1928 Marx, Sparks Racer in Original Box

1928 Marx, Sparks Racer in Original Box

This is the Marx Sparks Racer . I looked for nearly two decades to find this car with its original box. In my humble opinion it's one of the most beautiful and original designs to come out of the Marx shop. Its forward streamlined appearance and hunched over driver, coupled with the multitude of lithographed stars, lightning bolts, exploding firecrackers, and zig-zags, gives it the appearance of movement even when standing still!  It's in excellent+ condition, with VG+ to excellent box.

Even more noteworthy......It's a completely unknown and undocumented color variation. Greenberg's Guide to Marx Toys, Vol. II describes it as having red details on a yellow background, with black running boards and fenders. A photograph was also provided in the Marx guide. I've seen only three other examples of this car in the past two decades (only one with original box) and in each instance they were yellow and red with black fenders. However, this example has red details on an orange background, with red running boards. Prior to finding it, I didn't even know that such a version existed. The yellow and red wheels are identical for both versions.

The car is all tin litho running on a complex clockwork mechanism consisting of no less than four gears. They work in series to rotate the rear wheels while generating sparks simultaneously. The body style had been in use since 1923 as the Rex Racer. The only structural difference between the two was a trunk mounted spare wheel and interior floorboard (on the Rex). In redesigning it, the tail section was shortened to accommodate a rear mounted grinding wheel. It's the only vehicle I'm aware of that has this feature. The flint has been replaced on this example so the sparks do indeed fly although they're not as profuse as the box illustration would lead you to believe.

The front right axle has three possible slot positions enabling it move straight, right, or left. The original axle holder bar is still in place underneath the car (see photo below).

The box was beautifully illustrated in red and blue with a panel wide drawing of the Sparks in action. Even the name was printed with spikes all around the letters to infer sparking. An unusual "Safety First Caution" note was printed on the opposite main panels stating that it should be kept away from "alcohol, oils, or gasolene". The endflaps were printed only with the ever-present Marx motto.

Size: 8¼".

Sold: Aug. 2008

Price Sold: $ 867


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Subject: 1928 Marx, Sparks Racer in Original Box

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