Pinewood Derby entries

Boy Scouts California Pinewood Derby cars


Because the Pinewood Derby grew primarily through a grass roots movement, much of it's early history and development has been lost. This page is an attempt to bring together as much information as possible not only of the Boys Scouts Pinewood Derby program, but also the many spin-offs that have occurred over the last sixty years.

The First Pinewood Derby Race:

The very first pinewood derby race was held on May 15, 1953 in the scout house in Manhattan Beach, California and was hosted by Cub Scout Pack 280C, the present Pack 713.

An image of the first Pinewood Derby race

The race was the idea of Cubmaster Don Murphy as a substitute for Cub Scouts too young for the then immensely popular soap box derby. Thanks to an aggressive advertising program by the Scouts and their sponsor, North American Aviation, the race was a huge success. The track was a two-laner, made of wood and 31 feet long, which is very short compared to today's standard 42 feet.

The very first Pinewood Derby Champions from left to right: Dennis Lowies age 8, Richard Hoffman age 10 and Mike Thorne age 9.

The extremely low cost of making the cars, the smaller venues required for staging races compared to soap box racing and America's passion for all things related to race cars fueled Pinewood Derby's rapid spread. The October, 1954 edition of Boys Life magazine featured an article about pinewood derby racing that introduced it to the entire Nation. On March 17, 1954, the Herald Express Newspaper and the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks department teamed to sponsor the first non-Boy Scout pinewood derby-type race in Griffith park. In 1955, The Boys Scouts of America recognized it as a official scout activity. Within a few years Pinewood derby racing had surpassed soap box racing in popularity, the activity to which it was originally considered subordinate.

Early pinewood derby kits consisted of a partially precut block of wood suggesting a profile similar to 1940s Indianapolis 500 race cars, plastic wheels, axles and two smaller pieces of wood for mounting the axles on the car body.

Share this article

Related Posts

Latest Posts
What is the Boy Scouts California pledge?
What is the Boy…
First, the basics: Friends of Scouting…
Boy Scouts California Fieldbook PDF
Boy Scouts California…
Thomas Forrest~ “A Voyage to New Guinea…
Vintage Boy Scout California Backpack
Vintage Boy Scout…
Update: Greetings from the future! While…
First Class Boy Scouts California Badge
First Class Boy…
Span the BSA s 100-year history. : Overview…
Boy Scouts California records online
Boy Scouts California…
John Norman Olson s registry lists him…
Featured posts
  • Boy Scouts California Store Sacramento
  • Boy Scouts California Store Louisville KY
  • Boy Scouts California Store Baltimore
  • Boy Scouts California Store Mechanicsburg PA
  • Boy Scouts California Store New York
  • Boy Scouts California Store Doylestown PA
  • Boy Scouts California Store online
  • Boy Scouts California Store Michigan
  • Boy Scouts California Store East Hartford CT
Copyright © 2019 l All rights reserved.