Rare Austin J40 pedal car set to go under hammer for over £5,000

The beloved car was a dream Christmas present for a generation of youngsters but may now fetch a huge sum when it goes up for auction.

Rare Austin J40 miniature pedal car set to go under hammer in Glasgow for over £5,000 Chris James

A rare 1960s pedal car complete with a working horn and lights is could fetch over £5,000 when it goes under the hammer in Glasgow.

The Austin J40 was built from off-cuts of metal at the carmakers Longbridge factory between 1950 and 1971 and featured a dummy engine, complete with spark plugs and leads and a chrome trim.

More than 32,000 of the ‘junior’ 40 were produced over its 21-year lifespan, but most surviving examples have since fallen into a state of disrepair.

Auctioneers at McTear’s said they expected “considerable interest” in the vehicle, which will be sold as part of the toys, model engines and pop culture auction in the city on Thursday.

Classic car collector William Houston bought the pedal car just before lockdown to sit alongside its full size sister, the Austin A40, on which the design was based.

However, he joked the “temptation to take it racing” meant he had decided to part with it after just a few years.

“When I saw the car, I just had to have it,” he said.

“It was in very good condition but I did some additional restoration work to bring it back to showroom condition. 

“Over the past few years, I have displayed it alongside my A40 at a number of shows. It has certainly attracted a lot of interest from collectors and kids alike.”

He added: “My grandkids just love it and I have let them sit in it a few times, but it so rare now that I can’t let them go racing. My wife and I thought the best thing was to take it out of temptation’s way and put it up for auction.” 

A similar example sold in Hong Kong four years ago for £6,500.

Some examples of the car are still raced by youngsters at the annual Goodwood Revival festival in Sussex as part of the Settrington Cup.

McTear’s specialist, James Spiridion, said: “Although they made quite a few J40s between 1950 and 1971, most have now disappeared, and those that still exist are usually in a poor condition. 

“This example is in immaculate condition and in full working order. There has already been considerable interest in the vehicle, and it would be nice to think that it may see some racing action after the auction. 

“That said, with a near £5,000 price tag, I suspect the car may be confined to the pit lane.”