Murray Comet Pedal Car Assembly
When ‘Speedy’ Bill Smith was a little boy, Bill’s mother took a photo of him sitting in a friend’s pedal car, not having the means to buy him his own. As an adult, Bill’s passion led him to dedicate time to collecting pedal cars of all eras for his kids and grandkids to enjoy. His huge collection is on display at the Museum of American Speed, here on the Speedway Motor’s campus for everyone to enjoy.
The Murray Manufacturing Company was founded in the early 1900’s, producing several lines of children’s toys and bicycles. Pausing during WWII, they ramped up production in 1948, and introduced a streamlined style of pedal car in 1949. The sleek looking Comet was designed to be a more economical offering from Murray, but the simple styling of the Comet didn’t last long and was quickly overshadowed by the more expensive Torpedo, which featured the same body as the Comet but was painted in vibrant colors, had chrome trim and many chrome accessories.
Since the body styling stayed the same, there is some disagreement as to what to call this style of car. Comet, or Torpedo, some even refer to it as a Buick, since the top of the line version featured port holes like the ones on the full-sized Buick automobiles of this era.
Speedway’s Murray Comet style pedal car takes the best of all three worlds, with classic 50’s styling, silver paint accents on the body, and chrome accessories like the windshield frame, hood ornament, hubcaps, headlights, grille trim, steering wheel, and portholes. It also sports a very nice pleated seat cushion which is held in place with Velcro. The kit comes as you see here:
Much of the assembly is already done. The front and rear axle assembly and saddle, the pedals, the steering column, the windshield and many of the chrome accessories are already in place.
On your instruction sheet (included in the box), you can focus on steering wheel installation and wheel assembly.
The kit specifies only four tools; crescent wrench, needle nose pliers, Philips screwdriver and a standard screwdriver. I would also add to your list a 17mm end wrench or socket wrench, a flat file and a rubber mallet.
The steering wheel is the best place to start. It’s simple so you’ll get to teach your kiddo the basics, like lefty loosie, righty tighty. You’ll notice the steering column end has a double D shape, and the hole in the center of the steering wheel has that same shape. Slide the steering wheel into place, follow it with a slotted spacer (which looks like a thick washer) and then add your chrome acorn nut. Tighten the acorn nut with a crescent wrench.
Most pedal cars have three “free” wheels and one “drive” wheel. One wheel is connected to your drive train assembly, and will look different than the rest. It has a double D shape in the center to match the double D shape of the rear drive axle. This wheel also only needs one bearing. You can install the wheels in any order, just know that one specific wheel needs to attach to the one specific rear side.
On your front right spindle, place the following: a washer, a white spacer, another washer, a bearing, the wheel (with the tabs facing outward), another bearing, and a lock nut.
You can use your crescent wrench to tighten the lock nut, but a 17mm end wrench or a 17mm socket wrench work even better. Now you can install the other three wheels, remembering that your right rear wheel is the “drive” and won’t need an outside bearing.
You may encounter a few issues, but all can be easily remedied.
- There was a rough burr on the front spindle, preventing the bearing and wheel from easily sliding into position. We used a flat file and zipped the burr away. We also used a soft mallet and socket to gently hammer the wheel and bearing into place.
- Broken bearing - one of the wheel bearings was damaged. Speedway carries a replacement bearing, 918-01818. Just call up customer service, and they’ll have a replacement shipped out to you right away.
The hub caps are the finishing touch to your wheels. Use your needle nose pliers to pry up six little tabs that have been stamped into the wheel. Place your hub cap in the center and then carefully bend the tabs down over the edge of the cap to hold it in place. Be careful to not let the pliers slip off the tabs and scratch your chrome hubcap. You can use a soft cloth in between the pliers and the tab if you want to take extra care.
And now your little one is ready to ride! With basic tools, some time and patience, you can help the next generation hone fine motor skills and learn to identify tools, while passing along your passion for cars. Plus, speaking from experience, nothing beats spending time in the garage with your dad or grandpa. Time spent in the garage builds memories they’ll carry with them forever.
If you’re interested in customizing a Comet pedal car kit, check out Jeff’s Comet Pedal Car Custom tech article here: