The Penny Racers were little coil-spring powered cars manufactured by a Japanese company called Takara. In Japan, they were known as Choro-Q, and they were first released in 1978. The Japanese versions were more detailed and collectible, whereby the US version was more comical and not as exacting in replication. They came with rubber tires and would do wheelies if you put a penny in the back.
Each model was meant to be an approximate representation of a real world vehicle. For example, you could get a Back to the Future type Delorean Penny Racer in the USA (and you can imagine what would happen if that baby hit 88 mph). In the late 1980’s, the Tonka company re-branded the Penny Racers as as Tonka Turbo Tricksters. At the time of this writing, a company called Funrise still produced a cheaper version of the original Penny Racer. Big fans of this toy probably also know that a number of Penny Racer based video games have been released over the years.