Evel Knievel Precision Miniatures from Ideal (1976)
In the 1970s, Ideal Toy Company produced several toy lines that featured legendary stunt performer, Evel Knievel.
An initial series of 6 Knievel-branded diecast miniatures was released in 1976, with another set of 6 following in 1977. Ideal widely promoted the line in full-page ad placed in comic books.
The vehicles in each series were a mix of motorcycles and souped-up automobiles and ranged in size between 1/43 and 1/24 scale. The miniatures were fabricated using a combination of metal and plastic parts and featured the stuntman’s signature Americana red, white, and blue colour scheme. A plastic figure of Knievel himself was also fitted into each vehicle.
The first series included the Stunt Cycle, Chopper, Sky Cycle, Dragster, Formula 5000 race car, and Funny Car. The second series had the Stratocycle, Super Jet Cycle, Drag Bike, Formula J car, Super Stock car, and Rat Trap stock car. A 13th precision miniature, the Café Racer was also released in 1977, although Ideal didn’t include it in any public advertising for the line. While some of the featured vehicles were never actually driven by Knievel, they were either reflective of his interests or inspired by his daredevil nature.
Termination of the licensing agreement between Knievel and Ideal in 1977 makes Ideal’s second wave of precision miniatures (and the rare Café Racer) more highly sought-after by collectors.
Remember the toys and games of years past through vintage advertising – for better and for worse!