Austin J40 pedal cars

Austin pedal cars were made in England by Austin Motor Company Limited. Available models were the Junior Forty (J40) and the Pathfinder. The J40 Roadster was based on the 1948 A40 Devon and Dorset. The Pathfinder Special was based on the Jameison OHV 750 Austin Seven racing car of the late 1930's.

Austin Junior Car Factory

The pedal car factory opened on July 5, 1949 and was called the Austin Junior Car Factory. It was actually paid for by Government funds and it was run on a not-for-profit basis and purely for the employment of the disabled coal miners. The factory had a floor area of 24,500 square feet and was tooled up by the Sheet Metal Planning Department.

It started with Pathfinder

Production started of with the Pathfinder and it was planned to build 250 a week, but unfortunately this figure was never reached. After a year the Pathfinder was dropped and was replaced in 1950 by the J40. The cars were made from scrap off-cuttings of metal from the Longbridge Austin motor car factory and were built and painted the same way as the motor cars themselves.

The J40

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, real like facia panel 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 center bonnet moulding with the Flying A ornament. It was later dropped because of a change in the law. It was claimed people could injure themselves on the mounted bonnet badges if they rolled on to the front of a car.

The J40 sold for 27 pounds plus 6 pounds added purchase tax, while the Pathfinder cost 20 pounds plus 5 pounds purchase tax. At the time the average working man would have to save 2 or 3 weeks full wages to buy a J40.

The J40 was primarily intended for the American market but it also established its own export markets in Denmark and Canada. The Austin pedal cars eventually were to be found in homes around the world.

Road safety education

The Austin pedal cars were used for many purposes. They were used to teach road safety to school children and appeared in many road safety films. Pedal cars were fitted to roundabouts at fairs. These cars had two steering wheels and did not have any pedals. Some were single-mounted on coin-operated rides. Some pedal cars were later converted to gas engine power. Some of the gas-powered cars had the bodies "stretched" to make room for taller drivers.

End of production

There was a total production of 32,098 Austin J40 pedal cars. Production stopped in September 1971.

The factory was later used to make parts for the 'A' Series motors. The Bargoed Plant closed down on April 30, 1999 - 'A' series rocker covers were still being produced alongside other small pressings for Rover Group products. [SOURCE:]

How to date a J40

You can date your J40 by looking at its chassis number. So the number 1948 is not the year of manufacturing (in fact, they all say 1948). Use the book by David Whyley for more info, find it on Amazon.


Updated: 4 Sept. 2019

Austin J40 value and price guide

What's your Austin J40 worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items.

Item Title Date Price
original 1920s 30s crystal automobile etched glass Original 1920s 30s Crystal Automobile Etched Glass 11/2021 $200.00
austin j40 pedal car sales brochure also features 1949 Austin J40 Pedal Car Sales Brochure Also Features 1949 11/2021 $32.15
new austin j40 pedal car chrome headlight set New Austin J40 Pedal Car Chrome Headlight Set 11/2021 $119.00
austin j40 pedal car metal sign austin collectables Austin J40 Pedal Car Metal Sign Austin Collectables 11/2021 $11.39
austin j40 pedal car sales brochure also features 1949 Austin J40 Pedal Car Sales Brochure Also Features 1949 11/2021 $30.81
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices11/2021$-.--

Austin J40 forum

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Comments (8)
Jim - October 13, 2021
I'm looking for Original parts (not new) maybe from people who have put new parts on their cars to restore them. I just want to complete it with the parts that are missing or maybe to upgrade some of the ones that are in poor condition.
Thank, looking to hear from you,
Jan - October 1, 2021
Hi I have a 1956 J40 in original condition, has no welding or filler original paint work,balloon tyres etc. solid no rat holes,just slight surface rust. no:17735.
any information and value would help me.
kind regards
I'm not really an expert on these particular pedal cars I'm afraid... You could try this Facebook Austin J40 pedal car group.
Bob - August 10, 2021
HI John,
I have me Austin J40 that was mine as a child which i had since 1956. It’s restored and I am thinking of selling it. Do you know what the value might be?
Thank you.
Between 2000-4000 GBP. You might want to try one of the numerous Facebook groups with pedal car collectors for more estimations. It also depends on the restoration job.
Eric - February 17, 2021
I'm looking at your Austin J40 on ebay can you contact me about that
Hi, I don't sell anything on eBay right now.
Chris - June 26, 2020
I want to restore my original horn - but cannot see how to open the case - any ideas please?
Hi, have a look here: J40 restoration.
Barry - February 27, 2020
I am after 2 Pathfinder wheels
Also try searching in other countries, for example in the UK: Austin J40 wheels.
Brad - October 3, 2019
Can anyone help with set of bumpers for my j40.thanks
Hi, there are also a few for sale on eBay, check this page: Austin J40 Bumpers.
Chris - September 20, 2019
just purchased a pale blue (Original color) J40 and am looking forward to the restoration.
Wonderful, good luck with your project! Send some pics for and after so I can publish them here.