Bumper Cars

(:The Bumper Cars:) !!!!!!!

picture provided from flickr.com by: live laugh photograph
picture provided from flickr.com by: live laugh photograph

Remember the Bumper Cars?

How many of us when we were kids, even adults loved to pay to ride in the bumper cars? I know I always did, it was so much fun, especially with a group of people you know and love.

You have to check this first video clip, that shows some cool street cars they made out of bumper cars:)

I want one, I bet they cost a fortune! They sure are cute, especially the last one:)

Enjoy, it has been allot of fun showing these pictures to people who loved bumper cars when they were kids.

I think these bring out the kid in all of us!

Ford 2010 Bumper Cars

History of Bumper Cars

A short History of Bumper Cars Going Bump In The Night!

Article reprinted with permission of Automobile Magazine, November 1997.
As written by Seth Gussow.

There was a patent sketch from 1928 that shows an early Lusse effort at the Auto-Skooter. The 1953 version (top) featured more car-like styling.

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the classic American bumper car, the Lusse Auto-Skooter. To generations of sweaty ten-year-olds, the Auto-Skooter represented powered mobility in its simplest and most satisfying form. Here at last was a safe and sanctioned way to pay back pesky parents and playmates by ramming them repeatedly. And Auto-Skooters could take it. A 1940s ad proclaimed: "They [are] built to exacting LUSSE standards, which means built-in quality and stamina to spare."

But Lusse did not invent the bumper car, nor did it dominate the industry's early years. The Auto-Skooter was an outgrowth of the Dodgem, a rear-steering monstrosity invented seven years earlier by Max and Harold Stoehrer of Methuen, Massachusetts. A 1921 test by Scientific American called the Dodgem cars "highly unmanageable," explaining that "the steering is only relative." Nonetheless, the Stoehrers were on to something. A full-page ad in Billboard called it "the repeater of all repeating rides... the Rolls-Royce of amusement devices. It brings them and it holds them." People liked smacking into one another, and for several years Stoehrer and Pratt sold every one they could make.

This success attracted the attention of cousins Joseph C. and Robert J. (known as Ray) Lusse, who ran the Lusse Brothers machine shop in Philadelphia supplying roller coaster parts to Philadelphia Toboggan. Ray Lusse understood that not only did people want to bang into one another, they wanted to choose who it was they collided with. Even Dodgem admitted that with their cars, "until you have learned how, you go somewhere, but you don't go where you intend going."

By 1922, the Lusses filed the first of eleven patents they were to apply for in the next nine years in the process of perfecting the bumper car. Eventually they realized that no combination of friction clutches and steering brakes was going to solve the fundamental problem. Given the youth and inexperience of many of the operators, the car had to be able to be backed out of a crash by simply continuing to turn the steering wheel. In essence the car had to go from forward to reverse without going through neutral. As Ray Lusse wrote: "Such operation is of considerable importance in the event that the car is in contact with another car, a bumper rail, or other obstruction preventing a forward or side movement."

The solution they arrived at in 1928 was brilliant. The motor, instead of being positioned under the seat as it had been since the Dodgem, was mounted vertically in the front of the car. Power was transmitted through two couplings to a ring-and-pinion assembly that had a small wheel and tire keyed to each end of the output shaft, like the BMW Isetta. The whole final drive was mounted on bearings and could be aimed in any direction by turning the steering wheel. Pivoting the final drive in this manner introduced significant torque steer, but it was probably no worse than a turbocharged Dodge Omni from the mid-80s. The small spring strip designed to prevent wheels from going much beyond 90 degrees often got bent or lost, leading many preteens to discover that an Auto-Skooter could go backward as fast as it went forward.

By the 1930s Lusse had settled into a long period of prosperity that was only briefly interrupted by World War II. Postwar cars began to include some minor changes including headlights, fiberglass bodies, air-filled bumpers instead of rubber and, finally, safety harnesses. They retained 110-volt AC power long after the rest of the industry settled on 90-volt DC. Dodgem went out of business in the early 1970s, and the competition began to shift overseas, particularly to Italy. The three Italian brands, Soli, Barbieri, and Berratzon, used variations of the Lusse front-drive system. Most of them moved the motor to a position inside a somewhat larger front wheel. This eliminated both the torque effects and the 360-degree steering of the Lusse design.

In 1989 Ray Lusse, Jr., got in trouble with the IRS, but he lasted until 1994 when, in the words of an associate, "he spent all his money and died." Rights to the Auto-Skooter design were sold to Designs International in Dallas, and the remaining parts inventory was sold piecemeal by the Lusses' last landload in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania. Majestic Manufacturing of New Waterford, Ohio, still makes both trailer-mounted and permanent rides, but the cars now all come from Italy.

This information was gained from:http://www.lusseautoscooters.com/history.html To see more about the History of Bumper Cars check out this site!

Here are some real bumper cars!

 You wonder why people don't move further up off the road to take care of their exchange of information?

I feel bad for these people getting caught in this accident, yet there is a commical part it is worth waiting for.

 

More Live Bumper Cars

Do you have some fun memories in the traffic of bumper cars? 8 comments

heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 4 years ago from hub Author

Dobo700, I know aren't they awesome!


dobo700 profile image

dobo700 4 years ago from Australia

How fantastic.!


heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 5 years ago from hub Author

Victor001, so glad you stopped by, you are very knowledgeable about these bumper cars:) What great memories you have of your father, making Lusse cars. Did you learn how to work on them too? It seems your Father would not, have any problem selling them now...if people see what you can do with them. Making them into such cute little street cars:) Thanks for visiting this site!


Victor001 5 years ago from South Africa

A very cool website. My dad has a set of 15 Lusse Auto Scooters that were made in England in the early 1950's under licence of Lusse America. The parts were made pre War as in 1939. All production stopped for the War and parts were stored. After the War with Italian Competition Lusse was forced to change to Fiberglass Bodies to compete. All trims etc were sent to England. All drives rear axle and iron wheels were the same and interchangeable with the 1939 cars. These cars housings of the motors are cast iron and not aluminium as the U.S.A cars are. The motors are made in England and are 100vDC not A.C as in the U.S.A. My dad has another set made in Germany. He is wanting to sell the Lusse cars.


heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 5 years ago from hub Author

Daryl, thanks for stopping by, and giving us some insight on your lost friend Ray. The bumper cars is such a great invention...and loved by many. Such great memories of these cars, just love these street bumper cars:)


Daryl Orr 5 years ago

I met Ray in 1982 when I was 11 years old. He was good friends with my parents in Chalfont, PA. Great man !


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Great and heart warming bumper cars tribute, great videos and what memories, I've rode them as a kid, adult and watch my kids do so as well. :)


restoremyheart profile image

restoremyheart 6 years ago

Those bumper street cars, are cute:)

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    Not just bumpers but crashes!

    Some of these scenes, really look like they hurt. You want to cringe for these people! It does look like some of these accidents were real bad. It is hard to say no one got hurt.

    Being A Kid Again!

    Bumper Cars

    Did you enjoy bumper cars as an adult or as a kid?

    • as an adult
    • as a kid
    • as an adult watching my kids in bumper cars
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    some info found about buying bumper cars

     Dodgem Bumper Car

    If you want to build your own Bumper Car street-rod check out this one:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&item=170268877354

     

    Reply October 04, 2008 at 05:25

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