Jeep starting in 1958, for those times when roadside assistance was needed. The text in a full page advertisement (60K GIF) for the Hamilton No. 808 Tow Truck reads, "The thrill of actually pushing another car with the large front bumper, hanging on to the side of the two hand rails, will be a thrill that comes only once in a lifetime." Perhaps a slight exaggeration, and this also seems to admit that pedal power alone might not be capable of moving two cars.

Restored by Len Dunn
The high hood design, based on the CJ-3B, allows lots of knee room for pedalling. The Hamilton tow truck in this photo was restored by pedal car collector Len Dunn in British Columbia, and includes the fender-mounted horn. See a photo taken by Len before the restoration (40K JPEG) and a rear view (80K JPEG) of a nice unrestored example.

No. 802 white Len has also restored a No. 802 Highway Patrol Car which features a microphone with a small loudspeaker (requiring a battery) behind the front grille.

No. 802 yellow The Highway Patrol version was also sold in yellow. A full-page ad (150K JPEG) aimed at retailers shows it in yellow while the text reads "baked white enamel."

See the full adThis illustration from another ad aimed at retailers (140K JPEG) shows the No. 800 U.S. Air Force Jeep, probably the most popular of the Hamilton Jeeps. See also a full-color catalogue page (200K JPEG).

Laura Walesch mentions, "I have a pedal Jeep that I am fairly certain is a Hamilton. The Jeep is all blue including windshield surround, like the advertising picture. What I found perplexing is the fact that it has a plastic (bakelite?) gun mounted on its hood. I have been unable to locate any information about a Hamilton Jeep pedal car with a gun."

Well, that is probably the version made by Sherwood Toys (190K JPEG), who advertised several pedal Jeeps based closely on Hamilton models.

Rear Body dimensions were 42" x 16" x 21" high. The Model 800 Jeep was produced with reciprocating drive (290K JPEG) and Model 800CD had chain drive (30K JPEG). An exploded view (50K GIF) shows the parts of the steering and the reciprocating drive system.

See also a close-up of a wheel (100K JPEG), showing the "H" stamped in the centre.

1957 A nice 1957 color photo courtesy of Ray Law in Florida shows him as a young boy in an all-grey version.

Another variation of the paint scheme is blue with white windshield (60K JPEG).

1960Mickey Mouse in the Air Force? The toddler on the left in this photo seems to be unhappy about who's driving. But the 1960 photo brings together two of the great icons of twentieth-century American culture, Mickey and the Jeep. Hood number variations on the Hamilton appear to be "USAF 3521" and "USA 93521." See also this Jeep at Christmas 1960 (60K JPEG.)

The Air Force Jeep has the unique distinction of being perhaps the only toy Jeep which has in turn had a toy made representing it. This cast-resin pedal car replica (30K JPEG) is about 3-1/2 inches long. See also a top view (50K JPEG) of the replica. Thanks to Jarek Skonieczny for the photos.

1947 No. 803The No. 803 Army version seems to be less common. Perhaps the company decided that other manufacturers, who produced many jeeps in olive drab, were saturating the market for them. This example carries the same "USA 93521" number found on some of the Air Force Jeeps.

CatalogueThis page from a Hamilton catalogue shows the Fire Patrol Jeep. For photos and details, see Pedal-Drive Fire Jeep Toys on CJ3B.info.

Also shown is the Jeep Surrey, a Hamilton variation based on the DJ-3A Surrey Gala. It's hard to find, especially with the fabric Surrey top still intact.

Photo by Anna CinnamonThis 2013 photo is courtesy Anna Cinammon. The only structural differences on the Surrey appear to be the side valences, and the bow sockets welded front and back on each side to hold the two bows for the top. They can be seen clearly in a right side photo (200K JPEG) by Mark Smazik.

Dump truck Another rare one is the dump truck, or as it's identified on the side, the "material hauler." See a closeup of the opening tailgate (120K JPEG). I think the bell on the front of this example is attached where the "H" hood ornament was originally located.

Dump truck This green one with simpler graphics shows the dump box raised using the handle on the right side.

Nellybelle Hamilton's Roy Rogers "Nellybelle" Jeep featured unique bodywork and a top bow, and like the USAF Jeep it was produced in both blue and grey versions, with red or white trim. Decals provided Nellybelle's name, plus a drawing (130K JPEG) of Roy on Trigger. See also a closeup of a rubber tire (120K JPEG).

See more details in Nellybelle Toys, and see also the The Original Nellybelle.

Thanks to Federico Cavedo, Jon Paulsen, Ray Law, Rick Leroy and Len Dunn. -- Derek Redmond

Also on CJ3B.info, see Pedal-Drive Jeeps by other manufacturers.

Elsewhere on the web, Speedway Motors in Nebraska offers reproduction Hamilton Jeep parts for restorations.

Return to the Toy Jeeps Pages on CJ3B.info.

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Last updated 14 December 2020 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond