A German plastic success story: the Bobby-Car turns 50
A German plastic success story: the Bobby-Car turns 50!
Exclusively for K-MAG
The Bobby Car has been with us for 50 years and has seen many changes. Source: Simba Dickie Group
Bright red bodywork, a white steering wheel and a lot of noise when driving: That's what the Bobby-Car is all about. Almost everyone knows it and almost everyone has owned one. Or still does.
Generations of children have loved it, and just as many parents and neighbors have probably cursed it – whether because of the tattered shoes or the noise level. The Bobby-Car turns 50 this year and is one of the best-known plastic products from Germany.
It all started in 1972: that was the year the Bobby-Car was introduced at the toy fair in Nuremberg. And even though it was ridiculed at first because of its ergonomic seat shell, today every child – and every adult – knows it. Since 1972, more than 20 million of the cult cars have rolled off the production line. Initially, it was manufactured at the production plant in Fürth until a major fire broke out there in 1998. The toy manufacturer BIG was able to recover from this setback relatively quickly, so that the slide car still inspires generations today. Today, the Bobby-Car factory is located in Burghaslach in Bavaria and the family-owned company BIG has been part of the Simba Dickie Group since 2004.
Careful production for carefree driving pleasure
If you take a closer look, the Bobby-Car is also a plastic success story: polyethylene granules are first dyed typically red before being melted into a viscous mass at 200 degrees Celsius. For each vehicle there is a mould into which the soft polyethylene is inserted as a tube and then inflated until it fits the mould.
Source: Simba Dickie Group
Large torches are then used to smooth out any unevenness so that there are no more edges or splinters that children could injure themselves on. After the axles, steering wheel, tires (made by injection moulding) and the typical stickers are attached, the vehicle is again treated with heat to ensure that everything holds properly. There is hardly any waste due to rejects. If defects do occur, the rejected material is returned to the beginning of the production cycle and recycled.
Over the years, the Bobby-Car has of course been further developed and some features have been added. These include, for example, new designs, push rods, steering wheels and whispering wheels that finally spare the nerves of parents and neighbors. But no matter whether it's quiet or loud: The red polyethylene vehicle is known everywhere and has become an icon over the years.
Driving fun connects – across generations
Source: Simba Dickie Group
The little red racer inspires not only children, but also adults who have remained young at heart. Today, there are enthusiastic Bobby-Car racers and collectors, some with over 300 exhibits. And there really is a lot to collect: The company now offers more than 100 different models, from Porsche designs to police cars, there is something for everyone.
The races, which are organized by official clubs, are fast-paced: up to 100 km/h are possible on the downhill tracks. And if you can't go fast enough on a classic Bobby-Car, or if you want to be safer, you can even tune your little racer accordingly. So nothing stands in the way of reaching the top of the world rankings (yes, they really do exist).
If you like it a bit more cozy and want to feel young again, you can go down to the basement or garage, dust off the little iconic car and take it for a spin down the driveway. Pure nostalgia!
K-MAG, the online magazine of the world's leading and most important trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry. News, opinions, pictures, films, interviews and much more from and for the global K community. Because K sees itself as a global communicator for innovations and trending topics. Not only every three years with THE live event of the plastics and rubber industry in Düsseldorf. The K-MAG is a continuous information and inspiration platform for the industry. It’s more than a trade fair – it’s a channel of communication. According to this principle, we offer informative and interactive exchange on industry-relevant topics.