1939 Marx "Bouncing Benny The New Safety Car" in Original Box

1939 Marx

Unique and very difficult to find Bouncing Benny "The New Safety Car with Nine Lives" complete with extremely scarce original box. The car's unique and most striking feature are it's large donut size sponge rubber tires. Unfortunately the tires are also the main reason why it's so scarce. As rubber ages it hardens and breaks. This is only the second complete example in high grade condition that I've seen. Tires haven't any broken chunks or missing sections of the exterior "skin". 

In this case not only are all four tires complete and all original, but they're still flexible. That's not to say they haven't hardened. To some degree they have, but they still feel squishy when gently squeezed. The fantastic condition of the tires plus its excellent+ to near mint steel litho body are evidence that the toy was probably seldom played with. On top of that, to find it with its original box (which I've seen only once before) are most likely the reasons that the toy still exists at all.   

Benny is basically a pull toy with an internal clicker which makes a bouncing "boing" sound when it's in tow. For improved durability the torpedo shaped body was made from steel litho. The car is held together with 13 pairs of overlapping metal tabs. It's solid and heavy. The upper and lower halves, including the tin litho driver, are identical. So no matter which way it landed it was always facing right side up. It's beautifully lithoed in red with yellow grille, exhausts, and cockpit trimmed in black. The Marx logo and Bouncing Benny name were lithoed on both halves. This example also has a string and red wooden pull bead, which although correct in size and shape, are probably replacements.

Each donut tire measures 2½" in diameter and 1¼" wide. The "safety" aspect of the tires were to protect the car body and driver from hitting the floor as it bounced along. However, unless the floor was perfectly flat it would  still get dented and scratched. Eventually chunks of the tires would start to crack (or be chewed) off, and the seams would split. If it sat idle for a long period of time they could start to flatten out. These are the main reasons why it's so difficult to find intact.

The car sold originally for 53¢. 

The box is illustrated on both sides with a bucolic scene showing three toddlers at play. Benny is seen bouncing and clicking across (and onto) the floor and table. One of the kids is still in a high chair inferring that it's safe enough for pre-school-age play. It's advertised as "the car with nine lives" which is a nice catchy phrase, but totally meaningless. The side panels say that "it will bounce around...not scratch furniture....and is always upright". 

Size: 7¼" long x 4¾" wide.

Sold: Sep. 2008

Price Sold: $ 409


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Subject: 1939 Marx "Bouncing Benny The New Safety Car" in Original Box

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