Austin J40 and Austin Pathfinder

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Austin J40 and Austin Pathfinder Pedal Cars

This is the beginning of what I hope will become  a comprehensive buyers guide to the Austin J40 Pedal car and the Austin Pathfinder. So many times I see claims from sellers that at best are mistaken or at worst are deliberately attempting to mislead buyers.

I am the Secretary of the  Austin J40 Pedal Car Club (search for austinj40pedalcarclub )and have a reasonable knowledge of anything to do with the J40 and Pathfinder cars including their history,  restoration and parts availability.

Austin Pedal Cars - book by David Whyley. ISBN 0-946265-31-3

This is an excellent book and I recommend it to anyone contemplating buying a J40 or Pathfinder. It will help you determine whether the car for sale is genuine and to some extent, original.

There are a number of sellers claiming that the David Whyley book is hard to obtain.  This is not the case but as a result of such claims the auctions seem to be reaching unrealistically high prices. The book is readily available for around £10 from the Roy Halford  who also supplies re-manufactured parts for the cars.  A search of the internet with your favourite search engine should find him.
UPDATE:
This book is no longer available and unfortunately if you want a copy you are going to have to pay the extortionate prices being asked on ebay.

Determining the age of a J40

There is a popular misconception that the number printed on the odometer of a J40 is the year of manufacture of the pedal car. This is not the case as the number 1948 is printed on all J40's and actually represents the year the car was designed. The way to determine the year of manufacture is by the chassis number stamped in the boot floor. The Austin J40 Pedal Car Club holds information of some of the cars and has access to the original records  from the factory which include the exact date of manufacture, the original colour of the car and the dealer to which it was supplied. However, there are no records for cars produced before 1955.

Should the J40 have a "Flying A" - The Austin Bonnet Emblem?

Only the early cars had the "Flying A" mounted on the top of the bonnet as  there were a number of nasty accidents where children injured themselves on the bonnet emblem. Austin decided to remove it which  necessitated the redesign of the central chrome strip without the mounting holes for the Flying A.   

Parts that really are now unavailable.

There are some parts that are not available for the J40 , even through suppliers of re-manufactured spares and these can command high prices on ebay.

  • The 9 volt horn, unique to the J40 and supplied by Lucas. Re-manufactured horns are available but they are not to the original design
  • All body panels
  • Front axle
  • Original Dunlop Cord Tyres (although others are available)
  • 4.5 Volt battery for the horn and lights.

In addition the original wheels are not available and the recreations are slightly different. That isn't too much of a problem on the J40 as they are covered by chrome hub caps but on the Pathfinder they are not covered.
Update: I have just seen full replica wheels on ebay. Not sure of the quality but they look like the originals rom the images

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