1962 GEBR-IHLE AMUSEMENT BUMPER CAR
Another Great Discovery ! You’ve heard of Dodgem and Lusse Brothers Bumper Cars (see one in our Museum) but, the rarest electric Bumper Car to be found in America would be this German beauty by Gebr-Ihle used at “Kiddie-Land” in the Southeast corner of Melrose Amusement Park’s “Scooter” Exhibition, near Chicago, Illinois from 1962 until the park closed in 2009 (demolished in June 2010). A Costco Store now occupies the space. It is a dead-on replica of the now famous 1962 Corvette Roadster which went on to fame in the CBS TV Show “Route 66” with Martin Milner & George Maharis (10/7/60 – 3/21/64) and in collectible garages all across America. The 1962 Corvette is considered iconic “The Marilyn Monroe of ALL Cars” (Paul Neidermeyer – Curbside Corvettes).
Who can forget as a child, teenager, or adult your first ride in a Amusement Park Bumper Car? It was a chance to take out all your pent up aggression or show your superior driving skill by ‘pouncing-on’ your opponent. ‘Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion’ came into play which is when one body exerts force on another body. That explains the ‘jolt’ you feel when two Bumper cars collide. Action-Reaction ! Each car was designed so neither occupant would be harmed. The huge rubber bumper surrounding the vehicle not only prolonged the impact but, diffused the force of the collision. Run on electricity, these old electric cars carried the charge on the back of the pole to a wire grid in the ceiling. The electrical energy carried the cars from the grid to kinetic energy (some of which was converted to heat). When bumped the cars themselves could stop, change direction or continue in motion but, whatever… it’s was a thrill ! Thankfully, one most folks don’t get a chance to feel driving their own cars. What really made the package difficult was the steering wheel was designed to allow the front wheel to pivot in all directions. One had to ‘master’ each different bumper car to figure how to make it roll in one direction. One seldom, if ever, see’s one of these for sale. We have this one for permanent display in our Museum and one for sale in Glitter Green at $4,750.
See the actual bumper cars in motion on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLqk0eSZbtU and the original facility in Melrose Park at Flicker.com at http://www.flickr.com/photos/eddie-chicago-railfan/2970393872/ for actual pictures.