Rare pedal cars join superb steam fair fleet

| 21 Mar 2012

A wonderful collection of pedal cars has been impeccably restored by a famous British fairground family and is to go on tour this year.

Showman John Carter, who died in 2000 but whose family business is the focus of ITV's programme Fairground Attractions, was an obsessive collector, including Shellac jazz records, model trains, cars and a collection of rock 'n' roll 78s that numbered in the thousands.

Pedal cars were another passion. Carter, after placing an advert in the Worlds Fair, drove around the country buying them and stacking them as high as he thought was legal in the back of a pick-up.

When he and his wife Anna (who still runs the business) sold many of the collections to fund their biggest and most well known enterprise, Carters Steam Fair, the cars were kept.

Now they have been restored – in Carters Yard in White Waltham, Maidenhead – and will join the fair mounted on two miniature roundabouts – pre-war cars are on one, post-war on the other – so children can ride in them.

The cars are more than just a novelty, though. Rare, original 1950s pedal cars are valuable nowadays with "official" examples by Bentley and Bugatti (of which Carters has two) selling for up to £9000.

C&SC is a big fan of the steam fair and there is plenty more for enthusiasts to enjoy including 1950s dodgems, a full set of J40 Austin cars that was restored last year, and what is reputedly the oldest lorry in the world (1932 Ford Model A) that is still earning its keep by working daily.

Visit the Carters website for history and photos of this fascinating family.

Or see the cars at any Carters show this year:

7-9 April – Reading Prospect Park (RG30 2EB)

14-15 April – Hammersmith Ravenscourt Park (W6 0SL)

21-22 April – Hammersmith Ravenscourt Park (W6 0SL)

28-29 April – Cobham Leg of Mutton Field (KT11 3EP)

5-7 May – Hersham Hersham Green (KT12 5LT)

12-13 May – Maidenhead Pinkneys Green (SL6 5DN)

19-20 May – West Wycombe Pedestal Field (HP12 4AH)