The Austin Pedal Car Story
The fascinating history of Austin’s J40 and Pathfinder from 1946 to present day
by David Whyley
Signed by the author
The Austin J40 pedal car is a miniature motoring marvel.
The level of interest over the years in these diminutive Austins is way beyond anything that the three-man design and development team could ever have imagined when they hand-built the prototype of Austin Chairman Leonard Lord’s ‘little idea’ in 1946.
Over 70 years after the first production example rolled off the South Wales factory line – in 1949 – interest in the Austin J40 remains strong today, boosted by the annual Settrington Cup race for J40s at the Goodwood Revival.
The intriguing story of secrecy, innovation and social responsibility – perhaps unique in the history of the motor industry – is told in fascinating detail in this lavishly produced book, which provides a social history intertwined with the story of Austin’s diminutive Pathfinder and J40 pedal cars.
- Lavish production, large-format, and extensively illustrated with over 1,000 images, including a wealth of previously unpublished photographs detailing: the Bargoed factory, the evolution, history, production of the pedal cars; the social impact of the factory, set up to rehabilitate former miners; period advertising and use of the cars for road-safety education and for fairground rides; plus specially commissioned studio photography of cars today.
- Fascinating and authoritative text from respected Austin pedal-car expert and historian Dr. David Whyley.
- Detailed tables covering production data, specifications, and paint colours for Pathfinder and J40 pedal cars.
- Insightful interviews with numerous people involved in the design and production of the pedal cars, and with owners across the years.
- The discovery of the long-forgotten special J40 given to King Charles III as a young prince, which now resides in the Royal Collection.
- Comprehensive chapters covering: the pedal cars’ roots and evolution; the Bargoed, South Wales factory; the workforce; Austin J40 racing, in period and today; the use of the pedal cars in road-safety campaigns around the world; details of the prototype cars, plus production Pathfinders and J40s; stories from owners.
Austin Pedal Cars is the only company to manufacture Austin branded pedal cars, parts, accessories, and merchandise and is the home of the Austin J40, offering a full range of in-house manufactured products designed to keep the classic Austin J40 pedalling for generations to come.
Austin Pedal Cars operates its spares and restoration division from its Salisbury Headquarters and a pedal car showroom at Bicester Heritage which will be the home of their brand new J40 Continuation Car.
280mm x 220mm | Jacketed Hardback | 488 pages | Over 1,000 images | Price: £85 | ISBN: 978-1-913089-28-3
Publisher: Porter Press International | Publication date: September 2023 | Author: David Whyley
Dr. David Whyley is recognised as the world’s leading authority on Austin pedal cars. Living near to the former Longbridge plant, and having close relatives who worked there, he developed a fascination with Austin cars from a young age. In the mid-1990s, David was fortunate enough to meet and interview the key members of the Austin pedal-car team which kindled his interest in the story of the cars. Following years of subsequent research, he has amassed an unrivalled Austin pedal-car archive. His previous book on Austin pedal cars has become much sought-after. He has also written a number of books about the Austin Counties cars from 1945–54 and writes regularly for the Austin Counties Car Club magazine. David has owned and restored several classic Austins and is an acknowledged expert and advisor for the rare Austin A40 Sports and Austin Atlantic Convertible, both contemporary vehicles to the Austin J40 and Pathfinder pedal cars.