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The Austin Cars
Beep beep! Make way for dinky drivers grinning their way around the track.
About the Austin Cars
The Austin Cars is one of our most popular children’s rides, and that’s mainly due to its interactive nature. Children love to ‘drive’ their cars around the track, with earnest expressions and cheery waves to parents.
Who can ride, and what does it cost?
The Austin Cars are suitable for pre-school children up to the age of about 6 or 7, as they’re not particularly fast or furious. They cost 4 tokens per person and, depending on their size, two children can fit in a car together.
A brief history of the Austin Cars
This ride has an interesting history. It was built by Hayes Fabrication in 1955 (who also made our Giant Octopus and Skid), and features a number of Austin J40 cars. The J40 was built by ex-miners in the Austin factory in South Wales who were suffering from a terrible respiratory condition from their work in the mines. Leonard Lord, the chairman of Austin Motors, was keen to give these men a way of earning a living in a safer environment, and so they invented the Austin J40 pedal car, designed to look similar to the current Austin motorcars in production at the time.
The J40 was made from scrap steel from the Austin Motors factory, and was designed to be operated by a child up to the age of about nine, with room for a younger sibling as passenger, and to have an opening bonnet and boot. It even had real spark plugs! It’s not known if Austin made special versions without the pedal mechanism for showmen to use on roundabouts like this one, or whether showmen adapted them themselves. On our set, the two red and maroon cars have electric motors, which pull the other cars around the track.
Find out more
At selected locations you can join Joby Carter for a 1 hour guided tour talking about the history of our rides and fairground art through the decades. Book tickets here.