Just in case you need a reality check on your perceived values of your rusty, dusty Foxbody Ford Mustang you keep out behind the house, just know a collection of 53 museum-quality toy pedal cars just raised almost $150,000 at the RM Sotheby’s auction dubbed “Pedal Power.” Pedal-car collectors (yes, they exist) and automobilia collectors swarmed this online-only RM Sotheby’s auction, resulting in some rather impressive figures exchanged for the brightly colored miniature cars.
According to the RM auction house, many of the featured cars were owned and fastidiously maintained by genre expert and restorer Bruce Callis, who offered his cute fleet up for other collectors as part of RM Sotheby’s burgeoning online auction portfolio. After the final hammerblow fell, 53 pedal cars went to new homes, with 85 percent of the lots selling for more than their pre-sale estimate. We picked out a few of our favorites, but make sure you head over to RM Sotheby’s auction sale page to see the full roster.
We might as well start off with the star seller of this RM Sotheby’s auction. As high as that price is, there’s a bit of a perfect storm behind the J40’s blockbuster price tag. Built by Welsh coal miners affected by black-lung disease, these little pedal cars are built from scrap metal left over from the production lines of the real Austin A40. As far as pedal cars go, these are considered high-end, with battery-powered lights and an opening hood that features a simulacrum of an engine, complete with a line of spark plugs.
Aside from the craftsmanship, these J40s are still active on the motorsports—er, pedalsports—circuit. One of the most popular events at the inimitable Goodwood Revival is always the Settrington Cup, where a field of youngsters in spec J40 pedal cars storm the Goodwood Circuit’s front straight. As you can imagine, these J40 pedal cars are in high-demand; you can’t compete without one.
Just falling short of the Austin J40 is this impeccably finished Lincoln-Zephyr. According to RM Sotheby’s, a bidding war broke out over this presumably rare pedal car, with 65 bids submitted before landing at the $8,700 mark.
Far from the most expensive, this little open-wheel racer nonetheless captured our attention with its Nabisco-flavored graphics and neat wheels.
Not all of the pedal cars offered in this RM Sotheby’s auction were modeled after sedans or sports cars. This tidy little Willys-style Jeep is right up our alley, especially with its skinny wheels, graphics, and red light on the hood.
Finally, this chain-driven, Indy-style hot rod is quintessential automobilia in our eyes. We’d leave it unrestored and perfectly patinated, just as it was presented in the RM Sotheby’s pedal-car auction.