This article is about the racing event. Cub Scouts, with the pinewood derby plans pdf of parents, build their own cars from wood, usually from kits containing a block of pine, plastic wheels, and metal axles. With the popularity of the pinewood derby, other organizations have developed similar events, and a small industry has developed to provide tracks, timers, scales, trophies, ribbons, and other products. Similar Cub Scouting events include the raingutter regatta with boats and the space derby using rubber band-powered rockets.
The concept was created by the Pack’s Cubmaster Don Murphy, and sponsored by the Management Club at North American Aviation. Murphy’s son was too young to participate in the popular Soap Box Derby races, so he came up with the idea of racing miniature wood cars.
The cars had the same gravity-powered concept as the full-size Soap Box Derby cars, but were much smaller and easier to build. The pinewood derby had a sensational first year.
Murphy and the Management Club of North American Aviation sent out thousands of brochures to anyone who requested more information. The idea spread rapidly, and competitions were held across the country, mainly with recreation departments and nonprofit organizations including the Los Angeles County Department of Recreation. Of all that early enthusiasm, however, only the Boy Scouts of America made it part of an official program.
The National Director of Cub Scouting Service, O. Bennett, wrote Murphy: “We believe you have an excellent idea, and we are most anxious to make your material available to the Cub Scouts of America.