1927 4.5-liter Bentley scale replica children's car heads for sale at Retromobile
There have been many fabulous children's cars we have chronicled over the last few years, such as the Shelby 427 Cobra and Jaguar XK 120 replica children's cars (US$40,800 each), the Harley-Earl-designed General Motors Club de Mer miniature concept car ($33,925), and several Bugatti Bebes, the T35 replica that became a cult toy of the rich and famous.
In Paris last year, a Bugatti Bebe sold for $99,000 at the official Retromobile sale, though still well shy of the $110,000 record set by Gooding & Company at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance auction.
While there are no Bugatti Bebes going to auction at Retromobile in Paris this year, there is a miniature replica of a mid-1920s Bentley 4½-Liter racer which could potentially move into the upper echelons of children's car auction prices.
The car is a scaled-down replica of one of the great vintage-era sports cars, the Bentley 4½-Liter. Driven by Woolf Barnatoand Bernard Rubin, the 4½-liter won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1928, helping the famous mark to four consecutive wins from 1927-1930.
In 2017, a German enthusiast constructed this 2/3 scale replica, and although a three meter length might seem large for children's car, the real 1920s Bentley 4½-liter is huge at 4.38 meters (172.4 in) in length.
As can be seen from the bare aluminum, the replica is hand built, and although the motive power is limited to a 9 hp, air-and-oil cooled petrol engine, it's enough to propel the family heir to 55 km/h and that's probably sufficient.
The semi-automatic gearbox has three speeds plus reverse, steering is by rack-and-pinion and that's a working speedometer.
The seat and interior are upholstered in leather, the car has an electric starter, two batteries and all the lights work.
Most startling of all, the car is estimated to sell for between €5,000 and €7,000 at Bonhams' Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais auction later this week.
We suspect it will sell for considerably more than that, given the prices we saw for children's cars in Scottsdale two weeks ago and the strength of the market for similar enfant exotica in Paris last year, but it will pay to register if you are in the marketplace for a lavish present for the "works replica," as auctioneers know the market better than anyone.