Ever since Charlie Chaplin graced cinema screens in ‘Kid Auto Races at Venice’ in 1914, the Soapbox Derby has been part of American culture. The first official race on record ran in 1934 in Dayton, Ohio. It was originally a competition where young boys built makeshift buggies from scratch to see which could cross the finish line in the fastest time. It played on a fascination with flashy cars and ultra-fast speed records, even if some were fuelled by gravity!
At its peak in the 1960s there were upward of 20,000 kids in 250 clubs across America taking part. It wasn’t long before the phenomenon took the world by storm. The Akron All American Soap Box Derby plays host to more than 550 youngsters each year from all over the US as well as Canada, Germany, Japan and New Zealand.
In the UK the Red Bull Soapbox Race takes the crown, with more than 100 races around the world since the very first was held in Brussels back in 2000. Homemade Soapboxes range from gorgeous classic car replicas to Red Bull cans, burritos and Pac-Man themed contraptions. As well as being wildly competitive it’s also hugely entertaining. Take a look at our video of the best Soapbox crashes over the years:
Here at Metals4U we’re all huge fans of the Soapbox Derby, and the way customers use our products to create the fantastic vehicles taking part. We’re getting creative and making our very own cart to be entered in the Humber Bridge Soapbox Derby on Saturday the 25th June. Keep your eyes on our blog to track our progress and be sure to come out and see us put the pedal to the metal on the day!