Lot 097: Austin J40 Pedal Car
Austin pedal cars were made by the same Austin Motor Company that made full-sized cars in Longbridge. A publicity brochure that accompanies this car states that: Austin J40 cars are made in a specially constructed factory at Bargoed in South Wales. Here, in good conditions with the guidance of an experienced rehabilitation officer and under the supervision of a doctor, disabled Welsh miners are able to find a new interest in life and do a job of work that is both useful and congenial. There are employment facilities at this factory for 250 men." The pedal car factory opened in July 1949 and was called the Austin Junior Car Factory. It was actually paid for by Government funds and was run on a not-for-profit basis and purely for the employment of the disabled coal miners. The cars were made from scrap off-cuttings of metal from the Longbridge car factory and were built and painted in more or less the same way as the motorcars. The J40 was a very well-equipped toy of excellent quality and was probably the best pedal car on the market at the time. It featured real working headlights and horn, detachable wheels with Dunlop pneumatic tires, a dashboard and leather cloth seating. It had an opening bonnet and boot and also a lot of good quality chrome, namely both bumpers, hub caps, grille, boot handle, and centre bonnet moulding complete with the Flying A ornament later dropped on health and safety grounds (yes, they did exist even then!). At launch the J40 cost £27 plus £6 purchase tax, about three weeks' wages for a working man. Although most were sold to indulgent parents, a fair few were sold to Local Authorities to teach road safety to school children and many were also fitted to roundabouts at fairs. Thought to date from around 1959, this particular J40 appears to be in very good condition throughout and will no doubt make an excellent present for some lucky grandchild!
Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles|
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0DE
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