ShopLadder likes a good story, especially about its suppliers who like us, have a family business story. 20 years ago the Pursuit plane initially caught the eye of the one of C & N’s founders, who had always been interested in anything related to aviation as well as in pedal cars. Trained in industrial design with a background in metal stampings, he thought ...Read More
ShopLadder likes a good story, especially about its suppliers who like us, have a family business story. 20 years ago the Pursuit plane initially caught the eye of the one of C & N’s founders, who had always been interested in anything related to aviation as well as in pedal cars. Trained in industrial design with a background in metal stampings, he thought the plane’s innovative design was so unique that he decided he had to have one. He went from collectible toy show to show - Toledo, Kalamazoo, Chicago, Atlantic City - looking for that plane. Many pedal cars and planes were missing parts that were not available, and eventually he befriended suppliers who were fabricating replacement parts so that these fascinating old toys could be resuscitated.
With his friend who owned a sheet metal fabrication company called Mister Metal, and his brother who owned a prototype sheet metal company, the three decided to go into the pedal car replacement parts business. Originally operated as part of Mister Metal, they soon formed the separate C & N Reproductions (C & N is for Carl and Nancy).
One of their first priorities at C & N Reproductions, Inc. was the Pursuit plane, and within a year and a half they had made all new tooling that could make every part of the plane and they began to offer parts to people who had an old plane to restore, and kits to people who could not find one to restore. Business was good, and there was a market for other parts, and soon they were making bumpers, windshields, steering wheels, and other parts for a variety of pedal cars.
The reborn Pursuit plane became very popular with collectors, especially the kit version, because now they could build their plane while working with new steel, instead of rust. Their next project was to build a pedal version of the Corsair. They designed the distinctive bent wings and added a round cowl and three bladed prop to give the plane a look of the famous World War II fighter. Unfortunately, both planes were copied by a California company, and produced overseas at a price they could not compete with, so they reluctantly discontinued both.
The hobby of restoring old pedal cars was growing, but there was a growing scarcity of old cars available to restore. Prices rose rapidly and by the late 90s it was hard to find a restorable pedal car, at least one of the more desirable models, but for a thousand dollars, you could find them at toy shows for that much and more, often badly rusted and missing many parts. People were being priced out of the hobby. Parents that had enjoyed pedal cars when they were kids were not about to let their kids play with a "toy" that was so expensive.
The “hobby” changed when others began making reproductions of pedal cars, then airplanes, wagons, toy trucks, and anything else to get in on the nostalgia craze. People were buying pedal cars, not just to put in their recreation rooms, but for their kids to play with. And thus, C & N saw their business change from being a supplier of parts - to producing their own pedal car designs. They have now grown to be one of the largest distributors of all steel pedal cars.