Spectacular children's cars at Bonhams 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale
Most major collectible car auctions these days contain a few childrens cars, sometimes of extraordinary quality and considerable worth. Bonhams 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale contains several scale cars built just for children with a 1929 Le Mans 4½ Litre Blower Bentley replica with royal provenance the pick of the bunch. Others include a 1939 BMW 328, a 1933 MG J2J4 and a 1998 Formula 1 McLaren MP4-13.
The 1929 Le Mans 4½ Litre Blower Bentley replica is electrically-powered and one of a limited batch of 150 built by Meynell, Phillips & Co Ltd of of Burton-on-Trent (UK).
Surprisingly, it is quite large, being built at 43 percent of the size of a genuine Blower Bentley, with a length of 193 cm (76 in), a height of 61 cm (24 in), a width of 76 cm (30 in) and a weight of 59 kg (130 lb) with batteries.
The cars were sold through Bentley dealerships, and the superbly-built replica was launched at the London Showroom of H.R. Owen Ltd in August, 1969.
As sold, the superb Blower Bentley replica used a 0.34 hp electric motor driving through a four-speed gearbox and a belt and chain final drive for a top speed of 12 mph (19 km/h) and when new, alternative rear axle ratios could be obtained from the manufacturer to obtain higher speeds. The car actually has two reverse speeds.
Though the replica's body, cockpit and seats are made of fiberglass, extraordinary detail is evident in every aspect, with a lockable battery compartment, a tonneau, fourwheel brakes, rack and pinion steering, chrome-plated wire wheels with replica Bentley-type locking rings and fully working 12-volt head and tail lights.
The replica going to auction was gifted to a member of the British Royal Family and spent 50 years in royal possession, though no further details are available as to the provenance beyond that. When new in 1969, the replicas sold for £250 in kit form, a not inconsiderable amount at that time. If it sells within the estimate of £2,500 to £3,500 (US$3,150 to $4,400), this old world children's car would represent excellent value.
Though lacking in royal provenance, the 1933 MG J2J4 replica is far more impressive as a work of craftsmanship, being a modern hand-built replica with aluminum clad wooden body work on a steel box section chassis, front suspension and coil spring-assisted beam axle with Andre Hartford-type shock absorbers, hydraulic disc brakes, and rack and pinion steering. The attention to detail is remarkable.
The MG is electrically-powered to its top speed of 8 mph (12 km/h) and the degree of craftsmanship is evident in the official estimate of £5,000 to £7,000 ($6,300 to $8,800).
The 1939 BMW 328 replica consists of a fiberglass body over a steel chassis, and is powered by 24-volt electric golf buggy motor, giving it a top speed of 8 mph. The official estimate is £2,500 to £3,500 ($3,150 to $4,400).
This half-scale 1998 Formula 1 McLaren MP4-13 children's car was built by Hollywood Sound Labs, and consists of a metal chassis with fiberglass bodywork, clearly decorated as a tribute to Kimi Raikkonen's time with McLaren. Unlike the three cars above it, it is powered by a 110cc 8 hp gasoline engine driving through a three-speed (plus reverse) sequential gearbox, giving it a top speed of 50 mph (80 km/h), which is more than enough to do some damage to your works replica, so care (and perhaps a speed governor) are suggested.