Miniature news

ALONG the years there has been a number of commercially-available toy cars able to accommodate the fortunate child-owners of parents wealthy enough to indulge their off-springs’ fancies in this direction. One recalls pedal-propelled or electrically-driven replicas of Packard, Cadillac, Rolls-Royce, LSR Sunbeam, Vauxhall, 200-Mile-Race Alvis, bull-nose Morris, Model-T Ford and many others, apart from children’s cars built for them in the home workshop. Of such commercially-made miniatures two of the best were the tiny 7.5 h.p.; Citroens which the Citroen Company itself made available to lucky Parisian children, and Ettore Bugatti’s famous scaled-down, electric Grand Prix Bugatti single-seater, neither of which should need any introduction to our readers.

The difficulty of acquiring one of these models is now considerable, for they are much sought after and we do not, in fact, recall seeing pedal-driven 5 cv Citroen, although they were out and about circa 1925. A replica of the latter is now available from Lely Small Cars, Peter Lely’s company that describes itself as designers and manufacturers of fine quality children’s cars operating from 34, Cotman Road, Norwich, NR1 4AF. Their 5 cv Citroen pedal-car is single-seater, with an overall length of 4′ 6′ weighing about 50 lb. The pointed-tail body is of fibre-glass, ideal for kids of four-to-eleven years-of-age. It is mounted on a steel chassis which has dual rear-wheel braking, and equipment includes a bulb horn and working lamps and speedometer. The lamp-switchcs are on a wooden facia, and the speedometer includes mileage recorder. The disc wheels run as ball-bearings, the tyres and battery are of cycle size, so easily replaceable, and the drive is by enclosed chain from the pedals, to a stainless-steel back axle. The young driver has r.h. brake low and the steering column, carrying the padded aluminium wheel, is adjustable, a luxury not enjoyed by drivers of full-size Citroen 5 cv’s! Individual number plates are available, each car is separately coded, and there is a choice of brilliant yellow, wine-red or deep blue paint-finish. The snag is that you have to have a very indulgent Father Christmas or a rich daddy to acquire one, as the price is £966, with VAT. However, it is good to see a proper make as a replica miniature, even if Citroen did it rather better all those years ago. — W.B.