Trevor Carston Collects Children’s Pedal Cars

TimCuff-FindersKeepersTrolly (1)

TimCuff-FindersKeepersTrolly (1)Sarah Ryder talks to Trevor Carston of Nelson, New Zealand about his collection of children’s pedal cars…

“I collect children’s pedal cars or ‘juvenile automobiles’.  I started about 30 years ago when my eldest fellow had one that got smashed up.  I started looking around for a replacement and the rot set in really!  I have about 70 now – some are in storage and others are on display in a shed.  You could get them for a pretty good price back then – I was paying about $20 for cars that would now cost over $400.  Some of mine would be worth a lot now, but if I buy something, I like to keep it.  I don’t buy them to make money – I could never be a dealer.

“I look for pedal cars that are made of tin rather than plastic and as old as possible – mainly from the 50s, 60s and 70s.  I get them from swap meets in New Zealand and Australia, TradeMe, garage sales and even the transfer station.  If they’re in an antique shop, I don’t even stop.  Some of the cars I’ve got have been knocked around a bit.  I restore cars for a living so it’s no problem to fix them up – it’s just the time factor.

“My most special one came from a swap meet in Bendigo, Australia – it was a prize in a Cadbury’s chocolate promotion.  There were only a handful ever made and they were shipped out from India.  I’ve also got a J40 Austin Pedal Car from 1968 and a Bugatti.

“Why do I do it?  Well I also collect vintage cars and you can fit a helluva lot more pedal cars in the shed than you can vintage cars!  I like the quality of the way they were made.  With toys now, when you buy them in the shop they last until you get to the carpark.  These things were built to last.”

First published in Wildtomato 2012, text by Sarah Ryder, photography by Tim Cuff