As you can see in the Minneapolis Star photo below, students in Mr. Clinger’s woodworking class at Jordan Junior High School in 1960 were way past birdhouses and toolboxes. With the Minneapolis derby just weeks away, these boys were putting the finishing touches on soap box cars. Safety goggles were apparently optional. Scroll down for more photos of gravity- and kid-powered cars of yesteryear.


Here's the original Minneapolis Star caption published on June 24, 1960:

INDUSTRY AT ITS BEST can be found these days in the woodworking shop at Jordan junior high school where seven youths are at work on their soap box racers. The boys are Jack Fyten, 13, 3218 N. Lyndale Av.; Tim Fair, 13, 3035 N. 6th St.; Larry Thompson, 13, 5530 N. Girard; Lee Fjeld, 12, 2710 N. Aldrich Av.; Randy Johnson, 13, 3446 N. Washburn Av.; Bob Quigley, 14, 3230 N. Bryant Av., and Dennis DeMan, 12, 2309 Walton Pl. Instructor is James Clinger of the junior high. The Minneapolis derby will be July 9 at 12:30 p.m. at St. Anthony Blvd. and NE. Johnson St. Entries, which close Saturday, can be made with any Chevrolet dealer.


These industrious girls were building a pushmobile to race in a  Minneapolis Tribune-Park Board derby in July 1940. (Photo courtesy


Competitors in a variety of contraptions lined up for an Aquatennial pushmobile race in 1940. (Photo courtesy


Here's the original Minneapolis Tribune caption published on June 18, 1960:

The Abbott brothers of 3344 Harriet Av. are all ready to race in the 1960 Minneapolis Soap Box derby July 9. Walter 15 (left); Michael, 13; and Joel, 12, entered last year's derby, too, with Michael winning his first race. (Photo by Don Black)

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July 22, 1936: When Mother's away, Father carries the day

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Faces of the Fourth: 1936 and 1969