Thursday 25th November 2010


DRIVEN: POCKET CLASSICS

We try out a pair of pint-sized recreations of roadsters from yesteryear


I feel like Noddy after a lottery win. I'm perched on the leather bench seat of a Jaguar E-Type, hands gripping that iconic wood-rimmed steering wheel. Except that this is not exactly a full-sized car, and when I mean perched, I mean it looks as if somebody has chopped my legs off and mercilessly wedged me into a toy car.

But this is not purely a kid's toy - Pocket Classics's half-sized replicas are for the kids in adults of all ages, too. They come in petrol or electric versions, and I swear will put a smile on the face of anybody who sits in one or sees one trundling along.


This particular E-Type rep is an all-electric job (we'll come to the petrol-powered side of things later), with forward and reverse gears, working indicators, lights and a horn, and a top speed of 14mph.

That might not sound like all that much, but it's certainly enough to amuse - you'll most likely run out of charge (after approximately 1h 40m) before you get bored. The electric motor's instant torque means the little car picks up speed quickly, but the light steering and fully independent suspension can make it feel a little bouncy and darty, although the rear-only drum brakes actually make quite a decent fist of stopping you provided you push the left-hand pedal hard enough.


The petrol-engined versions are altogether more serious toys. These 220kg machines have a top speed of 46mph, a 110cc four-stroke air-cooled Honda engine, a three-speed semi-automatic gearbox (plus reverse) and twin hydraulically operated disc brakes at the rear. And, if the Porsche Speedster-esque model they've brought along for us to test is anything to go by, they feel rather more entertaining.

The air-cooled engine note rather suits the 356 shape, and the three forward gears make for a more involving drive. Get a long run in third and you could even get to the point where you'll scare yourself slightly. Also, although you're still perched, there's a bit more space in the Porsche than in the Jaguar.


But the key with these cars is nothing to with speed or handling; it's that they look and feel hilariously, wonderfully, ridiculous, and I would defy anyone driving them to be able to wipe seemingly-permanent grin from their face.

All this pint-sized retro fun isn't cheap, though. Both electric and petrol cars will set you back 9995, (although there is a kids-only, electric-only Type 35-alike for 6995). It's still a lot cheaper than the real thing, mind - and apparently more than 450 hours of work go into each car. The only question, really, is what price you put on a smile...





Author: Riggers
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