Waterbury’s Soapbox Derby

Relive the excitement of the Soap Box Derby, an annual race between cars made by local boys that was once held on the streets of Waterbury. This installation features pamphlets, photographs, and even a derby car that have been preserved by Waterbury residents and lent to the Mattatuck Museum.

More about this exhibition

Every year from around 1965 to 1974, Waterbury boys would construct their own cars to race down a hill on Lakewood Road. Boys would often build a car in collaboration with their father and aided by a group of friends. The cars were constructed from a chassis and wheels provided by the national Soap Box Derby association and personalized with whatever other materials the racer could find. The cars would fly down the course, powered only by gravity, imparting lessons in physics, engineering, and design. Winners would be sent to the All-American National Competition at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio.


If you have any memorabilia, photographs, or other objects related to these races, contact Natalie DeQuarto, Assistant Curator, at natalie@mattmuseum.org or (203) 753-0381 x113.