In the last issue of The BMC Experience we looked at the ex-Ross Bond Austin-Healey 3000, now owned by Colin and Kerrie Rule from NSW. But there’s another very impressive string to Colin’s bow – and it comes in half-scale.
Colin’s restoration skills with Austin-Healeys may be second to none, and while at his place to photograph the ex-Bond Healey we spied three Austin-Healey 3000 Mk3s undergoing restoration or awaiting his care.
He said with some enthusiasm that while he started off restoring cars for others, he now does it just for himself, which he finds far more enjoyable and satisfying.
However, while Colin was busy fettling full-size Austin-Healeys, his attention wandered a little when he developed a liking for pedal cars.
This all started with the restoration of a few from Cyclops, which were followed by Austin-made J40 and Pathfinder pedal cars (see BMCE Issue 4). He also has a Pathfinder that spent most of its life in India and is 100% original and unrestored.
Looking at the pedal cars available, Colin was disappointed that there were no replica Austin-Healeys made. So, in 2000 he set aside twelve months to design and produce his first prototype.
A decade and a half later, Colin’s exact half-scale models are built with such fine detail that they really have to be seen to be appreciated.
Not only have the Austin-Healey lines been captured perfectly, but on opening the bonnet you are greeted with a perfect half-scale rocker cover, wiring and SU or Weber carburettors; complete with fully working linkages.
But Colin’s half-size cars, which he named the ‘Junior’, give twice the thrill to pint-size people because they are powered by a 24-volt regenerative electric motor: making them quick enough for any grandchild.
The motor is powered by two 12-volt batteries, driving through a transaxle at the rear that includes a proper differential: modified from what’s used in a motorised wheelchair. When fully-charged the car has a range of 50 km at 10 km/h.
“My interest in the half-scale cars all came about from my interest in pedal cars. I did quite a bit of research to make sure no one had done this sort of thing before, which they hadn’t. I wanted to make something that everyone could drive from the young to the older current day owners of the full size cars”, Colin explained.
A special project
“I have been building the half-scale cars or ‘Juniors’ since 2000.” Colin said. “After I did a 3000 Mk2 two-seater for an enthusiast in Tasmania I thought deeply about what I would do next. Like most Austin-Healey owners I have a passion for the Works cars and decided that I would like to start on building half-scale versions of them all, starting with DD 300.”
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The BMC Experience Issue 12. Jan-Mar 2015 Magazine
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