An annual event has been growing in popularity in many communities around or on Father’s Day. It is the old fashioned Soap Box Derby with a history of nearly 80 years. In early years, these unpowered, handmade soapbox cars were built out of orange crates, sheet tin, wagon and baby-buggy wheels, and to this day, rely completely upon gravity to move.
The idea of the Soap Box Derby grew out of a photographic assignment of Dayton, Ohio, newsman Myron Scott. He came across a group of boys racing their homemade cars in the summer of 1933, and was so impressed with the event that he acquired a copyright and went in search of a corporate sponsor to establish a national program. The following year, the first All-American race was held and the national winner was Robert Turner, who made his car from the wood of a saloon bar.
Today, children have been working with Soap Car Kits, getting ready them to race for prizes or for causes as a Father’s Day event tradition. It is a wonderful time to bond, learn and build these soap box cars with dad and get them ready for the big day. Children truly feel like they’re a professional race car driver with their dad cheering them on at the side lines.
Photography: J Compton Gallery